Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath — tonight’s St. Patty’s Day “host” at Lavo nightclub — doesn’t miss being a talking head on “Extra.” And he thinks entertainment news shows, with their “’80s feel,” “are dying.”
“On ‘Extra,’ you had to go through publicists, and everything had to be verified, and things were sanitized. If you wanted to get Tom Cruise, you better not ask him hard questions if you ever wanted to see Matthew McConaughey again, because they shared the same publicist.”
There were “real politics” behind entertainment news, he says. Yet fans were eating up grittier news from TMZ and PerezHilton.
“It’s why these entertainment news shows are dying. By the time you get to ‘Extra,’ or ‘Entertainment Tonight,’ or ‘The Insider,’ they go, ‘Here’s a sanitized “Horton Hears A Who!” junket for you.’ Meanwhile, Perez and TMZ are coming with the real (dirt). They’ve got (George) Clooney coming out of (a bar) at 2 a.m. drunk.”
When the self-deprecating McGrath did ask prickly questions, he learned he didn’t have journalism instincts to ask them right, he says.
“At some red carpet, I said (to Nicole Kidman), ‘Who are you dating? And she just stonewalled me, and shut me down, and left without finishing other questions. I have a terrible way of asking things. I was nervous. I would stutter. I make YOU feel weird. That’s not a good thing for a journalist,” he says and laughs. “It’s the truth, bro.”
“I was the worst interviewer ever. Jennifer Aniston would walk by, and I wouldn’t even ask about Brad (Pitt). I don’t like to pry in people’s lives. I want people to feel good. You have to be aggressive on the red carpet. It just wasn’t my nature.”
McGrath is grateful for the “great experience” and he “loved everybody” at “Extra.” But after four years of TV, what does he miss?
“I really miss that paycheck every week. That was glorious,” McGrath says. “Now that I’m gone, it’s like I was never there.”
McGrath just wrapped up recording a new Sugar Ray album coming out later. It’s called “Music For Cougars.”
“We played a show (where) a friend of mine looked around and said, ‘Dude, there are only hot cougars (older women) here for your show.’ I said, ‘That’s the perfect title for the new record. Music For Cougars.’ ”
At Lavo at the Palazzo hotel tonight, he’ll be joined by “sexy leprechauns” competing somehow to win $1,000. (Admission is free for locals; for tourists, $20 for men; $10 for women.) McGrath walks the carpet at 10:30 p.m. He is Irish.
Check out my blog for more on McGrath and his thoughts on a blow-up doll version of himself, as merchandise.
SLASH ALMOST LIVED HERE
Guitarist Slash and his wife, Perla Hudson, almost moved here some years back.
“We had this moment of insanity,” she told me at Terry Fator‘s opening this weekend. “We were in escrow in the house. And our son fell down the stairs in the house, and I said this house is too big and too palatial for us. Let’s go back to L.A.”
The son was OK. “He just tumbled,” she says. But Slash thought it was too hot, anyway. And Vegas is too vice-y to move here.
“If I lived here, there’s no telling what would happen,” Slash said.
But aren’t his demons behind him?
“Yeah, but,” he said, “it doesn’t seem like the wisest idea. Temptation, I can deal with, but not every single minute of the day.”
ST. PATRICK’S DAY & MARCH MADNESS
One of the biggest questions I get all year is: Where’s the best sports book to watch the NCAA tournament?
On my blog, I’ve accumulated photos of sports books and tracked down as many specials as I can find.
And tonight is, indeed, St. Patty’s Day. So also on the blog today, find out where you can drink 95 cent beer or try to win a trip to Ireland.
Doug Elfman’s column appears Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 702-383-0391 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.