It’s not New Year’s Day without a Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular. This year’s, which airs at 4 p.m. ET today on NBC, features the ‘88 Olympic gold medalist and current host of the Food Network’s What Would Brian Boitano Make? performing — along with Michael Weiss, Yuka Sato, Kimmie Meissner, Alissa Czisny, Steven Cousins, Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko, and Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon — to live music by Chicago. “The hard part was choosing nine songs,” Boitano says. “They gave me carte blanche. ‘We’ll play whatever songs you want.’ I’m like, ‘Ohmygod. Any song?’ No musical guest ever says that.” (He claimed “If You Leave Me Now” for a solo.)
Earlier this week, fresh off the ice at Rockefeller Center for a Today show appearance, Boitano phoned PopWatch to take The EW Pop Culture Personality Test. If we were judging, we’d have zero deductions.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What would Brian Boitano make for a New Year’s Day hangover?
BRIAN BOITANO: So that would be brunch… I would make a frittata with some sausage and bacon in it. Mmm. A little onion. Yeah. And a little cheese, but something good like fontina or Asiago.
You’ll be back on Today with a cooking segment when it travels to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics. What will Brian Boitano make for Matt Lauer?
Well, Matt told me what he wanted. So, I would say, I will do meat and potatoes. I would have never thought of Matt as a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy.
You’re filming the second season of your show now (premieres March 7). What do we have to look forward to?
You’re gonna laugh so hard. I do a date night for all my friends who have kids, and I babysit the kids while I’m making dinner. [PopWatch laughs.] Yep. On one episode, I belong to this scooter club and have a run-in with the Harley Davidson guys on my scooter — and then, of course, they all come over to the house for dinner. I do one with Kristi Yamuguchi, which is really fun because we do a lot of green screen imagining what we’re gonna do for the day when we hang out together. And I throw my niece a surprise honeymoon on my roof deck.
I loved your Season 1 premiere, when you threw a party for your single friend Tony and a large number of bachelorettes. I think when you get to like Season 5, you should travel from city to city being a matchmaker.
There was another idea for an episode we had where I was like Cyrano de Bergerac with a guy who couldn’t cook. Have the thing in his ear [whispers] “Okay, talk about the infusion of lemon in the sauce.” I think that would be fun. Don’t you?
What’s your strangest fan encounter?
One time, one of my fans, who was jealous of Katarina Witt, made her ex-lax brownies and asked me to deliver ‘em to her.
That could be the best story I’ve ever heard.
They didn’t like that I was spending time with Katarina, so they made these brownies, and another fan told my manager, “Those are ex-lax brownies. Don’t let Katarina have ‘em.” That was in, like, 1991. It’s still a joke between me and Katarina.
You should have her on your cooking show.
“Let’s make brownies!” She’d be like [in German accent] “Not ex-lax.”
The last time we spoke, for our 2007 Brian Boitano Interview Spectacular!, you still hadn’t met South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Has that changed?
No, but I want them to do an episode of the Food show because I heard they’re foodies. So if you talk to them…
That would be amazing. What would you do with them?
Whatever they want to do. I’d do my own version of Cheesy Poofs.
What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
Jessica Simpson’s “A Public Affair.” Do you know the song? [Sings] “All the girls steppin’ out for a public affair.” [Laughs] It used to be “Elusive Butterfly” — she’s wiped that out by far, poor thing. When I’m at the rink, I’m like, Oh, I want to play Jessica Simpson, but I make sure that the rink is completely empty so people aren’t like, “What the hell are you playing?”
So you’re saying Jessica Simpson is your dream musical guest for Brian Boitano’s Skating Spectacular 2011?
[Sings] “All the girls steppin’ out for a public affair.” No. Who would my dream guest be? It would be U2. Can you imagine? Or Coldplay would be awesome.
When do you yell at the TV?
I don’t really watch sports on TV, so I don’t yell. That’s probably the only time when people yell, right?
I yell at The Bachelor.
[Laughs] Ohmygod. I don’t watch The Bachelor.
Do not judge me. We once had a conversation about Rock of Love.
I did watch, but I stopped. It just got way too tired, and the girls got trashier and trashier and trashier and trashier. I love bad TV. Back in the day, I used to watch QVC, and I couldn’t believe that these people were hawkin’ this ugly stuff and people would call in and go, “I need two of the unicorn lamps for my daughter.” I’m like, How did they get a woman to buy two unicorn lamps? And then they do this whole BS thing: “Only two more left.” Who’s buying these unicorn lamps?
What’s the most embarrassing show you’re watching now?
What am I watching now? [Asks his publicist, who suggests Jersey Shore.] No Jersey Shore, I don’t even know what that is. I haven’t watched the Kardashians. I can’t do that. I love The Amazing Race.
Not embarrassing if it’s won Emmys.
So You Think You Can Dance? That’s a guilty pleasure, right?
What’s your geekiest possession?
The other day, I found a T-shirt from the original Chorus Line, with them all lined up. It’s really small, so I know I had it when I was 13 or 14. I’m not ready to give it away.
Did you ever write a fan letter to anyone when you were young?
Never. Who would I have written one to? [Thinks] I loved the show Lost in Space, so I probably would have written a letter to the Robot and signed it “Warning! Warning!”. I loved the Robot.
What’s your favorite Winter Olympic sport that’s not figure skating?
Curling. No. I like bobsled and downhill.
Last question: Is there any chance you’re going to be on ABC’s Thin Ice this March? That’s the two-night competition that promises to pair up 12 of ”the world’s greatest pro figure skaters.”
I did see the list of “greatest professional skaters” that they had, and it was really a lame cast.
So that would be a no.
That was my reaction, too, when I read the press release.
They were hardly-even-heard-of professional skaters.
It made me miss Ice Wars. This year was the 15th anniversary of the first showdown: USA [Boitano, Yamaguchi, Paul Wylie and Nancy Kerrigan] vs. the World [Witt, Oksana Baiul, Viktor Petrenko, and Kurt Browning].
Those were good times.
What’s your favorite Ice Wars memory?
It’s from the very first year. It was taped on two different nights. The second night was a really important evening, because I think each of the skaters got a $100,000 bonus on top of their appearance fee if their team won. The US team won the first night, and we’re like, “We are so gonna kick ass tonight.” We’re all motivated. So, we get on the ice for the warm up, and I literally took three steps and did a trouble. I was just like, I gotta get warmed up! Paul Wylie was just skating by me at that point, and he goes, “That’s my boy!” It was so funny. I’m charging out like a racehorse, and he’s like, “That’s my boy!” He knew I/we wanted to win that so bad.
And USA won?
Totally kicked butt.
Photo Credit: Food Network