I’m a Reality TV star. I’m not Honey Boo Boo and I wasn’t on one of those “naked” shows. I appeared on a cable channel called RLTV. You likely have RLTV, it’s in over 30 million homes, but it’s of those channels that you don’t know you have. I was asked to appear on a program called “Second Act”, about people starting a new career midway through life. Hopefully this is midway.
I thought that the show would simply be biographical. Instead, there had to be a storyline with highs and lows so the producer proposed this:
"Jeff Hysen is a man in desperate need. He is deeply unsatisfied with life, close to retirement age, and fearful of becoming irrelevant and worthless."
That made me sound like I was ready to blow my brains out! That’s not a storyline, that’s a suicide note. Fortunately, the truth was good enough: I did two shows in 1987, "life intervened" but I never lost interest in comedy. In 2009, when my sons were older, I tried again and haven't stopped.
I learned that Reality TV is highly structured. They told me where to sit and suggested what to say. They took me clothes shopping and made me model ugly suits just to get funny reactions. Events were shown out of sequence. They tried to get my wife to say bad things about me. She’s more than capable of that, but not on TV.
They promised to make me look like an inspirational figure and they did. I love being a comedian, but it isn't heroic. I'm just a guy who got off the couch but on Reality TV, that somehow makes me a hero. I learned that if you want reality on TV, go watch the news… except for FOX.