Interview with Terry Crews of WORLD’S FUNNIEST FAILS
World’s Funniest Fails with Terry Crews
Hosted by Terry Crews (BROOKLYN NINE-NINE), WORLD’s FUNNIEST FAILS is an irreverent clip show that features a panel of celebrities and comedians each week who analyze “epic fail” videos which have exploded across the internet, with the goal of awarding one with the ultimate “Fail of the Week.” Don’t miss the “Dance Like No Paramedics Are Watching” Series Premiere episode of WORLD’S FUNNIEST FAILS airing Friday, Jan. 16 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (WFF-105) (TV-PG L, V)
A former NFL football player, Terry Crews traded in his helmet to pursue an acting career and to become the ultimate family man and fitness enthusiast. Since retiring from the NFL in 1997, Crews has landed roles in “Friday After Next,” “Soul Plane,” “White Chicks,” “Idiocracy,” “Bridesmaids” and “The Longest Yard.”
On television, he has starred on shows such as “Are We There Yet?,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “The Newsroom,” as well as on the reality series “The Family Crews.” He also received rave reviews for his comedic performance in the return of “Arrested Development.” In film, Crews recently was seen in the feature comedy “Blended,” and he can be seen in in “The Expendables 3,” with Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis.
Crews recently was named host of the syndicated “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Additionally, he is the spokesman for Old Spice’s award-winning “Smell is Power” campaign. A true renaissance man, Crews has entered yet another field and has just inked a book deal with Random House Publishing.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Rebecca, of nearly 25 years. They have five children.
Terry Crews: Hello. How are you doing? I’m here to answer everything. I’m here to give you credit card numbers, Social Security numbers. Anything else you need, I got you. Go right ahead.
I’m waiting for the credit card numbers. Is it Visa or MasterCard?
Terry Crews: For some reason I just could not find it, but we’ll move on to something else. Any other questions?
Why should people watch this show?
Terry Crews: Okay, the five reasons, I’m going to give you five reasons right now is that failure is necessary. I’m going to give you four at once. You got to fail four times at least before you get to one success, which is that fifth one. Failure is necessary, and it’s not a big deal. One of the reasons I wanted to show this whole thing is that no one has failed more than Terry Crews. I have movies that I thought was going to be hits that was going to put me over the top didn’t do nothing. I had things that I thought were going to happen that didn’t work. I went to auditions that I got kicked out of the room, and I was still alive. If you saw some of these tapes, you’d be like, man, he will never be an actor. He’ll never do anything. And all of a sudden you turn around and you realize that with every failure that you have, that you’re one step closer to success, so my big deal. I got to show people and take away the stigma of what failure is. I have to say, one thing is is that with other African Americans, they never let you forget when you fall down. They tell you whatever happened—you know that’s when that rock hit you in the head. Remember that? They call you Rock Head Jimmy because that rock hit you in the head right there at that spot, but if you never get over that, you can be a winner. You can go on, you can be a CEO, but your friends they come back and they go there goes Rock Head Jimmy, that’s him. I mean to tell you that it’s okay. You know what, he got hit in the head with a rock, but now he’s the CEO of that company and that’s the way life works and we all do it. It’s not a problem.
How were you approached to host World’s Funniest Fails and can you explain the concept of the show a little more for us?
Terry Crews: You know it was funny because I was headed into a holiday and I was working in Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the whole thing and I get this call from my agent and they’re like, man, there’s this show that’s unbelievable. It’s called World’s Funniest Fails, and what they basically do is they watch clips on YouTube of all this failure stuff and I’m like holy cow. My wife and kids we sit there and watch this stuff all day. You get caught in a rabbit hole. Once you play one video, you just keep going. There are times that I’ve missed appointments because I can’t stop because you go from one to the other, and my family, we crack up. My kids, the 16 year old in my house, she’s my namesake. Her name is Tara. She’s the one that pulls me to the side and always say, “Dad, you got to watch this. Look what happens to this guy.” We crack up. I’m in tears and I said I have to do this because it’s a family show, and I just remembered having the good family time that me and my wife all the way down to the little ones. My son is nine and we’re crying laughing and he’s like, “Play it again; play it again.” I said to be a part of this every week with the whole of America, I can’t turn it down. I said we got to make time for this show to happen and I said you got me. You had me at hello.
Can you tell us some of the celebrity panelists that we’ll get to see this season?
Terry Crews: You know it’s funny because we got Russell Peters. I am running around. I don’t have a big list of who are the comedians on the show at the moment, but I promise you they were the funniest, funniest guys ever and we had a ball. A lot of new comedians is one thing I want to know, they’ve been—Tone Bell was another guy that cracks me up. They’re coming to me now. I’m sorry. It’s one of the things we were running, and I’ve been flying all over the place, but I promise you you will not be disappointed. It’s really like it’s like sitting around with friends and watching it and we pick it apart. We basically stopped the video halfway through it and show you things you may have missed. That’s the best part about this thing. These are videos that you’ve probably seen before or may have seen before, but now you get to see it in a whole new way and with a whole new comedic bend.
We love you for your physical comedy, and of course, you’ve played some guys who are physical in other ways, too. Are you going to get physical on this show with your guests, too, and the comedians?
Terry Crews: Yes, listen, I’m all over the stage. The one thing about me is I’m an official honey baked ham. When a camera is on, I have no problem with it. I’m not a comedian per se. I never did stand-ups, but I really, really like just being funny and looking at funny things and just enjoying it just like anyone else and I’m all over the stage. They actually had to tell me, they were like Terry look, forget trying to find a camera. We’re going to find you because you’re just all over the place.
So you’re going to be grabbing and touching and—
Terry Crews: Yes, I just run all over. I’ll be over there with the guests jumping—I’m into the crowd. I would dive into the mosh pit, but that would actually injure some people. I will be pretty much—Fox is like, okay, just don’t do that. I just don’t want an injury. That would be a fail big time, but my big thing is just to be all over the stage and having fun. I can’t help it. It’s part of my make-up. I’m very physical, and I’m happy and healthy. Here we go.
Do you have any favorites in your past works?
Terry Crews: First of all I really don’t have a favorite. I just like being whatever the project needs. I remember when I was doing Newsroom and basically Aaron Sorkin was like we need you to not be big. We need you to be as calm and cool and subdued as possible and it was so great. Some of the best moments of that show was me and Jeff Daniels was just us together chilling and it wasn’t about being big or comedic. It was just talking and I really love that and I thought that was just as satisfying as doing White Chicks or Friday After Next or something really where I was just gigantic. My thing is just to really give people what they need and Who Wants to be a Millionaire needed a dose of life. It needed a dose of energy, and that’s what I tend to bring when I do my projects. I know what I’m there for and to find out what the purpose of me being there for is, it’s like when I do Brooklyn Nine-Nine, we have so many different personalities. Sometimes to be big would actually hurt the comedy, so now I have to pull back a little bit. It’s kind of like a basketball team. When you know what your position is and you know how the play runs, you can just do your job and do it really good. I am not interested in being the man. It ain’t even about that. It’s a training. It’s about making people happy. It’s like the world is hard. Things are hard, but when you get into good entertainment, whether it be dramatic or comedic, it serves the same purpose. You forget your day and you’re into something else, and that’s my job as an entertainer.
Winner or loser?
Terry Crews: First of all, it’s a winner. It’s always a winner because you win by losing. I’m here; I’m really on a mission. I have to change the perception of losing. Everyone wants to call someone else a loser, but you don’t stay there. Everybody who has had any kind of success has failed big time. No one has failed more than me. My mother used to look at me and she’d go why do you even try anymore? You face so much rejection. You get so beat down. I’m just tired of watching you get hurt. I said you know what, Mom, I’m actually having the best time while I’m doing it and you learn off every failure. To me what I like to call it, it’s almost like being in a dark room, and when you’re in a dark room and the lights are off and your job is to get out of the room, you have to feel your way around. What happens if you stub toe? You fall on stuff. You hurt something. You break glass, step on the glass, do all that, but sooner or later you know the room, and when you know that room better than anybody, you could operate it in the dark and find your way in and out and you are now successful. That’s life. That is the way it is, but sometimes, and now in this day and age, everybody is going to get your failures on camera. When I was a kid doing my stuff, you fail and you jumped off the roof. I jumped off garages and bam, you hit the ground; you pretty much knock yourself out and there was no cameras to film it. Now everybody is on camera, everybody, so what greater way than to submit these things and put them out for America to see in a show like this. It’s just going to be wonderful and I’m trying to break the stigma of failure, the stigma of losing and all that. You win by losing. That’s the only way to go. Make a mistake, get out there, do something and try something you never tried before. You’re probably not going to do it the first time, but it’s okay. It’s about keeping going. It’s about the next time and when you succeed then, then it’s all good. Everybody loves you then.
I saw a clip of the show, which is hilarious, but did I see you pulling out a little John Madden action with lines and arrows?
Terry Crews: Yes. No, what we’re doing, we’re breaking it down; you got to break a fail down. It reminds me of my football days. When you really go deep and in depth and examine exactly what went wrong here, you see a guy, who’s going up on a ramp and you’re like uh-ho, he went a little too far to the left. We stop it and we examine it and right before you touch play and you kind of know what’s about to happen. You have an idea. We have a nice segment on the show called “What Happens Next,” where you see a guy start something and you just wonder what happens next. And then when we press play, you probably get the shock of your life.
You know they’re all going to end with something bad…
Terry Crews: Yes, yes, because it’s called fail. That’s pretty much what the show is about. But wait a minute, we do have some great, great moments. Again, this is a family show and none of the people who are on this show this is not about people getting seriously injured or whatever. It’s all about being able to get up, walk away and laugh about what just happened. We never get deeper than that. This is not one of those Internet videos where you’re going to walk away and I wish I never saw that. It’s going to be fun, and we also have a great—every week we have a great clip called “Happy Times,” where we show some of the cutest, best, most wonderful things that happen to people in history. One particular example there was one man who was told he was now a grandfather. His daughter told him that he’s now going to be a grandfather, and you just watching this happen, it was like it was one of the best things I ever saw in my life. Any time you’re feeling bad, you feel you can go back and play that video and you go, “Life is good. Life is worth living. Life is a wonderful thing.” It’s a really fun show, and I’m just proud of it. I’m super proud of it. I’m as proud of it as anything else I’ve done.
How do you prepare for a show?
Terry Crews: You know, I basically, it’s funny because they told me, they said Terry we don’t want a host. We just want you, and I probably would fail huge if I was trying to be a host because I’m not that guy. I didn’t go to Julliard. I didn’t go to hosting school. I want to hang out as if I invited some friends over to the house and we’re sitting around and we’re watching. It’s kind of like when I play Millionaire. It’s like you ever play a board game with friends and you have them over to the house, that’s what I want it to feel like and I think that’s where my success is. Because once you start trying to be Mr. Host and let me do everything perfect, for me I never do anything perfect. I don’t have the great lingo; I don’t have the great vernacular. I’m just me and I think that’s really what people want. I think we already have a bunch of guys that are absolutely perfect on TV. I think for me Terry Crews is just Terry Crews, make it happen. I do love the fact that there’s no money involved because Millionaire is different. Millionaire is like there’s ABC, it’s like buddy, that’s our money. You have to say the question correctly. There are rules. There are things that you want to make it fair to everyone who plays because you can win a million dollars. That’s the real deal. But here this is just about I get to pick which one is the best loser of the year, best loser of the show, so it’s really no pressure. It’s really just a big free-for-all, which makes it much more simple, much more fun. It’s a perfect Friday night show. You can watch it while you’re getting dressed to go out; the kids are eating pizza at school. They’re getting ready for the weekend and you just play the show. I think it’s the perfect show to start off your weekend.
Are there going to be any Terry fail videos?
Terry Crews: Yes, there are. I’m combing the streets and we got to go back, because I have to say I’m 46, so a lot of my fails when I was a kid everything was on super-eight [ph]. There was no real videos going around, but my big video was I got knocked out on Monday Night Football when I was in the NFL. I hit a guy so hard I knocked myself out and that was a major fail, major, but I don’t know if the NFL is going to license that. They’re going to let us license that to put that on the show, so we’ll see. They might want to laugh at themselves for a bit, but we’ll see.
What is one professional move that you’ve made that you thought was like the ultimate failure?
Terry Crews: You know what, let me tell you, there was a time I remember going in for an audition and I think I’m going to mention the show. I might as well. I went and I was auditioning for a role on My Wife and Kids and it was a serious regular role. I went in there and let me tell you my agent said they love you over there. They said it’s yours to lose. Now that made me nervous. I went in there and there was Damon; there were all the people, the writers, the people I already knew and I choked up. When I say choked up, like I had paper in my hands and my hand couldn’t stop shaking. It was like I was in an earthquake and I was like what in the what—because when they tell you it’s yours to lose, all you can think is don’t lose, don’t lose, don’t lose. And it was pressure that I couldn’t handle like I did not know what I was in for and I was saying a line. I was stuttering. I was shaking. I was sweating. I think they were like what is wrong with this dude, you know. I remember when it was over, I was like oh my God, I have never so completely—I think they stopped me. I don’t even remember. I had an out of body experience and they’re like, “Okay, Terry, thank you very much.” It was like an out of body experience. You just kind of stumble off and you get in the car and you’re like what just happened. I don’t know where I am and let me tell you something. The amazing thing about that I was so hurt and so messed up I didn’t care no more. I was like, man, what a mess. The same day I drove across town to audition for Keenen for White Chicks the same day. It was the same day and what happened is I failed so miserably that morning that I was like, oh well, you know what I don’t care anymore; and I walked over there to Keenen and I was like, yes, yes, I just started going and it was perfect. It was absolutely perfect. Everything I did that day, because I didn’t care anymore. There was no pressure. There was no judgment. Keenen was just like just go for it, man, and I was like okay and let me tell you I got the part and it was all in the same day. I went from massive failure to extreme success in the same day. Now some people would say White Chicks was a fail, but—
No, that wasn’t a fail, I loved it. We loved it.
Terry Crews: We’re dogging it out and now it’s become a classic, you never know what—you keep. There’s just you, you don’t call it. You never call it. You got to wait. You got to give it some time and you will find out and you will look back at what you thought was a fail, but actually the beginning of your success.
Prior to getting this hosting job, you were a fan of viral videos. Are there any in particular that stuck out to you?
Terry Crews: “Scarlet Takes a Tumble,” is my number one, number one fail video of all time. When Scarlet takes a tumble, when I saw the remakes with Donnie McClerklin and they were like we fall down and we get up, I was like oh my God. That thing, I laughed I’d say probably for two years. If you play it for me now, I probably couldn’t stop laughing. “Scarlet Takes a Tumble” is for me is just one of the funniest things and you know what the best thing about it, though, what was so great about it was that she made follow-up videos laughing about it herself and just saying you know what, this was funny. The fact that it even got online she knew it was funny, she put it up. It wasn’t put out there to embarrass her, but it was put out there to—she’s just like, hey, I’m just like everybody else. I got caught in this funny, funny fail and I think that’s what made it even funnier. It made it even better because I saw what a great person she was.
How do you determine the authentic videos from the fakes?
Terry Crews: The show is produced by the YouTube show of Fail Army, so they’ve already vetted and looked through most of these videos and seeing all the stuff. There are some things that I’d already seen before, but there were plenty that I had never, ever seen, so a lot of that stuff was brand new and it got to a point where I didn’t really want to watch them even before we started doing the show because I wanted the same energy that the people at home are going to get. Because it’s one thing if you keep watching it, you get burned out on it, you go yes I’ve seen that before. I was like I don’t even want to watch it. You can tell me what’s in it, but when I see it, the reactions that you get from me are first time.
What makes a video funny to you?
Terry Crews: What makes it funny for me is the fact that people get up and can laugh it off. I have never been a fan of this violent kind of comedy where people are getting seriously injured, and it’s about laughing at someone’s pain. That’s not what it’s about. Usually it has to have—there’s a limit. There’s a limit to me for what I feel is funny. You can definitely cross the line. I’ve seen where black comedy goes to people and they’re talking about someone’s mom or whatever and the fact what’s really true is that I’ve seen comedy being used to bully people, which is something I never, never subscribe to, never want it to be where one person is laughing at someone’s pain or someone’s discomfort and putting a video out and basically making someone feel less than human. That is not funny, but when you can laugh it off and when you see the video and you see people just having fun with it and everyone gets up and laughs, then that’s what it’s about because when I’m at home and I get a hit to the groin, my kids are laughing. That’s the way it is in my house. When I’m down on the ground, it may not be funny to me at the moment, but everybody else in the house is he got it; that’s hilarious.
What sets Funniest Fails apart from the other shows out there?
Terry Crews: Terry Crews, Terry Crews separates all of that. I’ll tell you something. You will never have a 248 pound host getting up there showing you the videos, laughing with you, having a good time, Fox Friday night. Some of those little ones, and I have to say it’s for the family. It’s for everyone. A lot of times these kind of shows get mean, and we’re not going to go there. We do get joke-y and you’re going to get called out if you need to be, but at the same time it doesn’t get into bullying. It doesn’t get hostile. It’s just a fun—your grandmother can be in the room and watch it and your little five year old can watch it, so it’s not going to be one of those video shows where you are shook up and you’re like oh my God, my life has changed forever. I should never have seen that. I’ve seen those videos. Somebody sends you a video and you’re like, man, what in the world, you’re not my friend any more. I’m like I want to be your friend. I’m sending you nice videos that you can laugh at. There are plenty of people I had to un-follow on Facebook, because they’re sending me some crazy stuff and I’m like no, no, not happening. That’s what separates me from the rest.
There’s been talks of a female spin-off of the Expendables. Is that rumor true and will you be in it and who would you want to star in the movie, what female lead would you want?
Terry Crews: First of all if they do do one, I would love to be in it that’s for real. They just can’t call it ExpendaBelles. That’d be the rules of don’t call it that, please, but I would love to be a part of all female Expendables and you know the number one, my number one draft pick, is Angela Bassett all the way. I want to see Angela with a gun handling business. She is no joke. That’s my thing and I would love to see her in that.