Pat Sajak could be anybody's best friend. For a woman, he'd be the soft shoulder. For a man, he'd be the comedy relief guy. The fellow you've been watching spinning that 'wheel' every night for the past 31 years pretty much fits the old cliché: 'What you see is what you get' -- very nicely. Yep, the "Wheel of Fortune" guru is -- seriously -- cool, calm and... well, he's a vowel expert. Y? Stay tuned.
If you missed our interview with Mr. Mellow last November, check it out here. The game show host took another turn with The Huffington Post to take our Pop Quiz just because we wanted to pick his brain one more time.
What bad habit do you have that your wife wishes you would quit?
I think like most guys, I'm probably not as communicative as she would like. We tend to express ourselves in sulking.
Who was your childhood hero?
Actually that's an easy one. It was Jack Parr who was Johnny Carson's predecessor on the "Tonight Show." I'd sneak out of bed at night and watch Jack. By the way, he became a good friend later in life.
If someone lets you down are you more likely to hold a grudge or be forgiving?
It depends on the nature of what they did. I've let people down so I understand that happens. I think I'm pretty forgiving.
Who do you call when you're bored?
Well, now I'll call you. (Laughs) Actually I don't have an answer to that because I guess maybe I'm not bored that often. I'm more apt to pick up a book then pick up a phone.
When was the last time you cried?
God. This is really embarrassing. There's a website called ricochet.com and I blog it occasionally. If you go back a few weeks, I did a piece about "Wheel of Fortune" players and what nice people they are and I just felt that I should write something about them. I wrote sort of a tribute to 'Wheel' players. I really like the people on our show. I read it and I got a little teary eyed at my own piece. [Laughs]
I read it, and it was very sweet. What TV show that is no longer being produced do you miss the most?
There are two shows actually. I miss "Colombo" and "The Andy Griffith Show."
Oh my God. I'm obsessed with TAGS too!
I bet I have seen every episode, I'm talking about the five black-and-white years. I've seen every episode at least 100 times. I know that sounds impossible.
No. I have too. I actually watch reruns almost every day.
It's been on constantly since it was on the air so we're talking 50+ years so all you have to do is see it twice a year which I do easily. I can do that standing on my head. The moment they fade in, it takes about three seconds until I know which episode.
Yes. I'm right there with you. When I interviewed Ron Howard, I said, "I loved Opie and to me you'll always be Opie Taylor in my heart."
I know. I'm sure he's pretty used to it. I'll tell you what, he was a terrific kid actor.
What's your favorite TAGS episode?
My favorite is the show where the guy got a flat tire outside Mayberry and wanted to get his car fixed because his car stopped running and he came in to town, couldn't get anyone to fix his car because it was Sunday. The "Man in a Hurry" I think it was called. I just think that was just a very sweet episode and I think [Don] Knotts and [Andy] Griffith did not get the credit they deserve for the comedy team. They were brilliant. Another favorite was when Don Knotts (Barney) did his thing where he was reciting the Preamble to the Constitution -- that was just some brilliant comedic timing. Barney did the entire Preamble without ever saying one word. He was prompted on every single word [by Andy]. How do you make that funny? But they did it.
If you had only one choice would you rather be the sexiest man in the world or the smartest?
I already am the sexiest. (Laughs) It depends on what the alternatives are. If I were smart enough I'd go for sexiest. [Laughing] I don't want to be stupid either so I'd rather be smart and not sexy than sexy and stupid, but if I could be the sexiest guy in the world and fairly smart I would take that.
Finish this sentence, I start to feel old when I ...
... see other people's kids.
When was the last time you told a little white lie?
Probably the last time I said, 'I've never had a player I didn't like.'
So there have been a couple you weren't crazy about?
It's funny. I'm never troubled when a player makes a mistake, does something that at home you might say is stupid because I understand what they're going through. The only time I ever get annoyed with players, it doesn't happen very often, but once or twice a season you get someone on there who you know it's just kind of a hoot for them. They're going to be as outrageous as they can so that they can show the video to people. They're more interested in promoting themselves then playing the game. That's the only time I get annoyed.
What's a deal breaker for you in a friendship?
When I feel used. A friend of mine that was complaining about a friend of his that was always asking him for stuff and that was the only time he would call. My line to him was 'Yeah, he's always there for you when he needs you.' I guess that would be it when you're just there to facilitate their life.
Finish this sentence I'm tired of hearing about...
Speaking of vowels, I don't want to bore you with my vowel history, but when I was a kid, I remember when vowels were A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y. What was that about?
I guess that was to explain when you're basically told that every word has a vowel in it, but then what do you do about sky? So for sky, the Y took the place of the vowel.
Because in every word if you include that 'sometimes Y,' every word does have a vowel in it. By the way, the most misunderstood rule strategy on Wheel, people are always asking why do people waste money buying vowels? Because it's the most important thing you can do on the show. Barring the bad luck of the wheel I can tell you who's most likely to win based on whether they are buying vowels or not. If you don't have any idea what the puzzle is, you're going to spin the wheel, and there's a risk in spinning because you could go bankrupt.
You're just going to call a letter at random. There are 21 consonants and five vowels so your odds on finding a letter are less. If there's a T and an H and then a blank, you know it's an E, but you buy the E because there could be four other Es and those four other Es are going to give you clues as to how to proceed from there. I see people almost everyday lose the game because they didn't buy a vowel.
What would you consider the biggest waste of time?
I say this and I'm guilty of it at the same time so I'm not demeaning anyone else. I'm throwing myself in. I really do think it's the Internet. It's the computer. I hate that. It's too bad because on the one hand it's a great saver of time, but it is incredible how much time you waste doing nothing. I can't imagine the man hours that are lost in this country due to people playing video poker or just surfing.
You can't go to dinner without people looking at their cell phones.
No, and I'm becoming guilty of that. It's terrible. You know this all happened overnight and without any sort of national debate or thinking about it. It just happened and we're in this world now and there's nothing we can do. The barn door is closed.
That's why we like "The Andy Griffith Show" so much. Everything was so simple back then.
I think so.... People in our generation got their news from the nightly news, the morning newspaper or the afternoon newspaper and you had 24 hours to kind of forget about it, think about it if you want, talk about it with someone if you want or not talk about it or not ever think about it, digest it or whatever. Now it just keeps coming at you. It's always breaking news. There's no reflective time. There's no digesting time. It just keeps coming.
What would you consider none of my business?
Anything that I haven't told you.