A Celebrity Interview with a Celebrity Interviewer
Jersey Shore's Vinny gets a new talk show
By Angela Barbuti
Vinny Guadagnino is living life vicariously through himself. At least that's what the quote on his Twitter page's background says. When asked about it, Guadagnino explains that he was only being sarcastic. But it does make a lot of sense that he would be content with his life. At 25, the Jersey Shore veteran was offered a talk show on MTV, where he literally opens the door of his Staten Island home to welcome celebrities for a family-style interview, complete with a home cooked meal by his mother Paola. The Show with Vinny, which airs Thursday nights on MTV, is just the beginning for the Italian-American entertainer. He wants to pursue stand-up comedy, acting, and maybe even get a law degree. But whatever he chooses, he has his family - and now a newfound bunch of celebrity friends - as his biggest fans.
How do you think your Italian heritage plays a role on the show?
We're not sitting there waving Italian flags around. We like to eat, my mom likes to cook, my uncle likes to drink wine. We like to hang out like a family and keep it real, and I think that's really what the culture's all about. And that's what the show is about too. People are hanging out with an Italian mom - they open up and act very casually.
Your mom is a big part of the show. How is she handling all the fame?
Well she's been on Jersey Shore, so she's recognized as Vinny's mom. I can't wait till she's giving autographs - that's gonna be great. She loves it. My Uncle Nino loves it a little too much - he's like a fame whore. But my mom, she gets a kick out of it, so I just hope it continues for her.
I think one of the funniest parts of the first episode was when your mom fed Lil Wayne broccoli rabe. What have been your favorite moments on the show this season?
They don't even know what Italian food is, it's hilarious. Oh man. Every episode has a funny moment of its own, because you don't know what each celebrity brings to the table. Little Wayne was awesome and cool; he taught me how to skateboard. With Mindless Behavior, we did a little dance thing. Which each guest, I try to do something funny that they like to do. And I end up failing at it miserably.
How do you prepare for the celebrity interviews?
I do a ton of research. My production company helps me out a lot. But I also go on my own and always try to Google, "things you didn't know about" the person. Just so when I'm talking to someone, they know that I did my homework and am not just trying to use them for my success. That I'm thoroughly interested in them.
So your guests have no idea what to expect?
No, there's no pre-interview that says what my questions are going to be. With me, you're just going to go in there and hangout with a family. It's all a regular conversation from the top of my head.
Who were you most nervous to interview?
Probably Mark Wahlberg. You know, it's Mark Wahlberg. He's a legend and one of my favorite actors. Just to be sitting down with him was an honorary experience for me.
You are very open about dealing with your anxiety and wrote a book about it called Control the Crazy. Does anxiety affect you on this show?
No, it's actually a perfect cure for my anxiety. When I do a show like Jersey Shore, I don't have a TV or radio; I can't read or write. I can't do anything. I just kind of sit there. But on a show like this, I have to prep, interview. I'm in the zone. I have to be on.
You took the LSAT on the day Jersey Shore premiered. Do you think you'll ever go to law school?
Umm. I'm trying not to. I like entertaining and being on TV, but I love politics and government. So maybe one day I'll go back and get the degree just to have it. I like accomplishing things. I liked getting my Bachelor's degree. That would be another goal to accomplish - a law degree.
You take improv classes at Upright Citizens Brigade.
I do that with standup comedy now, trying to mix that world into my career as well. It helps me a lot with being a talk show host and an actor, and everything in life.
I read you want to do more scripted TV.
Yeah I love scripted TV. That's my dream job - acting on a regular series. But I also want to stay on MTV. I like this job and being part of that family. Also, I give speeches to students talking about my book. I want to keep that self help, motivation aspect a part of my career.
Where do you live on Staten Island? What are your favorite places there?
I'm in the middle of the island. There are some really good restaurants out here. There's this little bar called Schaffer's that's right down the street from my house. You feel like you're walking into the 1950's. There's this place called Royal Crown that has the best Italian subs you'll ever have in your life.
I like the quote on your Twitter page. "I live vicariously through myself."
Oh yeah. [Laughs] I'm just a smart ass and I hate when you go to people's pages and they're like, "I'm this, I'm that." So I just said, "I live vicariously through myself," which makes no sense at all.
I thought you meant that since you like your life and have such a cool job, you're living vicariously through yourself.
You know what, I'm gonna go with that. Thank you. I'm gonna keep that. You made it deep for me.
Watch The Show with Vinny on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on MTV
Follow Vinny on Twitter: @VINNYGUADAGNINO
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