Jerry Springer is coming to Duluth, Minnesota, on Saturday, Oct. 12 as host of “The Price is Right Live,” a stage version of the long-running TV show once hosted by Bob Barker, now Drew Carey. Springer is best known for his cable TV talk show in which tank-top wearing guests are known to throw chairs and hurl censored rants at people they don’t like for any number of reasons.
So, listen, you can go watch Jerry Springer in Duluth or not, that’s up to you. But when I saw this on the news last night my thoughts turned immediately to one of my favorite pieces ever heard on “This American Life.” In the segment “I’ve Got a Secret I’ve Been Hiding From You” in the 2004 episode “Leaving the Fold,” Alex Blumberg explores Springer’s comi-tragic biography. Springer was perhaps one of the most gifted Ohio politicians of his generation, only to see his reputation and public image slowly morph into that of a sensationalistic ringmaster on a show that represents the gritty underbelly of American culture.
The end of the story, around :28 to :34, continues to blow my mind, particularly the bootlegged copy of a Springer speech when he was considering a run for Senate. I wrote about it once before, but Springer’s personal story and metaphor at the conclusion of the speech gives me goosebumps to this day. Ultimately, Springer would not escape the money and fame that has come from a show that makes it impossible for him to be taken seriously. Great talent, tossed down a hole like so much furniture from the set.
And now you can see Jerry Springer in Duluth, Minnesota, hosting a traveling game show. Tickets are available for purchase.