When Carnie Wilson returns to The Newlywed Game on October 12 to resume her hosting duties for a second season, she'll be bringing a few new gay friends along with her. George Takei of Star Trek fame and his husband, Brad Altman, will be the first gay couple to be featured on the show since it began pitting freshly married couples against one another in 1966. We caught up with Wilson to chat about the newly gay game show, find out about the upcoming Wilson Phillips 20th Anniversary reunion, and to get to the bottom of that puzzling lesbian reference on Wikipedia.
Out: I read that you were instrumental in finally getting gay couples on The Newlywed Game.
Carnie Wilson: Last year when we had our first season with me hosting, I asked, Why dont we have gay couples on the show? And the network looked at me and said, Uh, were not really sure. It just was never really even discussed. Maybe I sparked something -- I hope that I did -- but I think that it couldnt have happened soon enough. Its the real world, its the real deal and it really comes down to one thing and thats love. Thats what this is about: love is love.
Is there any difference between the way George Takei and Brad Altman play the game and how the straight couples play?
No. Everything is the same, from the way theyre interviewed to the questions that they are asked -- its all the same. The thing that I love about the show is that were not separating or segregating. Its very, very mellow and the way it should be. Because I think if we did make it like, And introducing The Newlywed Game with our first gay couple! it would just be sensational to me and more of a political thing and its not. I think it will become sensationalized in a way because some people will disagree and some will approve and hopefully most will approve, but all that is inevitable.
Its another way to start an important conversation, but in an unexpected place.
Its wonderful. Its just about time. And you know what? Its with the times. That is whats happening now: theres much more acceptance. And I think people, no pun intended, are really coming out with it because its everywhere.
Has the fight for gay marriage touched you personally?
My best girlfriend since childhood is gay and married. And my dear soul mate/brother, Daniel, has been with his partner for 20 years. Im very open and accepting of anyones preference to love someone no matter if they are the same sex or a different sex. I think its great.
I was trolling your Wikipedia page -- which I know can be a dubious way to find out information about someone -- and theres an entry stating that you had publicly acknowledged a lesbian experience as a teen.
I didnt have a lesbian experience. Things just get so twisted and weird.
Thats why I thought Id ask -- because Id never heard that before.
I think thats just -- not appropriate. Its not the case. My girlfriend gave me a kiss on the mouth and I was like Ew! Thats gross! And that was my lesbian experience. So if you want to call that a lesbian experience, then fine. I dont.
You are going on tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Wilson Phillipss debut self-titled album.
Were setting up dates right now. We did about 10 shows last year and hopefully well do at least 10 this year. Were thrilled. And were trying to get in the studio to record a new album. Were not sure what the concept is yet. It might be a greatest hits with three new songs or it could be another covers album -- maybe of 60s girl group songs?
That first album was one of the first CDs I ever bought with my allowance.
Thats so sweet. I cant believe its been so long.
Do you hear that a lot?
Its very, very emotional and very, very close to my heart. At The Newlywed Game, my sisters [Wendy, who is also in Wilson Phillips] husband is doing the sound in the audience and he does a song for the show. He blasts Hold On every day at the end of the day and the audience is on their feet going crazy! Every day I cry. I cant explain what its like to have somebody shouting your song and dancing along to it and smiling at you. It is the most touching thing ever in the world.
If you were to run into Carnie Wilson from 20 years ago, what advice would you give her?
I would just say prepare for the ride. [Laughs.] Get ready to have fun and be fulfilled and be surprised and be accepting and stay positive.
Youve lived your life very publicly over the last 20 years -- from your struggles with your weight to being in Playboy. Do you have any regrets?
No. No! I really think about things before I take a plunge. I believe in taking risks, for sure, and I write about that in my books. I talk about being honest with yourself and making decisions. Its hard to make decisions sometimes because theres a ripple, theres an effect. I just try to think, If I make a decision to do this, how is it going to affect my career? And now that I have children, the tables are definitely turned. Now its How is my family going to be affected? How are my girls affected? How does it take up my time? How am I expending my energy? A lot of it is just trying to keep a balance between being a mom and working and staying loyal and truthful to my joys, which are music and hosting this show. I truly, truly adore hosting The Newlywed Game. Every day Im saying how grateful I am and I tell the audience that too. I hope it goes on for 10 more years because its just a blast.
Have you met the shows original host, Bob Eubanks?
Ive never met Bob but I loved watching The Newlywed Game when I was young. I didnt understand everything, but I was pretty sexual from an early age -- aware of my body, you could say -- I know that sounds weird, but its true. I always loved the show and I thought it was really funny. Bob took command. He was kind of sexy in his own way. Hed smile and he wouldnt comment too much but his facial expressions alone would say it all. It sounds like bragging but I thought, I really think this job is perfect for me. I love people, I love talking about sex, I love talking to couples about their sex lives -- I feel like Im giving sexual advice backstage! Its not always about sex, its really relationships and everything involved in a relationship. And its also newlyweds. Theres definitely a different energy around newlyweds. Theyre in their pink cloud time, so its definitely fun to be talking to them at that stage.
Theres a famous 1977 episode of The Newlywed Game where Eubanks asks a wife What is the strangest place youve ever made whoopee? and she responds In the ass. Have you had any moments like that?
We sure have. Oh yeah, we sure have! And this season Id say we went about 30% more risqu. Its funnier -- some of the questions are absolutely hilarious. Some of them are really simple and arent even sexual but theyre just so funny. Like, If you had to wear a donkey costume with your wife, who would be the ass and who would be the head? Its just funny! Questions like that can really make people chuckle and thats what we want. We want people to laugh and be lighthearted and have fun. But at the same time we want them to wonder, What will he say? We baffle them, too, which is kind of funny with the reactions.
The Newlywed Game's second season premieres on GSN (Game Show Network) on October 12. Check local listings for time and channel. George Takei and Brad Altman's episode airs on Tuesday, October 13. For more information, visit GSN.com.