The most famous houseguest is still in show business after more than a decade since his famous testimony in the OJ Simpson trial. Kato Kaelin has found his niche whether it is a traveling monologue, working for the production company National Lampoon, or his latest project Gimme My Reality Show competing against other celebrities for his own show on the Fox Reality Channel. Kaelin is also not shy to share his thoughts on OJ’s recent troubles out in Las Vegas and reflect back on some moments from the famous trial.
Listen to the Kato Kaelin interview:
Chris Yandek: Are you surprised to still be in the public eye 13 years later?
Kato Kaelin: “Yeah. Totally surprised at that. I guess I’ve been keeping busy. During the whole trial episode that was going on I actually saw how many lawyers got their SAG card and I stayed true to my – I went to an acting academy for seven years. I didn’t try to become a lawyer. I just stayed with my career path. I just got a huge bump in the road and now it’s took about ten years to get back on path and it’s going just great right now. From working at National Lampoon and being in all their films to having a chance to have this big reality show with a great network, and I just got done touring in Vancouver, and I’ll be in Vegas and that’s called the Weenie Man-O-Logs. I just got off a jet from Hawaii where we did a 17 day run.”
CY: You were put into a media storm, this all was beyond your control, and you become an overnight household name, but do you ever feel guilty or say this isn’t the way I wanted to become a success?
KK: “Oh completely. It’s a double-edged sword. I became very famous but for a terrible situation that happened. What can you do though? You sort of say ok these are your cards in life. I was dealt these cards and I am playing the hand out. We’ll see what happens with it. It’s very…very difficult because I became sort of a curiosity of who Kato is and curiosity is not a good thing because you get called in on any kind of auditions like ok, we met him. I just kind of became Kato the character, but now it’s getting back to be alright the guy has something behind him. Hopefully the cream rises to the top and I am from America’s dairy land Wisconsin. There is a lot of cream there and I am hoping to rise Chris. I am hoping to rise. I always do that. I always tell people I am from Wisconsin the land of cheese. I say cheese is my friend, cheese is your friend, oh what a friend we have in cheeses.”
CY: Give me a general concept of what Gimme My Reality Show is on the Fox Reality Channel. I know you’re competing against other celebrities.
KK: “There are seven celebs whom are all doing a campaign. They’re all trying to push their own reality show. They come up with a concept and the concept is voted on by three judges; Michael Schneider from Variety Magazine, Scott Sternberg who has produced quite a few TV shows, and Adrianne Curry from My Fair Brady. They just have a lot of pull in what they say of whose gonna win the contest. Of course it comes down to a vote where they call in American Idol style and America will decide who gets their own show. My show is called The Sixteenth Minute. Episode one is aired where I explain to people that I give people that have had 15 minutes of fame already I give them one extra minute and I put them into that 16th minute and what they do with that extra minute is up to them. I highlight their career of what they were famous for. Interviews they’ve done with Good Morning America to maybe their local city of say Bakersfield, but they became a huge sensation and what life is like for them now because lets face it fame is sort of fleeting.”
CY: So if you win this competition this is what your reality show is going to be about?
KK: “Yeah. I would go out to certain cities and will actually knock on their doors. I bring all the neighbors from the neighborhood and we film the talk show in their living room and Chris who knows. Maybe I’ll even spend the night and become a houseguest there until I go to my next city.”
CY: Is it hard to get past the stereotype of being the houseguest Kato Kaelin when you’re going on auditions and trying out for different entertainment projects?
KK: “It’s not like that anymore only because like you said it’s 13 years. I embrace it now. I have to embrace it cause people bring it up. I embrace it and it’s sort of like making jokes about yourself. It’s more endearing because I’ve been picked on so much so I can take a joke and I make of fun of it. It’s all part of a comedy act too of being the houseguest.”
CY: Here we are 13 years later and OJ Simpson is back in the news and with more legal trouble in Las Vegas and will probably serve jail time unless he gets a re-trial. What are your thoughts and are you surprised?
KK: “I am not so surprised because he seems to always get in the news. He always I think is seeking publicity. He always seems to be hanging out with the wrong kind of characters. You hang around bad things bad things start to happen and sure enough he’s probably going to serve jail time if he doesn’t get the mistrial, but it doesn’t look good for him. It’s a terrible thing, robbing places. Now I am just wondering now is the gun considered sports memorabilia?”
CY: Do you think he felt invisible after getting off for the murders?
KK: “Well, he should have been invisible. He should’ve gone and hid away. Yeah. I totally do. I think he craved attention so much and he loved to be adulated by people but then now he actually had people that hated them so he’s trying to find people who liked him. He was going to clubs I guess and all the photos you see of him at clubs, it’s just a guy who made wrong choices. It really is. It comes down to that.”
CY: Is history somewhat repeating itself but with a different ending this time if he doesn’t get the mistrial?
KK: “Yeah, if he doesn’t get the mistrial. I think what you said will be true that he’ll definitely serve jail time.”
CY: Are you happy to see him go to jail if he ends up going to jail?
KK: “You know what? I believe justice has to be done. If it’s the right thing it’s the right thing. The judge had to find people who weren’t gonna convict him from 95 and they’re trying to rule that out. It’s like that old joke. You know this joke I am sure. It was so popular. Knock…knock.”
CY: Whose there?
CY: OJ who?
KK: “Ok. You’re part of the jury.”
CY: Gosh Kato.
KK: “But that’s how it is. It’s tough to not have people know something about him. You have to be living in a cave.”
CY: Looking at the families of the Goldmans and the Browns, Fred Goldman said last week on Good Morning America, “We said we would try to find justice and I think we got it, I think we got it.” What do you make of Fred’s comments and is this finally closure for the Browns and Goldmans if he goes to prison?
KK: “Probably will be just a part of closure. I think the Browns losing their daughter and the Goldman’s losing their son, yea I think they want the jail time, but I don’t think there ever will be closure unless it’s a life sentence. Losing a son and a daughter is a God awful thing. I think it will ease it with jail time. I don’t know how much time he’ll get, but yeah I think he’s [Fred Goldman] seeing there is some justice now 13 years later.”
CY: Are you still surprised we’re talking about this 13 years later?
KK: “I am extremely surprised. But you know what? I get calls from all the networks and anything that kind of happens OJ like Kato, what do you think and all of that. I am not surprised because he’s just banter for news and he’s banter for comics. He’s sort of a publicity machine. Bad publicity for him, but great publicity for comics.”
CY: When you look back at your testimony in 1994, do you wish you would’ve prepared differently in any way?
KK: “Not really only because I explain this to people I was never in a courtroom in my life. I never had a parking ticket or speeding ticket. I was with prosecutor Marcia Clark for over 20 some hours and meeting with her to be a witness for her. She had a totally different form of questioning that she never reviewed with me and I was like she made me look terrible. Like what? I don’t remember this in the review, but I was 100 percent honest. I have no regrets about anything.”
CY: Here you are on this national stage and you must’ve said to yourself at some point what the hell is going on?
KK: “Of course I said that. No one wants to be. I would never wish that upon anything. Your whole life is public. Everything you’ve ever done they can go in and speak about you in usually terrible ways. You have no skeletons in the closet. They bring everything out. You don’t wish that upon anybody, but it’s over and thank goodness I had no really bad skeletons in the closet so they let everything out. Again, I didn’t have any kind of tickets. I was a pretty good citizen.”
CY: Do you ever feel fortunate to be alive because of what could’ve happened that night? Does it ever go by your mind?
KK: “Yeah. It does. In the beginning of the whole trial my mom and everyone thought and described someone who had died and thought it was me. Yeah. I think I kind of think about that, but I am alive, and by God am happy to be alive.”
CY: After all these years, I’ve learned there is the story that’s told and there is a story that’s untold. Is there anything in particular from that time and life and period that you’ve never really told anybody about what happened in those times in your life? Maybe you want to share now 13 years later?
KK: “I just think people have to have a good base of who they are. I think if you have family and education you’ll succeed and I really believe that. I think if you’re just poorly educated you can go on the wayside of bad things will happen. I am thankful for a great family base that I’ve had and I think that’s probably one of the most important things is to kind of know who you are, especially in this town and Hollywood too. You can go bad pretty quickly. My last thought is if you’re very successful when you’re really young you get a ton of money I think that can be a kind of a curse than kind of helping you out and you’re not used to it and that turns you to easily drugs or whatever else.”
CY: Do you ever come across people who just want to meet you to talk about the OJ thing?
KK: “I do all the time. I do a lot of these celebrity golf events, poker, whatever it is they start with that kind of conversation like they’re being very funny with the OJ joke or whatever, but then they start talking to me and they go hey, this guy has more to talk about than OJ That’s a good thing too to turn them to find out I am not just a one trick pony.”
CY: Finally, tell me about all the other projects you have coming up, what else you would still like to do in Hollywood, and in closing would we ever see you on something like Dancing with the Stars?
KK: “First of all, what I have going on right now is I am touring with a group the male version of the vagina monologues and it’s called the Weenie Man-O-Logs. We’re going everywhere with that and boy is it fun. We have one of the girls from the vagina monologue cast Danielle Kasen and we got Thai Rivera a comic. He represents the gay man. I represent a dude as a penis and Murray Langston is the unknown comic and wrote it and that’s just going and selling out everywhere. We’re doing great with that. I work at National Lampoon comedy development. I am in a lot of their films. You’ll see me in Ratko coming out next month, Ratko: The Dictator’s Son and anything Lampoon I am part of. I host a TV show with them as well that goes to the college network. Dancing with the Stars all the way. Waiting for the call. I hope disco is part of it because that’s all I am practicing on.”
Kato Kaelin will set off on the campaign trail competing against actress Traci Bingham and singer Gretchen Bonaduce to convince America to give him a new reality show.
Fans can vote by heading over online to www.foxreality.com/gimme or by calling or text messaging via the following numbers below:
Viewers can also cast their votes by calling:
1-888-SHOW-401 to vote for Gretchen Bonaduce
1-888-SHOW-402 to vote for Kato Kaelin
1-888-SHOW-403 to vote for Traci Bingham
Or texting to following numbers:
33088 and enter 1 to vote for Gretchen Bonaduce
33088 and enter 2 to vote for Kato Kaelin
33088 and enter 3 to vote for Traci Bingham
This will provide a viewing alternative for reality television fans who want a break from the seriousness of the political election coverage. The winner will receive his/her own four-episode original series to premiere on Fox Reality Channel in spring 2009. You can find out more information about Gimme My Reality Show at www.foxreality.com/gimme