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WWE Tough Enough Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

James Roday

This is an interview with James Roday on May 20, 2011 about the shows Psych and WWE Tough Enough.

Question:
You've worked with various WWE superstars on Psych. What was it like to go into their house and work with them?

James Roday:
It was pretty cool. I've been a WWE fan for most of my life. Sometimes I own up to it more than others, but the truth is I've been watching wrestling since I was a kid. And all the superstars that we've had on the show have been so gracious and so respectful, and it was actually pretty easy to sort of to do the little flip flop and sort of pay them back and give them the sort of same due that they gave to us. They're really a bunch of really good people over there. I've yet to meet a bad apple in that bunch, and I had a good time.

Question:
Why do you think WWE didn't get into reality TV sooner?

James Roday:
They did Tough Enough the first time around like almost a decade ago. That's how John Morrison got into WWE, so they kind of had it going on. Then, they sort of abandoned it for a while and started doing like this scripted reality, which is why I think bringing back Tough Enough is so refreshing because it's an honest competition show again, and those are fun. The deck isn't stacked and you really don't know what the outcome is going to be. It's based on performance. And I'm glad, I'm glad they got back into that.

Question:
For Season 6 of Psych, can you talk about the evolution of the relationship between Shawn and Gus and how it's different compared to Season 1?

James Roday:
I think they're probably a little bit more aware of their own mortality. We were just talking about this the other day actually that we've reached a point now where we'll probably have to start using our heads a little bit more than our bodies. Because you know Gus and Shawn aren't getting any younger and these foot chases are getting tougher and tougher, and jumping into water, and all that crazy stuff. They are starting to sort of feel the difference between being a couple of wacky kids in their 20s and being grown ass men.

Question:
What exactly are you going to be doing on Tough Enough?

James Roday:
I believe like the lesson of the week for the episode is about charisma, so they brought me in to clearly show these kids what it means to have charisma. And I think the challenge is they all have to sort of give an impromptu bus tour on Hollywood Boulevard. That was sort of the premise and we gave them some pointers about how you kind of always have to be on, even when you're not because you never know when you're going to see a fan and that sort of thing, and that was my role.

Question:
On Psych you guys had a really fun time filming this show, and a lot of times they show kind of the little outtakes or whatever after the show's done, what's kind of been one of the funniest things that's happened, maybe a blooper or maybe a prank or something on the show that you remember?

James Roday:
We've laughed a lot over the years, but I would say sometimes we do these little Psych outs where we sing songs in ridiculous ways. But for me, when Curt Smith from Tears for Fears did our show two seasons ago and we actually did a Psych out of Head Over Heels with Curt Smith on guitar. It was ridiculous because he was pretending like he was drunk, but it was also just awesome; we were singing with Curt Smith.

Question:
Are you going to Comic-Con this yea?

James Roday:
Up to this moment in time, yes we will be at Comic-Con. That's very exciting.

Question:
There is a rumor that maybe this'll be Psych's last season. Is there any truth to that?

James Roday:
I don't know. I feel like we all sort of know that Psych is closer to the end than the beginning, but I certainly haven't heard anything definitively that this is it. So until I do it could be this season, it could be next season. Fortunately, we're not really in charge of making those decisions.

Question:
Who are some of the guest stars we can expect to see this coming Psych season?

James Roday:
We're off to a pretty good start. We're about 1/3 of the way through and we've already welcomed Molly Ringwald and Brad Dourif and Kristie Swanson and Corey Feldman, and that's a pretty good smattering for a 1/3 of the season. I think Danny Glover's on his way up for the next one.

Question:
Lou Diamond Phillips said that he took his top off for you and you didn't call back, and he would like to know what's up with that?

James Roday:
I think Lou changed his number because he had his own things going. It really had nothing to do with Psych or me, I think he had his own stuff going on. But, but making a choice like that he basically cut me off and it was long time ago, so I'm not going to lie and say that the fire is still burning the way that it was. So, even if I were to suddenly get a message with a number, I'm not sure that it's going to be the same. I feel like them magic of the moment is gone; although, he did have very sort of perfectly placed nipples.

Question:
There's a rumor flying around that the world will end tomorrow, and I want to know if the world did end tomorrow at 6:00 pm what would you do? What kind of last things would you take care of or go out and do before the word ended?

James Roday:
I can't keep up with the different in different ends of the world. I think you've got to be bigger than Jim Prufrock and his small parish to get me to start thinking about how I'm going to spend my last days. I'm still working out what I'm going to do for 2012, which means I should have a year to like figure out what I'm doing. But, I guess just on the off chance that we're all toast tomorrow at 6:00, I'll probably have more Pinkberry than I should and watch some basketball.

Question:
The Psych College Tour was a big hit last fall. Are you guys planning on doing another one seeing as the show comes back in October?

James Roday:
It would probably make some sense. Again, other people make those decisions and I guess the way out, how much value it actually had and if it's worth it, but regardless we had a great time and all those kids at all those stops were genuinely cool kids. And I don't know, it was very refreshing, not only to sort of get to interact with our fans, but also to just see at each stop, like some hope for the future.

Question:
At the end of the Season 5 Finale, I had this inkling feeling that we might see Allison Cowley again. What are the chances of that happening?

James Roday:
If it was up to me we would have gone even further than that and let you know for sure that we'd be seeing Allison Cowley again, but I was one man on an island against many, many other decision-makers who were not on said island. I wouldn't get your hopes up too high, but you're smart in thinking that was going through the writer's heads, because it certainly was. And it was hard to let go of that trilogy for me and Andy Berman because that was sort of our baby from the beginning, and we didn't want it to be over, so obviously Allison was an opportunity to keep it going. I just don't know if anyone else wants to see it keep going, so good for you for picking up on that. I'll tell you right now, we wanted to do a bit where we cut back to us and yadi, yadi, yada, and then like the last thing you see is here in the back of the car and she still has that retainer that she used to supposedly get free the first time, and we'd see her go to work on her handcuffs.

Question:
Why do you think people keep tuning in to watch Psych?

James Roday:
I think some of it's just habit. People lock into something and then even if the show gets crummy, it's just sort of like a sweater that's so comfortable it smells like you; you can't take it off. I also think that more than the average show that hangs around for more than a couple seasons, we've done a pretty good job of keeping ourselves from getting complacent. I still think we're pumping out pretty fresh scripts and we're bringing in pretty good guest stars and I think Shawn and Gus's relationship is still pretty rich and alive. So, I think we're pretty honest with ourselves and I think we don't look at each other and think that we're starting to slide, so maybe that's why the audience keeps tuning in as well.

Question:
Maybe could you tease us a little bit of Gus's nicknames for the season?

James Roday:
We've gotten away from the nicknames a little bit, and this is a good reminder that we need to come back because we do enjoy the nicknames. But, we're a little light on nicknames for Season 6 so far, so mark my words I'll go back to Vancouver and just jam a bunch in for the next couple of episodes.

Question:
And any chance of you getting Twitter? Dule is a big component these days.

James Roday:
I feel like right now Dule is more than Tweeting for the entire cast and most of Vancouver. I think I'm probably going to lean on him for a little while longer while I try to wrap my brain around what all this social media stuff means. I'm still a little bit of a dinosaur, but you know he's poking me and prodding me every day, so know that he's doing his job.

Question:
How did you get started in acting?

James Roday:
I went to NYU and studied theater. Somehow I made it through all four years and started the thing that you do when you're done with college and horrified that real life is starting. I had a bartending job in New York, I got an agent a very tiny agency that mostly represented opera singers, if I remember correctly. And started getting sent out, mostly television stuff, and you know I have one of those 1 in 100,000 stories where I actually got the first job that I auditioned for, which you know it was a TV Pilot, which sent me to L.A., which you know ultimately got me a much bigger agent, and then I was sort of off and running. It's not the most popular story to tell in a room full of actors, but the truth is I got really, really lucky and I was very blessed and after about a year of living the life of a struggling actor in New York, I was in L.A. with a job. So it kind of worked out for me.

Question:
How'd you get involved with Psych?

James Roday:
Psych was a script that came to me that I thought was pretty funny and had some potential. And I was kind of soured on TV at the time and my then agent convinced me to sit down with Steve Franks, and I did, and the rest, as they say, is history. We really hit it off and I sort of asked him a lot of questions and he asked me a lot of questions, and we sort of came to the conclusion that if we did this show together it would be like what it is and we were both cool with that. And we said ???Let's give it a shot.??? I had to wait for Matthew Perry to pass, but then he did and then we were on.

Question:
What's something fans would be surprised to know about you?

James Roday:
I was sort of an academic in high school. I mean, I played sports because that's what you do in Texas, you play sports. But I actually had a bunch of offers to go to engineering schools, like really good engineering schools all over the country, which sort of broke my mother's heart when I decided to go and - go into debt to go to theater school. But for a while there, and I can't really explain to you how, I guess I was pretty decent at math.

Question:
What do you think Shawn and Gus's wrestling characters would be like?

James Roday:
If you're familiar with the WWE at all there are characters that are in the company solely for entertainment purposes, not because of their in-ring abilities. I would point to the likes of Santino Marella. The crowd loves them and goes crazy for them, but the truth is they're just sort of like Shakespearean clowns whose purpose it is to entertain, and then usually get pinned cleanly in the center of the ring. Shawn and Gus would be that as a tag team. They would be beloved by the fans, and their record would probably be something like 3 and 94 when it was all said and done.

Question:
What's the one thing you're looking most forward to doing this season?

James Roday:
This is relatively a new development, which I can tease now, which is fun, but I think we're going to pay homage, which I know is showing because we rarely do that on our show, to the movie Clue, which is another big favorite of mine from that wonderful decade that is the 80s. So, looking forward to the Clue episode, which may have a fun gimmick or two that perhaps everyone can participate in, I don't know, we'll have to see.

Question:
There's a rumor going around that there's going to be a sequel to the Twin Peaks episode, how do you think you can top how great that episode was?

James Roday:
In a sentence, I don't think we can top how great that episode is, so I don't know if there's going to be a sequel. I think we got a little excited because of the success and because of how great it came out, but I think it would be a great injustice both to the fans and to Twin Peaks, and to ourselves if we put something out there that wasn't at least as good. That would be quite a feat to pull off, so I think we're sort of back to the drawing board to make sure that if we do go for it we can knock it out of the park. And if we can't, then let's let it live as it was because it was a truly special episode.

Question:
Is there any other TV show you would like to do in a similar episode like that?

James Roday:
There's a lot of stuff on board. I mean Gilligan's Island has been up there for a couple years now, if we can figure out how to make that work. I think it'd be great to do a Manimal tribute, but I'm not sure we could turn anybody into a hawk or a snake or a panther, so you know it's got inherent challenges, the Manimal episode. Plus, I'm not sure if anyone knows where Simon MacCorkindale is. These are like serious creative problems that we're dealing with up in Vancouver, man. And I don't know, Alf? Maybe we could do some sort of hybrid episode where there's a stuffed critter or puppet of some kind, which would be fund because A, we'd be like, ???Oh, my gosh, they're paying tribute Alf,??? and also like, ???Oh, my gosh, this show's almost over,??? so there you go.

Question:
If you were a contestant on Tough Enough, how far do you think you would get, and how about Shawn?

James Roday:
I think Shawn would probably get to the final just by talking a really good game and being just passable enough in the ring that they'd say, ???We've got to keep this guy around because he's so good on the mic.??? If I was in Tough Enough I would fake an injury and be eliminated first.

Question:
Will you be writing or directing any upcoming episodes of Psych, and if so what do we have to look forward to?

James Roday:
I directed the first episode this year. It is our long awaited vampire episode, and I'm pretty happy with it. It's certainly kind of a rompy Halloween-type episode. We've got a great guest cast let by Kristie Swanson, of course the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There's Gus and Shawn in costumes, which you know you can never go wrong with that, and a little bit of romance for Lassiter, so a nice bowl of goodness.

Question:
Over the seasons you have taken on a lot of bad guys, so who was your favorite so far and what challenges await Shawn and Gus in Season 6?

James Roday:
I'm a little biased because Andy and I sort of created her, but I've got a soft spot for Yang, even though she turned out to not be as bad as we thought she was. And also, I'm just a big fan of Ally Sheedy and what she did with that role, so she would be my favorite bad guy. And this year we've got more crimes to solve. We've got more wrongs to right. We've got baseball and super heroes and our sort of attempt at a Hangover-type episode and vampires, and as I said, a little bit of Clue. We're still bringing it, man. We're still bringing it six years in. Don't ask me how, but we are.

Question:
With Shawn and Juliet, what changes are we going to see in their relationship and what do we have to look forward to?

James Roday:
You know what, it's a slippery slope isn't it? I mean, we've sort of dangled that carrot for so long, and now that we've kind of given you the carrot we have to do something with it. You know, we're trying very hard to kind of modulate this so that it doesn't take over the show, but it also doesn't feel like we're not giving it its due. And I think where we landed was let's just keep it as organic as possible and they're still sort of figuring each other out a little bit. But, they are in this relationship and the work together great and now they've got to figure out how to be with each other great and kind of let their wrinkles happen naturally, as opposed to trying to force kind of the TV version of couple problems on them. So, that's kind of the road that we're headed down now and we'll see where it takes us. But, organic is a word that gets thrown around a lot. We just want it to sort of feel real.

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