Attention everyone who’s heading to Times Square for New Year’s Eve: Jenny McCarthy’s looking for her now-annual midnight lip-lock on live TV.
The wacky actress and Playmate returns for a second run co-hosting ABC’s holiday countdown show “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” alongside the legendary “American Bandstand” helmer and his heir apparent Ryan Seacrest. McCarthy won’t just be celebrating the turning of the calendar – this year marks the 40th outing for Clark’s party-hearty special, and McCarthy gives PopcornBiz the inside scoop on being at the center of the big celebration.
What was it about the New Year's Eve program experience that made you want to be a part of it again this year?
Last year was the first time that I did it and that was like my litmus test for myself, going, 'All right, I know I'm going to do a good job and I know they're going to ask me back again. So I have to really figure out if I want to do this again.' And the night went on and I had one of the most incredible experiences of my life, of my career, yet. That energy in Times Square is unexplainable unless you've been there and lived it. It's on the bucket list that you have to do, and when they called me this year I said, 'Absolutely.' They said 'We're going to throw an extra thing on it,' which is a two-hour special which I'm going to be hosting in Times Square. It's basically where we look back over the past 40 years of the best moments that Dick had hosting New Year's Eve. So it's going to be a great little nostalgia program and then leading into Ryan, Dick and myself doing the countdown to the rest of the night.
What was one of the most exciting memories from doing it last year and what was the most sort of nerve-wracking – something you might have thought was going to be a disaster on live TV?
Okay, so the most fun part was when I made out with this guy. I had so much fun looking for a guy to kind of kiss of at midnight, and then I DID kiss a guy at midnight and it was awesome – but then right after midnight is really when you have to keep watching because things get really hairy, I swear. The police start to disappear. The leftover crowd is a little bit sketchy, and I remember that it was probably about 12:45 and they (cut) to me and I couldn't hear in my (earpiece) and what was happening was that I was getting my butt-pinched by a bunch of these guys walking by. I was screaming and yelling at them and Ryan was watching this live, going, 'She can't hear a word we're saying to her right now. Look, she's getting attacked.'
Since you were successful choosing the guy to kiss at midnight last year, what was your technique? How did you size up the field and figure out the one to go for?
A) that they didn't have a cold sore; B) that they spoke English; and just if they were cute. Throughout the entire night I gave them quizzes. I tested them with questions, like, 'What is my favorite thing to do? Is it A, B or C?' So I just had a kind of rolling quiz throughout the night that I had fun doing with the crowd.
And have you ever had a bad midnight kiss - or had to deal with someone that made a bad attempt at one? I haven't had a bad midnight kiss, but I've had many bad midnight dates. The kisses get better with a few drinks. The date is a lot more than just a few drinks.
How many bodyguards do you have on New Year's Eve?
Two. By midnight I'm like, 'Uh, hello?' I was literally by myself with a camera and all the people. That's why like at 12:45 I was like, 'Oh, this is like a show unto itself, called ‘Let’s Throw Jenny Into the Crowd Without Security and the Camera On.' I should buy that extra hour.
What else do you have going on professionally?
Right now I'm finishing up my eighth book and that's called 'Sinner; Confessions of a Recovering Catholic.' It's just a really kind of funny look back at my entire childhood until now, being raised by nuns and Jesus and Madonna. That's coming out next year and then I'm in final negotiations, if you will, for a talk show which will be coming next year and that's really all I can say about that, but you'll see it next year.
And you popped back into 'Two and A Half Men,' right?
I've been recurring for – I don't know – for like four years now. This is my ninth time. I did two with Ashton [Kutcher] and it was good. I know what it feels like now for Elizabeth Montgomery when she got a different husband. It's just different. It's not necessarily better or worse. It's just different. My chemistry with Charlie [Sheen] was awesome, and with Ashton it just had to be different. It still went off great and I think he's doing a good job. I just can't decide who I like more.