Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Squawkers Exclusive: Johnny Damon sez Yankee fans need to cheer for A-Rod

People who know me in real life – or at least in my Facebook life – know that I am a big fan of "The Celebrity Apprentice."  I watched every single episode this season and thought that it was one of the most fun shows on TV. Anyhow, thanks to my tweeting about how much I like the show, and how I would love to be at the finale, I got invited to a media viewing party for the last episode, after which I had the opportunity to interview celebrities on the red carpet at Trump Tower! What a thrill.

So last night, I got the chance to interview a number of the contestants. Here is what I heard from each of them, and what my impressions were of these "Apprentice" players:

Michelle and Johnny Damon
Johnny Damon: One of my all-time favorite Yankee moments was Damon's double steal in the 2009 World Series. I got to shake his hand and thank him for that.  I asked him about A-Rod, since Damon was friends with him when he was a Yankee. He told me: "A-Rod was a great teammate of mine. I just hope the fans can go out and cheer for him because they need him to do well if they're going to make the playoffs. If he doesn't have the support, it's going to be a very long year for the Yankees." I thought that was very interesting for a ballplayer to talk about the fans' support being so critical like that.

Also, I asked him about the possibility of him doing a reality show with his family (Damon was with his lovely wife Michelle, who is pregnant with his seventh child, a girl. He said the show is a possibility. He also said that the final task for "The Apprentice" was in Florida, right across the street from his old high school!

I have never had a big urge to meet my favorite Yankees in real life, because I always worried that they may not be as pleasant in person. But I am happy to say that Damon was awesome!

Leeza Gibbons: Just as fabulous, likeable and poised as she was on the show. She talked about how much her "Apprentice" victory meant to her charity,  Leeza's Care Connection, and how being on the show "super-sized" the cause. (I will have more with my interview with her in another article I will link to when it is published.)

Geraldo Rivera: I have to say that of everybody I met last night, I liked him the best (although I still think Leeza was the person who deserved to win.) Here's the deal -- Geraldo is self-aggrandizing and says and does outrageous things that go viral and get mocked on shows like "The Soup."  But he is in on the joke, and knows exactly what he is doing. I found him funny and charming, and his wife Erica was also very fun to talk to as well.

I also told him about how I was watching him on TV on the night Bin Laden was killed (if you may remember, when President Obama announced he was having a press conference late on a Sunday night, Geraldo was the first person to correctly deduce that it must have been that American forces nabbed Bin Laden!)

An aside: my brother, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the military, had breakfast once with Geraldo in the Army mess hall. He calls him an "American patriot"!

I asked Geraldo what he thought was the most memorable thing he said this season. He said it was "Screw the terrorists. We won!" I agree -- that was a classic moment for him.

Gilbert Gottfried: Sounds just like he does on TV. He got the best laugh of the night at the press screening during the finale, when he made a menopause joke related to something that happened in a previous episode. He said that that best person won, but if Geraldo had won he would have said the same thing! He also told me about his podcast series.

Ian Ziering: Very passionate about his cause -- the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation. He did a lot for that charity -- raising not just $300K for charity, but awareness for a disorder most people haven't heard of. Was very fond of Leeza.

Vivica A. Fox: She is a true movie star. Beautiful, with charisma to spare -- she was just so cool to talk to. I asked her about Phonegate (viewers of the show will know what I am talking about) and it was clear that there was no love lost between her and Kenya Moore. She also said she has a bunch of projects coming out, and seemed pretty happy.

Trump kids: I got to talk to Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric, my favorite Trump child. I asked him about Kenya saying that the Trumps were America's first family -- the look on his face during that episode showed that even he wasn't buying it! He was very diplomatic about what he said about her, though, and his wife said that they get asked about that moment a lot.

Other people there: I didn't get the chance to talk to the other people in the cast, but I would have loved to have talked to Lorenzo Lamas, Brandi Glanville and Terrell Owens. I could have gotten to talk to Kenya Moore, but I chose not to! (I am on Team Vivica!)

Donald Trump himself: I briefly got to talk to the man himself. I asked him about his plans for next season, but he said he hadn't even thought about it yet.

Anyhow, I will have another article about this, but here is what I saw last night. Thanks to NBC for letting me attend this cool event!

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