"The circus is back in town and you're looking at the ringmaster." That's Donald Trump from the roof of Radio City Music Hall. Why he's there instead of Madison Square Garden, where the circus actually does go when it's in town, I have no idea. But it's no matter, because the circus he's talking about does not involve elephants, trapeze artists, or death-defying stunts, but rather D-list celebrities battling to rebuild their careers…. Oh, yeah, and raise some money for charity while they're at it. Regardless, I was beyond excited for the return of the best bad show in television history. I remember talking with Trump just over a year ago and the big man asked me, "What do you think about bringing back a regular non-celebrity edition of The Apprentice." My answer was as clear as his hair is mysterious. "Don't do it," I told him. "You have heat back on the franchise with the celebrity thing. That's what people want. They don't want regular crazy. They want celebrity crazy. Why go back to hamburger when you've been serving up filet mignon? No way. Big mistake. Don’t do it."
He shrugged his shoulders and didn't respond, clearly thinking me to be out of my mind. What the hell does this weakling journalist know? I'm DONALD FREAKIN' TRUMP! So, of course, he went ahead with the regular version in this fall, and look how that turned out. It wasn't a bad show. But, more important, it wasn't Celebrity Apprentice. People didn’t care and moved on. Poor Trump. If he would just listen to me once in a while I could make that guy a millionaire.
But now we’re back! With loony luminaries like La Toya Jackson, Lisa Rinna, Star Jones, and Gary Busey. Gary Busey legitimately scares me, but you’d be scared too if you had been forced to endure this painfully awkward interview I undertook with him back in 2003. I actually was more excited than usual for this CA premiere since I was there on the scene at the first challenge. That's right, I went down to buy a slice of pizza, since the proceeds (if Richard Hatch and the men won) would be supporting my buddy Ethan Zohn's charity, Grassroot Soccer. But wouldn't you know it — those bastards left me on the editing room floor! And I even had a funny line while waiting to buy my slice, asking Hatch, "Hey, Richard, do I have to pay taxes on this pizza?" Gold! I was giving them gold! (I don’t think Hatch was amused, however. Or was I amused when, after feeling like a big shot for handing Meat Loaf $20 for my slice, some dude behind me paid $1000 and the bills started cascading down all over the place like I was at a strip club. "Make it rain!" John Rich kept yelling. I suppose mine only qualified as a light sprinkle.) In any event, I'll look past my snub and present the 5 Most Enjoyably Absurd Things About the Celebrity Apprentice Season Premiere.
1. The picking of team names.
I love watching people on The Apprentice — celebrity or otherwise — pick their team names, because there literally could not be anything less important in the entire world, and yet they still manage to argue about it. Unfortunately, this year's selection of team names was rather drama-free. Lil Jon announced that he wanted the men's team name to be something with attitude because, "I can't be associated with nothing lame." Umm, Lil Jon, I don’t quite know how to break this to you exactly, but you do realize that you're appearing on Celebrity Apprentice, right? I'm just sayin'…
NEXT: Where's the Meat Loaf topping?