Kevork Djansezian/WireImage
Mandi Bierly
December 06, 2012 AT 11:00 AM EST

After the stripping numbers (which EW thoroughly dissected with the choreographer, costume designer, and music supervisor when the movie hit theaters last summer), what people probably remember most about Magic Mike is costar Joe Manganiello’s gloriously game, body roll-filled press tour. “There were a lot of moments where I was backstage right after whatever went down lookin’ at my publicist, Lisa [Perkins], like, I’m a classically-trained actor. What the f— am I doing? What are we doing? Please tell me I’m not insane and out of my mind. And Lisa would look at me and just go, ‘You are insane. You are out of your mind. But it’s working,’” Manganiello recalls, laughing. “It was one of those things where I’m either gonna look like the biggest a—hole that’s ever lived, or this is gonna be huge. There’s something magical that’s gonna happen, or I’m never gonna be allowed out of the house again. Thank god it went the way that we hoped.” Here, Manganiello takes us inside his highlights.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverage

As told by: Joe Manganiello

1. The MTV Movie Awards

Chan called me up. He’s like, “Dude, me and McConaughey are presenting. You gotta come with us. We gotta do something crazy. We gotta, like, bring you out as a secret weapon.” And I was like, “Okay.” I think MTV was talking about getting me a bow tie and cufflinks, like the Chippendales. And I went, “No, man, come on. That’s lame. I’m not doing that.” And this was the night before — we were gonna present on Sunday, this was Saturday night. I was like, “You get me a fireman’s suit, complete with an axe and the helmet, and I’ll be there.” But all the costume shops are closed on Sunday, so they went to the LA fire department. So I wound up signing a whole bunch of stuff for the LA fire department, and in return, they gave me the real helmet, the real pants and suspenders, and the real axe.

It was hilarious. It was me, Channing, and Matthew backstage. I’ve got no shirt on and this real, f—in’ huge fireman axe I’m throwin’ around, and I’m meeting Oscar winner Charlize Theron, who’s tellin’ me about how they hired a fireman stripper for her mom’s birthday one year. [Laughs] I’m listening, but I’m nervous. MTV’s like, “Yeah, dude, we’ve got Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ all loaded up, so you’re ready to go.” I was like, “Okay, so you guys will forget the envelope. ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ starts blaring, and I’m gonna walk out with the envelope stuffed in my pants, which is the only place I can hide it, with the axe.” They told us ahead of time that Elizabeth Banks won. They’re like, “Dude, you should f—in’ carry her off.” I’m like, “Okay. God bless her, I hope she goes with it.”

Once I got out there, the crowd goes nuts, so I start pumping the axe, and I’m like, I don’t even know if they can show this. I go up [to the mic], swear, and get censored. [Laughs] Then Elizabeth gets called up and McConaughey takes the golden MTV popcorn and sticks it over my crotch. So then I just go into this whole thing, and Elizabeth Banks, god bless her, bends over, so I get behind her. Then I throw the axe to McConaughey, scoop her up, and walk off. I gotta give her a ton of credit. She was the best. She just completely went along with it, and she could’ve shut the whole thing down.

We had no idea how it was gonna go over. Backstage, people were crying laughing. The three of us were holding onto each other just laughing hysterically. That was a gamble, but I grew up watching Jim Carrey show up in his Jim Morrison costume and accept his award, and all that crazy stuff they used to do and haven’t done in recent years. So there was a real feeling for me, Chan, and McConaughey that we were gonna show the young kids how to do it. This is what the MTV Movie Awards are about.

2. The Wendy Williams Show

The first talk show I ever did was Wendy Williams. She was so friendly and complimentary. Wendy just kinda has hot-pants for the guys on her show. So I thought to myself, you know what, I’m gonna go out there and I’m gonna lapdance Wendy Williams. But sure enough, Wendy had set up a contest where someone in the crowd was gonna get a lapdance from me. So I’m literally lapdancing this guest. Wendy had a bunch of dollars printed up with her face on them. I have a stack of Wendy Williams dollars at my house now. So she was makin’ it rain, stuffin’ money in my pants. Then I’m grinding on Wendy and this guest. That was pretty great. What you don’t see is me basically pinning Wendy to the couch crotch to face. [Laughs] They cut away from that. I guess people weren’t allowed to see it at that time of the day.

NEXT: More body rolling in New York, and San Diego

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