Last week I was a paid studio audience member for The Steve Wilkos show, which really makes all parties involved sound like losers. I was bussed up to Stamford, Connecticut with a bunch of other people with nothing to do on a Wednesday. We made up about half of the audience. I was grateful for the other half that came for no pay because it made me feel like slightly less of a loser.

For those of you playing it cool and pretending you don’t know, Steve Wilkos was Jerry Springer’s bouncer for years. Also, because you are reading this, you really don’t need to play it cool. No one can tell what you know and don’t know or even what you’re reading.

Wilkos became well known for keeping guests from attacking each other. So naturally he was given his own show.

They asked me to dress formally for the taping. Then I got there and saw a guy wearing a “Vote for Pedro” shirt. It was like when my mom would make me dress up for church and all the other young Jersey trash would show up in jogging suits, whip pinecones at me and chant “Fancy Pants! Fancy Pants!” But I digress.

The Steve Wilkos Show features people who are (or maybe pretend to be) indefensibly evil. (The floor director actually referred to one as a “bad guy” which leads me to believe that’s their official internal term for them.) They do this just so Steve can yell something very obvious and be the hero of the show. We were then directed to clap and chant “Steve! Steve! Steve!” or one long “Steeeeeeeeeve!”

Examples:

Steve: “When you have three babies you have to buy food… FOR ALL OF THEM!”

Audience: “Steve! Steve! Steve! Steve!”

Steve: “If your boyfriend urinates on you, he’s not a very good boyfriend!”*

Audience: “Steve! Steve! Steve! Steve!”

Steve: “This is just one man talking here, but I think that if you tie a lady to railroad tracks and then build an evil machine that controls the weather you are a grade-a piece of garbage!”

Audience: “STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVE!”

 

This is literally almost the entire show.

After waiting in a holding pen for two and a half hours we went into the studio and began the pre-show warm up: an audience dance contest. There was grinding, air humping and booty clapping everywhere. The crowd was on it’s feet cheering. But then the show started a minute later and some woman is telling everyone how her boyfriend beats her, which isn’t the kind of thing you should ever get “pumped up” for in a super-fun dance contest.  Just saying.  

But the best part of the day was the question and answer session with Steve before the show. Actually Steve’s answers were kind of boring, it was just the questions. Even though a good portion of them were not actually questions.

Questions asked by Steve Wilkos Audience Members of Steve Wilkos (in order):

  1. Are you for real?
  2. Are you and Jerry still friends?
  3. I want to be on the show because I think my mom killed my grandma.
  4. I want to be on the show because I’m psychic and help solve crimes. (I hope those two exchanged info later on.)
  5. I think you should teach the cops to act cool like you do and not flip out all the time.
  6. You ever persecute anyone for pedophiling?

I guess the woman that asked number 6 had seen a show about child molesters. I’m also guessing it went something like this:

Steve: “Don’t give me any lip buddy. There’s no excuse. If you molest kids, you belong in jail!”

Audience: “STEVE! STEVE! STEEEEEEVE! STEVESTEVESTEVESTEVE! STTTTTEVE! STEVVVVVVVE! STEVEN! SSSSSSSSSSTEVE!"

When I hear “pedophiling” I imagine someone who is both very perverted and very organized, just really on top of his or her pedophile paperwork. “Oh you are looking for your lost eight-year-old? Well let me check my pedo-files. And I’ll thank you to take your shoes off if you are going to walk on the carpet.” That’s why they are persecuted, not just for being awful people, but also for being so anal about it. Maybe someday they will also be prosecuted but for now we’ll settle for having them be oppressed and bothered by a TV show they agreed to come on.

I know I shouldn’t make fun of someone just because they are not good with words. But you have to remember, I am a bit of a fancy pants.

In case anyone is wondering, I made 45 dollars that day. So stay in school.

*This one is real.