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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Actors > Feature Interviews A to E > Dan Cortese

 

Dan Cortese

Goes For The Record

by Ronald Sklar

 

Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 15, 2013.

America’s favorite dudebro is back with a hit show and a shout out to the iconic MTV Sports.

TruTV bills itself not as reality TV, but as “Actuality.” True that. Its new hit series, Guinness World Records® Gone Wild, scored a whopping 1.4 million viewers in its debut episode, featuring daring and fearless recordholder hopefuls attempting to make witness and secure their place in history.

The host of this series knows his fill about actuality mixed with wild. As host of MTV Sports back in the Nineties, Dan Cortese helped forge a new kind of X-treme television. Here, he keeps that legacy alive as he introduces us (again) to some truly outrageous and jaw-dropping stunts. Examples: most panes of glass run though in one minute. Highest dive into twelve inches of water. Most kicks to the head in one minute.

The show is indeed a real kick in the head.

“It’s big, it’s loud, it’s fun, it’s really cool to watch,” Cortese tells me. “[The contestants are] ordinary people who are intrigued by this and want to be the best in the world. They get a Guinness World Record certificate and they’re proud of it. They take these records extremely seriously. They’re not just out there jumping around and wanting to be on TV. They are unique, real people who actually want to be a world record holder.”

Cortese holds his own record as well. The son of a Sicilian immigrant (who became a suburban Pittsburgh school principal), Dan shot to stardom with the groundbreaking MTV Sports in 1992.

He recalls, “I went from being a production assistant on MTV on a Tuesday, and on Friday I shot the pilot for MTV Sports. It was not an overnight success. It was more like 72-hour success. There is nothing that can prepare you for it. And that show was highly visible.”

He means “visible” in more ways than one. The series took MTV’s famous visual imagery to new heights, as the camera fused music video into the world of sports and athleticism. Add in a soundtrack of alternative music, and you’re attracting Gen X in a big way. Cortese rode the flame of fame much like the gonzo athletes soaring in the series. The show, like the camera filming it, took on a life of its own.

For the past few years, Cortese has made a name for himself as an actor, appearing in such TV ventures as Veronica’s Closet and Rock Me, Baby. Only now can he look back at the show that made him a star and see clearly now.

“I can finally look at that show and say it was groundbreaking,” he says. “That really was the first show to give those types of extreme sports the spotlight. And just like Guinness, those [MTV Sports athletes] were doing it because they loved to do it. They were getting no money. It gave that whole generation of extreme sports athletes a voice.”

That generation also took away a TV persona that Cortese created practically on his own.

“The in-your-face host,” he recalls. “I think it’s been taken a little too far now. But that’s what attracted me to this new show. I have free range to just go out there and enjoy myself.”

How can he not, while watching, along with us, the most arrows caught while blindfolded or the most live cockroaches held in the mouth?

“This is not your mother’s Guinness World Records,” he says. “This is Guinness World Records Gone Wild. It’s not just somebody with the longest fingernails. It’s taken this concept to the whole next level.”

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#2 © 2013. Courtesy of Tru-TV. All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 15, 2013

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Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 15, 2013.