“My business partner was Snoop’s manager for years. There has always been a mutual respect between us because he’s a big football fan and I’m a big music guy,” Strahan, the former New York Giants defensive end, tells Variety. “The best thing is that I’ve been friends with Snoop for a long time, double-digit years. It’s fun to finally have a project that we can do together.”
Strahan, who is no stranger to game show revivals, having hosted ABC’s version of “$100,000 Pyramid” since 2016, is now working with Snoop on the TBS revival of “The Joker’s Wild.”
In anticipation of the series premiere, Strahan talks with Variety about what this updated version of the classic format will look like, what special guest stars to expect in the first season, and how important music will be to the show.
What are you updating for this revival?
Having Snoop is the biggest difference, of course. He puts his spin on it with his charm. Whenever you do game shows – I learned this from “$100,000 Pyramid” – you can mess things up too much by trying to tweak them. The core of the game is the same, but Snoop uses his personality to make it different.
What sensibility does Snoop bring to the show?
He loved the original “The Joker’s Wild.” He used to watch it with his grandmother. When he brought it to us, he wanted to do it in memory of his grandmother. Certain games don’t need that big of a personality to move it along. But in his case, it’s a good chance for him to showcase his sense of humor and quick wit. One of the funniest things is hearing him say “yarmulke” and some of these terms that you’d never expect Snoop to say. Some of them he gets right, some of them he gets wrong, but he’s not so serious about it. He’s like, “Hey, you guys could have pulled me aside in the back room and said, ‘This is how you say it.’ You just send me out here blind!” It’s that thing that he brings to the table. I don’t know how many other people would have the same effect.
What’s your favorite thing about working with Snoop Dogg?
When Snoop listens to you, it’s like, “Oh my god, that’s Snoop Dogg listening to me!” That’s somebody I grew up admiring. The fun thing is working with friends and watching them grow something that is new to them just like stuff that was new to me. It’s a lot easier working with someone who you get along with and have a good relationship with.
Does music play a role in the show?
Absolutely. Snoop produced the theme song. He’s that involved. A lot of times when he’s talking, it’s winding because that’s what he does. He can’t help himself. Music is always some underlying factor in the program.
What special guest stars will appear?
There are friends from all over the spectrum on this show. For some of these categories, he asks for a little help from his friends: Karlie Kloss, Wiz Khalifa, and Method Man are all a part of it. Hell, I’m even a part of it. He has a bunch of different friends who chip in on different segments to give an example of something that the contestants have to figure out.
When you get involved in the game, what’s your part?
There are these different dances that I demonstrate. I don’t know how good I am at them, but I demonstrate the dances, and the contestants have to figure out what they are. Is it the tootsie roll or not?
What are you most looking forward to for the season?
We’ve seen all different sides of Snoop Dogg, but we’ve never seen him host a game show. I hope that people really appreciate the fun he’s having, and hopefully they’re having fun too. And it’s great for people to win money. People love giving money, and it’s great to give away the network’s money.
How can viewers get involved in the show?
I play along with it in rehearsals. It’s one of those shows you can’t help but get involved in. You’re not going to sit there and passively let the game go on without having something to say. It’s not a game show where you have to do heavy lifting, though. All you do is sit there, enjoy yourself, and play along with your friends and family.
Do you have a favorite behind-the-scenes or on-set moment you’ve had so far?
Behind-the-scenes with Snoop? You can’t tell too many of those stories! There are plenty of moments that we captured that will be rolled out online for people to see. I think people will get a great sense of what it takes to do the show and the type of fun that Snoop has doing it.
“The Joker’s Wild” premieres Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. on TBS.