Back in the first season of “American Idol,” the show’s longtime host Ryan Seacrest had a co-host.
Comedian and actor Brian Dunkleman did just one season of the show before quitting, which many people saw as a bad career move given the show’s massive success in later seasons. In a 2019 interview with GQ, Dunkelman said, “I understand the interest in Idol. It’s the only reason you and I are talking right now. But it wears on a man, and the most annoying part is people reminding me of how wealthy Ryan Seacrest is. I know.”
In a November 17 episode of the podcast “Behind the Velvet Rope,” Dunkleman spoke candidly about his time on “American Idol,” specifically his bad relationship with Seacrest.
Dunkleman Had to Be Held Back From Fighting Seacrest
On “Behind the Velvet Rope,” Dunkleman said that after one live show taping of “American Idol,” the tension between him and Seacrest was so great that he almost resorted to physical blows.
“At one point, I just looked at (Ryan) and he said, ‘say something Dunk.’ And I said, ‘what do you want me to say, Ryan?’ He said ‘how about we’ll be right back with more American Idol. Cut. Are you going to say one f***ing thing that’s on the teleprompter tonight?'”
“Look, how would you feel if somebody who’s intentionally trying to f*** you up and make it look like you’re screwing up on live television?” Dunkleman said. He then revealed that after this particular interaction, he wanted to fight Seacrest.
“When that show ended, my manager and my best friend who was there to pick me up… they had to hold me back from going after him,” he said. “They threw me in an elevator just to get me away from him and away from everybody.”
Dunkleman Criticized Seacrest for Trying to Get Attention
In the same interview, Dunkleman criticized Seacrest further, saying he “started to just do really weird s***” on “American Idol.”
“There was one show, we walk out, he just started running full speed and he just jumped. He leaped off the stage,” Dunkleman said. “He almost landed on the judges’ table. And I was like, ‘what is he doing?’ He just kept doing stupid stuff like that.”
“Anything he could do to draw focus and attention. It was really weird. That started very, very early,” Dunkleman continued.
Dunkleman Didn’t Like the ‘Idol’ Audition Process
In his 2019 GQ interview, Dunkleman said he found the “American Idol” auditions upsetting.
“These kids were coming out of that room bawling one after the other. It was really jarring. I thought, ‘what in the f*** is happening right now?’ Like, when you’re talking to a girl and her father, who had just sold a bunch of things, and they were living in a truck just to give her this chance, and then she comes out of that room with dead eyes…I think about that girl a lot. It got so bad that I went and excused myself and found somewhere to hide to process everything,” Dunkleman said.
But his experience on “Idol” wasn’t all bad. “My favorite part of the tour was in the mornings. Me and Ryan Seacrest would just go out into the city and find funny stuff to do. Of course, they hardly used any of it,” he told GQ.