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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 07/16/2008

Dirty Job: Catching Up With Mike Rowe

By Liz Kelly

Another day at the office for 'Dirty Jobs' host Mike Rowe. (Discovery)

It's all a blur for Mike Rowe. He set out to make a living for himself on the fringes of TV -- a local home show hosting gig here, a voice-over there -- with at least six months off each year. But almost two decades after he first wowed QVC audiences and local D.C. area househunters, the host of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" is a certified cable superstar -- beloved by an adoring public that either wants to be him or be with him.

Fans crowd Discovery channel message boards to talk about the guy, MySpace abounds with dozens of Rowe-related pages: "Mike Rowe for President" and "Hot 4 Mike Rowe" among them. And one only need to a quick Google search to find legions of blog-enabled fans professing an often scary devotion for the guy.

Is it Rowe's boyish good looks, his raw machismo, his charm or his ability to make the mundane seem like the coolest thing going that keeps us coming back? What is it about this guy? In an attempt to find out more, I talked to Rowe last Friday about Shark Week (July 27 - Aug. 2), the inspiration for "Dirty Jobs," his new appreciation for hard work and his campaign to rehab the working man (and woman's) image and, finally, where he comes down on the flat front vs. pleated debate.

Liz Kelly: My readers have been clamoring for me to interview you for a while, so many of the questions today are coming directly from them.

Mike Rowe: I love it that they "clamor." You know, it's a good word and should be used more.

Liz: I'm guessing that you're in the midst of getting ready for Shark Week?

Mike: Well, Shark Week for my purposes is over. A couple of the big shows on the network each did an hour this year. A few years ago we did three hours, but this year we're just doing one. So that's a long way of saying I shot all I'm going to shoot for it a month ago, up near Greenland of all places.

Liz: Greenland? Tell me more...

Mike: Yeah. Me slowly freezing to death. It's funny. I hate to do anything twice, which is why I like "Dirty Jobs" so much. Every day is kind of different. And when Shark Week came around this year they said it'd be great if I could go back to Australia or South Africa, but I felt like it's always the Great Whites and the Tigers and the Hammerheads that get all the press and I thought it might be fun -- in the same way that "Dirty Jobs" celebrates anonymous, unknown people -- if we went after an anonymous, unknown shark.

So, we did some research and found out that the Greenland Shark is this big, slow-moving creature that is just now starting to be studied. Nobody knows much about them except that they live under all the ice of the Arctic ocean. So, rather than the sun and the sand and the fun, we somehow got to a little town about 10 miles this side of the Arctic circle and met some local Inuit people and scientists and started digging holes in ice and looking for Greenland shark. It was 25 below zero and an amazing little adventure.

Read the rest of the interview after the jump...

Liz: Well, that sounds like fun.

Mike: Very cool, except somebody cut the line and we ended up having to spend a night on the ice. I don't even know how cold it got. It was almost two months ago and I'm still not entirely thawed out.

Liz: You mentioned that "Dirty Jobs" is a good fit because you like to do something different every day. Is that brilliance of mind or ADD?

Mike: A little of both and some serendipity. I've been in the TV business for a long time and I didn't get into it because I was motivated by the same levels of money and fame as a lot of people. I got into it because it let me have six, seven months off a year. It was a fun way to work and still have a life. I was a perpetual freelancer and I pitched "Dirty Jobs" to Discovery because I was trying to get them to hire me as their specials guy -- the guy they send to Everest, to the Titanic, to Egypt, whatever. And to help launch it they wanted three hours of something specific and different from me.

So I pitched them this idea called "Somebody's Gotta Do It" that I'd actually been doing for a couple of months up in San Diego San Francisco for CBS. And "Somebody's Gotta Do It" was a tribute to my father and grandfather -- mainly my grandfather, who was one of those guys who was born hardwired to do any mechanical thing. He built the house I was born in without a blueprint. I was just in awe of the guy -- he built my first car, stone mason, steamfitter, architect, brick layer.

He just knew how to do it. He lived next to us and all my life I grew up with he and my dad doing that stuff. And the sad truth is I didn't get the gene. I'm not that guy. I want to be and I can fake it, but I'm not authentically that. So, I ran into entertainment to escape all of that. When I made the deal with Discovery, this was a throwaway, just three shows to launch this other larger deal. And I really did it just to shut my dad up for a while. He'd been making fun of my career for 15 years and I thought, "OK dad, here's a look at some of the jobs you used to do. Now we can all drink a beer and have a big group hug and that'll be that."

Then everybody watched and started writing in with stories about their grandfather and dad and their mom and I started to really look at the show thematically and realized there's a lot going on with the country right now and people. The way we looked at certain jobs had really changed over the years. And I thought it might be fun, if not good for my character, just to put my head down for a few years. So that's what I've been doing.

Liz: A lot of readers remember you from the new home shows you did on local TV in the D.C. area.

Mike: A great example.

Liz: So they wanted me to ask you if you knew of any new housing developments in the Silver Spring area.

Mike: Luckily, I'm a little out of step with the current market vagaries on the Eastern Seaboard.

That show was called "Your New Home" and was something I did in the early '90s really just to pay the rent and is a good example of the kinds of jobs I used to do. And it was beautiful. I could do a year's worth in two weeks. I'd come in for a couple of weeks, then maybe go to another market and do something similar, then do a talk show with Dick Clark or Joan Rivers, narrate something -- that was all I did for the year.

That thing [Your New Home] ended up staying on the air for 15 years with me in it and the last 12 were just mainly out of loyalty because the people who did it were friends and I didn't want to leave them in the lurch.

Liz: Twelve years? That's really big of you.

Mike: Well, you know what, I'm a giver, Liz. And for two weeks at a time I can hold my nose and get through anything.

Liz: Okay, so here's a question: You're a superstar now because of your work on Discovery -- in fact some of my readers ask me if you're Discovery's only employee -- but, it really got me to thinking: Is Hollywood beating down your door? Is acting in your future? A book in the works? What's going on?

Mike: Look, people know me as a fairly light-hearted, fun-loving guy -- and I am. But, the last couple of years have really been very instructive for me because like I said I was never properly seduced by Hollywood because even though I lived there for a while I was never looking for a hit. I was never even looking for a show. But I would always do a lot of pilots and sniffed around.

But to answer your question, yeah. I've had meetings with every network. They've all called and to be polite I've talked to them. There are some book deals, sure. There's speaking. I go around the country a lot and talk to Fortune 500 companies about how work has changed and how we've made it the enemy and what that has done to us. Some fairly heavy themes. But I also tell stories about exploding toilets and artificial vaginas and misadventures and animal husbandry and all that.

So I guess the answer to that is sure, I guess I've passed on some opportunities that a few years ago I would have slobbered all over. But the truth is I absolutely love this job and I wish I didn't have to do so many, but this is exactly what I ordered and I'm happy living on the edges of all that.

Liz: Anything you want to share that we might be surprised to hear you'd passed on?

Mike: Well, you know what, out of respect to the guys who didn't pass...

I can tell you this: Every major talk show syndicator, every game show that's on the air now, every reality show. I'm really grateful to be able to work on a show that -- for better or worse -- portrays me exactly as I am. And I really do mean that "for better or worse." I don't think I'm all that, but I can't imagine having an identity that's basically false and having a show attach to you and having to spend your life perpetuating that fiction. That's really nothing I would ever want. In a lot of ways it's the best of both worlds for me because I have some notoriety, I have a little bit of influence here and there, but still enough anonymity to have a life.

Liz: Take us through an average day in that life.

Mike: Well, why don't I just tell you what last week was like, because the days -- there's nothing typical from one to the next, but the weeks start to take shape.

Last week started in San Francisco on a Monday morning. I got on a plane and flew to Seattle. In Seattle I changed airlines and flew to Idaho -- Coeur d'Alene. From Coeur d'Alene I drove north to a little town called Bonners Ferry, about a quarter mile from the Canadian border. There I spent 36 hours on a maggot farm.

The maggots in question have a funk on them that your readers don't want to know about and it's just as well because I couldn't capture it in words, but there are a billion of them and they are grown for bait and shipped around the world. It's the largest maggot farm on the planet. I'm fairly sure I still stink from it, but I can't smell it anymore so I'm not entirely positive.

Then I got on a plane midway through the week and flew to Fargo by way of Chicago. So that's Illinois to North Dakota, then drove into Minnesota to a leech operation. Yeah. So maggots and leeches in the same week. Thirty-six hours with the leeches -- catching them, separating them, selling them. It was a week dedicated to obscure bait.

From there I went to Baltimore to reintroduce myself to my folks, see some family for the 4th. Kind of a bummer, but went to a funeral on the 5th. The 6th I cruised down to Silver Spring to kiss the ring of my masters and hang out with Discovery. Then I flew from there to Atlanta to talk to a couple of companies about a new initiative I'm trying to get of the ground called MikeRoweWorks (We're assuming this is the spelling. And if not, well, it should be. -- Liz. | Update: It's actually mikeroweWORKS. -- Liz), and then I flew home last night.

So, yeah, every week is some version of that. If it's not a maggot farm it's a steel mill. If not that, then an anthracite coal mine. If not that, then an oil rig. It could be anything.

Liz: Is mikeroweWORKS something you want to tell us more about?

Mike: Sure. I should start by saying I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but that's how "Dirty Jobs" started, too, so I don't mind. I think it's important to try to not fool the viewer into thinking you know more than you do and part of the reason I've gotten so much slack is because I don't appear more confident than I am and let the viewers see me fail every day. Which is ironic when I think of the reason I left Baltimore -- because I didn't want to fail in front of all these experts and now my job basically is to fail. In 173 countries every day. No complaints. It's just ironic that in life to get a little success all you have to do is spend time embracing the very thing you were running from.

So mikeroweWORKS is going to be on a very simple level and attempt to start a very gentle PR campaign for hard work. I think we've done a really stupid thing as a country -- we've made hard work the enemy. I think we do it in Hollywood with the way we portray regular people with regular jobs. It's impossible to meet a plumber who doesn't have a giant butt crack. Big lumbering boobish people. Hundreds of instances.

So I look at what Hollywood has done. And Madison Ave. -- a billion 30 second reminders that life would be great if only we didn't have to work so much. If we could get to the weekend faster or retire sooner. Preference by Loreal says "we're worth it," McDonald's says we need a break. And I'm part of Madison Avenue, so I'm lumping myself with all this here as part of the problem.

But Silicon Valley, they're a part of it. They're not really the enemy, but they've provided us with software that allows us to redefine what work looks like and now the idea of a really good job is usually someone plugged into an office laboring in front of a plasma screen. Good jobs look a lot like kids playing and adults working.

And finally Washington is outsourcing and making all kinds of trade deals that not only outsource manufacturing, but I think some of the traditional work ethics that have always been attached to it.

So that's how we make work the enemy and I'm looking to point that out and say there's got to be some way to turn this around just a little and steer the conversation toward ideas that can make a difference. I'll get off my soap box in 20 seconds, but everything I've said has led to huge symptoms -- a decline in trade school enrollments and an infrastructure that's a complete disaster. Look, it's so important that I don't come off as some dick -- pardon me -- I don't want to be mistaken for some guy who's been appointed or annointed to speak on behalf of this constituency of workers. I'm not. But I've had a couple hundred jobs and a front row seat. I've seen this stuff first hand and if we don't do something about trade schools and the infrastructure soon it's really going to be a disaster and I don't think we're going to be able to do anything unless we change the way we think about work.

The icons of work have changed so much. We weren't around for Rosie the Riveter. Well, she's dead and Ayn Rand and the muddy boots architect and the unions at their best are all gone. Eighties were the dealmakers, '90s were the tech boom and today -- I just had lunch with a big shot over at UPS and he can't hire people for $22 bucks an hour to unload his trucks. And it's not because anybody's bad. It's just that kids and college grads and high school grads -- that anything that looks that much like work is something you don't want to do. We've sucked the dignity out of it.

Liz: So "Dirty Jobs" really gave you an unexpected appreciation for hard work?

Mike: There's a point in every great tragedy where the hero realizes he's got it all wrong. Where Oedipus realizes "that beautiful woman I've been sleeping with is mom. Oops." Or Bruce Willis realizes, "that kid's not crazy, I'm dead." Or Keanu Reeves realizes, "Oh, I'm living in a computer program." They call it peripatia.. And that's what happened to me.

I had a peripatetic moment about two years ago when I realized everything I thought I knew about work was wrong. Everything I'd so carefully figured out through the '90s, my six months a year off -- all of it, while kind of comfortable and fun, was just an empty suit. There's nothing there.

Look, "Dirty Jobs" is a fun, simple little show with huge themes under it. For me, it's penance, it's redemption, it's a sweaty mess.

Liz: Well, my two young nephews -- who tend to spend an inordinate amount of time playing video games, also love your show. They get as excited about the world you're showing to them as they do about World of Warcraft. I'm going to go ahead and assume there are a lot more kids just like them.

Mike: It's really important not to be preachy, not to get too earnest -- because that's just as disgusting as making fun. But the joke's got to be on me. The thing I'm fond of saying about the show is that if you're clicking around [channels] with the sound off and you find it, the odds are good that what you'll see is something that looks unpleasant -- horrible maybe -- but you''ll also see people laughing. So it's the idea of just saying whenever possible that you can have a good time doing hard work. It's not always drudgery.

And that's another way we make work the enemy. What did Melville say? "Men drained of valor." And that's how we see them. And the No. 1 book right now on the New York Times Non-Fiction list? "The 4-Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferriss (oy. -- Liz). One more giant message on how to get so much more by doing so much less.

Even Mr. Monopoly wears flat fronts now. (Parker Brothers)

Liz: One last question -- and one of particular importance to me and my readers: Do you wear flat front or pleated pants?

Mike: Always flat front. You've got to be deeply suspicious of a man who consciously goes with pleats. Why would you do that? You know what -- if I were to wear pleats I would just go ahead and buy the spats, the ascot, the vest, the tophat and -- yeah -- I guess I'd just walk around town swilling champagne out of a bottle and that would be the end of me.

Liz: Right, then you'd jump back in the Monopoly box and go to sleep.

Since there was nothing more to be said once the flat front vs. pleats question was definitively settled, the interview ended.

By Liz Kelly  | July 16, 2008; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Catching Up With..., TV  
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"peripatia" and/or "peripatetic"

Can we come up with a Celebritology definition for one/both of these? Must have a connection to Mike Rowe, natch.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey Liz, when will the Mike Rowe interview be up- oh.

Posted by: Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? | July 16, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the interview! I love me some Rowe!

Posted by: 22309 | July 16, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow he is so articulate! I think my crush on him just got even heavier.
...le sigh....

Posted by: PGM | July 16, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The most interesting celebrity interview yet.

Posted by: Kim | July 16, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"What is it about this guy?"
I would submit that his easy use of terms from Greek tragedy is a major factor. At least for me. (Okay, that and the sexy.)

Posted by: Bawlmer | July 16, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Mike Rowe, one of the Real People.

Nice interview. Thanks.

Posted by: M Street | July 16, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

He has shot to the top of my kitchen pass list.

All kidding aside, as a soon-to-be educator, I agree that vocational education is VERY important. Regardless of the opinions over at On Parenting, every kid is not destined to go to college. We must have viable options open for them.

Posted by: RiverCityRoller | July 16, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

How's this?

Mike Rowe - the itinerant, wandering, meandering, or walking about hero of Lizards everywhere

Posted by: Curmudgeon - the keeper of the Glossary | July 16, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

great great interview. i didn't really know much about the guy, but i am officially smitten.

Posted by: ustreet | July 16, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if he wears speedos.

Posted by: Xenda | July 16, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I have to say that I have been in love with him for a while...

He's a singer, entertainer, O's fan, and overall hunk - what's not to love???

Posted by: librarianmom | July 16, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I like your definition, 'Mudge, maybe add "the Everyman/Superman, itinerant, etc. etc."
Whatever you decide is okay by me, just like Mike Rowe is: okay by me.

Good job Liz Kelly.

Posted by: methinks | July 16, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Good interview. Thanks, Liz.

Posted by: WI | July 16, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

This was a great interview. I agree with Bawlmer- a little greek tragedy goes a long way. And, it didn't come off as "I'm so much smarter than you." Unlike the chat with John Cussak, who I think is great/fun actor, but now hope he remains silent on his theories- the Mike Rowe interview was interesting and down to earth.

Posted by: mdt | July 16, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Looks so good, talks so sexy, and there's a bookish brain up there, to boot.

He has become, for me, the definition of HOT.

Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow

Posted by: Oh my | July 16, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Just when you thought you couldn't <3 Mike Rowe any more, he goes & references Melville, uses a word like "perpatia" AND wears flat front pants!!

**DOUBLE le sigh**



Posted by: Bored @ work | July 16, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Great shows, interesting interview! Thanks!

Posted by: Kris | July 16, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Great comparison to Cussak. My opinion of Cussak is much lower then before after his chat.
I knew very little about Mike Rowe, am not from DC, and have never watched his show.
But, after reading this interview even though I am a 100% straight male I think I am in love. I will be watching Dirty Jobs from now on. What an articulate, nice, decent man.

Posted by: dw | July 16, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

what a hottie. looks, brains, humor, no pleats.

Posted by: b | July 16, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Can we bring him back for a chat? Pretty please?

Posted by: RiverCityRoller is greedy | July 16, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I love Deadliest Catch - but I really love After the Catch with Mike Rowe (le sigh). He sits around at a bar with the fishing captains and just talks about fishing. He is so real and awesome! I lurve him. (wait! is lurve a celebritology term or one of my inside joke terms with my friends? I can't keep it all straight!)

Posted by: ANM | July 16, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to work, Rowe hit it on the head. It is as if the country is channeling Melville's Bartleby and says "I would prefer not to." Mike is an incredible person who looks at what we all ignore, and sees beauty, or at least an interesting story.

Posted by: Rick in St Helens | July 16, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Hi I am a proud member of DJMB , "Dirty Jobs Message Board". I am glad that Mike is sharing his wisdom with the press more and more. Mike Rowe you rock.
Liz you rock for interviewing him.

Cherryrn from DJMB

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Double le sigh is right. This man is gorgeous.

Posted by: Sparky | July 16, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Definitely worth the wait, Liz!

Posted by: Nosy Parker | July 16, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

smart and hot. yum.

Posted by: md | July 16, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Just agreeing with everyone here it seems. Been a fan of Mike's for ages and for all the reasons mentioned above - plus: he shares the exact birth day and year as my husband (3/18/62), even same city of birth. (So obviously Mike and I would get along splendidly!) But most importantly, I'm a fan of Dirty Jobs because no matter how mundane, or gross, or sweaty the job, Mike has always treated the folks who do it day in and day out with respect. He may tease or joke a bit, but he never ever comes across as thinking he's too Big to do such drudgery. The repect thing won me over hands-down. The hairy chest and ironic smile is just icing on the cake.

Posted by: delurker21113 | July 16, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

anyone have some links to some GOOD pix of mr. rowe?

Posted by: ? | July 16, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Double Funkin-A on Mike Rowe's description of the state of vocational education in this country.

Any o'youse folks who think that voc-ed is for dumb *hits, try troubleshooting the Check Engine Light the next time it goes off on your vehicle. Or try setting floor tile on an old, cracked, uneven concrete slab. Or try to install a new sink or water heater.

The great thing about Mike Rowe is that he is an articulate, good-looking advocate for the blue collar professions. There are many people in those professions who share Mike's attitude, outlook and sense of humor. As someone who has undertaken his share of dirty jobs, I can say from experience that a sense of humor is a must. because if you can't laugh at some of the situations, you'll end up running down the street totally naked, screaming obscenities, while waving a ballpeen hammer.

What else can you say about Mike Rowe? Women swoon over him. men want to split a pitcher of beer with him. Doesn't get any better than that.

Posted by: Sasquatch gets off his *hitbox...errr....soapbox | July 16, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Or does Andy Dick look like Sideshow Bob in this mug shot?

Posted by: Is it just me | July 16, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Please, let's not muck up the Mike Rowe posts with a certain drugged out comedian!

Posted by: MoCoSnarky | July 16, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't the headline have read

A Dick Arrested on Sex Allegations

Maybe he stole Natalie Coughlin's bikini boob inserts.

Posted by: Sasquatch, just sayin' | July 16, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I've been watching and admiring Mike Rowe for years. His shows are brilliant. And he did a series of Dirty Jobs shows from the banks of Lake Erie (biting snakes!) that made this Buckeye mighty proud.

I once worked in the Planning Office for a regional sewer district. I prepared myself to face what I thought would be a bunch of disgruntled, dejected workers. No, they were at the transit authority, as it turned out. The sewer workers had an extremely high morale. It was one of the best working atmospheres I ever saw. The whole philosophy of the organization was that anyone could train to do any job on the organization's dime. So if you started out as a clerk and wanted to inspect sewers (big money) they'd train you. They also hired a lot of work-study civil engineering students. I asked a sewer inspector if there was ever a morale issue and he said there would never be one because every morning when they came to work, they knew their jobs were vital and necessary to the metropolitan area.

Good for Mike. Hard work is not something to fear. In fact, many of us with desk jobs would like to retire so that we could have some free time to build things, grow things and tinker around with some engines!

Posted by: MoCoSnarky | July 16, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I didn't pick up whether he was married/involved/etc. What is his status?

Posted by: ckf | July 16, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, and what about the budding opera career?

Posted by: MoCoSnarky | July 16, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"What else can you say about Mike Rowe? Women swoon over him. men want to split a pitcher of beer with him. Doesn't get any better than that." - Posted by: Sasquatch


With all due respect to my esteemed hirsute friend and to Mr. Rowe, who seems like a charming fellow, what's all this about "splitting" a pitcher of beer?

For that matter, "a" pitcher of beer?

Posted by: byoolin wonders if Sas has a court appearance. 'A pitcher,' indeed... | July 16, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I have a "dirty" job for Mike Rowe!

Posted by: James from the Block | July 16, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

single, according to his discovery bio

Posted by: omni | July 16, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Byool', in my younger days I could handle a pitcher by myself. But as I get into my senile...errr...AARP years, I find myself unable to burn off the calories. Alas, I have had to cut down on my beer intake.

Thankfully, no upcoming court dates (knock on wood)

Does Iron City qualify as beer?

Posted by: Fat Sasquatch needs to cut down on calories | July 16, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"I'm a fan of Dirty Jobs because no matter how mundane, or gross, or sweaty the job, Mike has always treated the folks who do it day in and day out with respect."

Well said, delurker. Now that I think about it, a good portion of the reason I like "Dirty Jobs"- besides the fact that it grosses out my roommate- is that we get to meet the folks who do these things for a living. And they all seem to be enjoying their work so much.

Posted by: Bawlmer | July 16, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I thynk dina lohan and mike rowe would be perfect togethr! Dina Rowe sounds gr8!

Posted by: luvlinsey | July 16, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Mike Rowe, even my 16-year-old brother loves you.

Posted by: kpug | July 16, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"In fact, many of us with desk jobs would like to retire so that we could have some free time to build things, grow things and tinker around with some engines!
Posted by: MoCoSnarky"

I'm many many years away from retiring...but part of me would love to hit 65, collect my pension, and move to Maine to grow potatoes and raise alpacas.

Also, did anyone else see the thing about how to prepare a Greenland shark for eating? When fresh, it's packed full of neurotoxins and uric acid. Apparently you have to bury it in the ground and let it rot for six to twelve weeks. Then you have the native delicacy "hakarl" (Icelandic for "fermented shark"). Yum!
So, Mike, when are you and the crew going to a hakarl factory?

Posted by: Bawlmer would have an alpaca named "Mister Spits". | July 16, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"hakarl" is exactly the sound I'd make when eating fermented shark. Are you somehow confusing Mike Rowe with Travel Channel's Anthony Zimmern?

One of the funniest episodes of Dirty Jobs was the one Mike did at the fish/crab processing plant in Dutch Harbor, AK. He asked one of the chefs on a crab boat to whip him up some fish part "delicacies." He was barely able to put them in his mouth and pretty much spit out every one. Barsky, his producer, did much better.

Posted by: MoCoSnarky | July 16, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Satch, you need to eat all your meals while watching Dirty Jobs. The pounds will melt off.

Posted by: MoCoSnarky, diet counselor | July 16, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, Bawlmer, you'd have to get this sign:

Interesting names for these creatures already abound. For example, there's the Dolly Llama. Say Hello, Dolly.

Posted by: Sasquatch | July 16, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Snarky, in fact I watched the Dutch Harbor processing episode while eating dinner. The cod semen segment was hilarious.

Mike asks: "What's this white stuff?"

Guy answers: "Cod semen."

Mike says: "Come again?"

I barely avoided a major spit take.

Posted by: Sasquatch ain't eatin' dat | July 16, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: | July 16, 2008 3:20 PM

what are you "ewww"-ing, anon at 3:20?

Posted by: Xenda | July 16, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I was " ewww"-ing at 3:19. Who wouldn't?

Posted by: 3:20 PM | July 16, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my! Major brouhaha (not hoohah) going on at the OP Blog. Charges of racisms, xenophobia, skankness. Lordy! Hard to believe that the topic is how to save money while shopping. Don't visit there if you aren't prepared to clean off the dingleberries afterwards. Moderating the OP blog is something that even Mike Rowe would refuse.

Posted by: Sasquatch | July 16, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I love the article in the AJC (can't find it now) from a few days ago that was trying to show how hard hit people are having it and they're taking any job they can find, an extra job, etc.

So they profile someone who works in a bank or something and she has to get a job in a strip club in the evenings to pay the bills.

Then they refer to her 5 BR house, and she bemoans all sorts of things that the rest of us would think are luxuries.

Posted by: atlmom | July 16, 2008 3:58 PM

Posted by: From OP | July 16, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I believe Mike Rowe is married. I think that's been mentioned in this column before amongst the drooling.

Posted by: Bored @ work | July 16, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, MR's humor-infused respect for the people he works with is THE major selling point for Dirty Jobs. He lets us know that these jobs are not easy, that a newbie will probably screw it up, and that the jobs take not only a strong back and a strong stomach, but also real expertise. He offers valuable education, in addition to being funny and adorable.

Not surprised he's single though... As pretty as he is, I don't think I'd like it if my man were on the road 90% of the time, and then came home smelling like putrified fish guts.

Posted by: WDC | July 16, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

i'm sure my 2nd mom Dina wouldnt mynd if mike cayme home smelling lik fish gusts!

Posted by: luvlinsey | July 16, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Fans of "Dirty Jobs" might also enjoying reading Studs Terkel's classic book "Working."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Bored, this is copied from the Discovery site. I assume it's up to date since he's like, their only employee.

Birthdate: March 18, 1962
Hails From: Baltimore, Md.
Marital Status: Single
Current Residence: San Francisco, Calif.
Interests/Hobbies: Reading, writing and a bit of running.
On Hosting Dirty Jobs: "Be careful what you wish for."

Posted by: WDC | July 16, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

'Squatch, I might have to get that "Spit Happens" sign regardless of whether or not I have a llama.
How could I forget about the cod sperm quote! Best ever. Oddly enough, back when I worked in a lab, we ordered a ton of herring sperm DNA. If you need to hybridize some nucleic acids, there's apparently nothing better. Except maybe salmon sperm.

Posted by: Bawlmer will be starting a band called "Hakarl and The White Llama Syndicate". | July 16, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Dina's private parts probably smell a lot worse than fish guts.

Posted by: Wake up and smell the... | July 16, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Dina's private parts probably smell a lot worse than fish guts.

Posted by: Wake up and smell the... | July 16, 2008 4:18 PM

tjhat is so meen. dina nevr did nything 2 u, y r u saying things about her? she's like my mom, it hurts mi feelings when u say stuf like thayt.

Posted by: luvlinsey | July 16, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

i'm always amazed at the very serious people on OP Blog. Sas, your one liner a la celebritology glossary was very timely and funny.

Posted by: mdt | July 16, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

When I first saw the topic in OP today I thought it was going to be a quite day, I now stand corrected.

Also, I didn't start it this time.

Posted by: Dorkus | July 16, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the OP people, esp. the MM do take themselves rather seriously.

Posted by: Cecilia | July 16, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The MM blog is a real scream today.

There's nothing more fun to watch than a couple of coupon clippers trying to one-up each other.

Posted by: Curmudgeon is penny wise and pound foolish | July 16, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

tjhat is so meen. dina nevr did nything 2 u, y r u saying things about her? she's like my mom, it hurts mi feelings when u say stuf like thayt.

Posted by: luvlinsey | July 16, 2008 4:28 PM

i'm sorry YOU FREAK!

Posted by: should i respond? | July 16, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Dear "respond" at 4:42 PM,

Go home.

Posted by: Curmudgeon says don't make me get the hoover | July 16, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised that none of the MM has yet admitted washing out and reusing certain feminine products.

"Oh, I only used it once on my last day! Surely, I can reuse!"

Posted by: Cecilia | July 16, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised that none of the MM has yet admitted washing out and reusing certain feminine products.

"Oh, I only used it once on my last day! Surely, I can reuse!"

Posted by: Cecilia | July 16, 2008 4:48 PM


Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Dear "heheheehehe",

Please gather up Cecelia and go home.

Posted by: Curmudgeon goes for the utility closet | July 16, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or has luvlinsey's spelling gotten worse, well worse than it already was. Which means it either isn't the real luvlinsey or our luvlinsey is off her meds.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

mdt writes:

"Sas, your one liner a la celebritology glossary was very timely and funny."

I wrote a one-liner today? Thanks. But I forget which posting it was.

Posted by: Sasquatch pulls an Alberto Gonzales | July 16, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

i have had an absolutly craptastic day at work today and came to celebritology for five minutes of fun and relaxation and it's the mike rowe interview!!! made my entire day. thank you liz for being such a kick butt fearless leader.
and i just noticed that mr. rowe and i have the same birthday, march 18!! i was born 20 years later than him, but on the same day none the less.

Posted by: melissamac1 | July 16, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

What I just wrote on the MM Blog:

All right! WTF is impersonating me on this blog???? None of the previous "Sasquatch" posts are mine. I've been posting over at Celebritology and have been in "read only" mode on this blog for awhile.

If I find the imposter, that little *hit is gonna be recyling their own used toilet paper.

Posted by: The Real Sasquatch is NOT amused | July 16, 2008 5:16 PM

Posted by: POed Sasquatch | July 16, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Yo Fatty, Carm Down

Posted by: to Sas | July 16, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I see that To Sas is telling this Fatty to Carm Down on both this and the Mean Mommie Blog.

This presents an opportunity for me to suggest an addition to the Unabashed Glossary:

Transpostite: A low-life who impersonates a Lizard by cross-posting to other blogs, particularly the MM Blog.

To Sas, YOU are a Transpostite. Got you F-me pumps on?

Posted by: The One & Only Sasquatch | July 16, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Sas, I feel your anger, the transpostite tried to impersonate me as well.

Posted by: Dorkus M. | July 16, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

TO: The One & Only Sasquatch


Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 16, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Dorkus, did you just post "Let the wookie win" over at the MM Blog?

Doesn't have your tone.

Only person to reference me as a Wookie was She Who Shall Not Be Named.

Posted by: Sasquatch | July 16, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes that was me, it happens to be my favorite line from Star Wars. It seemed apt for the moment.

Posted by: Dorkus | July 16, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Okay. I must be getting paranoid in my old age.

Posted by: Sasquatch | July 16, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about that, didn't mean to scare you.

Posted by: Dorkus | July 16, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Chewbacca - Are you talking about me?

Posted by: Emily | July 16, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to stick up for you boys over there....I suspect that a single troll is impersonating a bunch of the Lizards. Problem is, they're not funny....

Posted by: Groovis | July 16, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

WDC, I concur. Mike would need a long, hot shower with lots of industrial strength soap after some of those jobs.

My favorite Dirty Jobs episodes have involved dedicated volunteers and extremely underpaid researchers--

- the folks who venture onto Lake Erie's bird [poop] island to count birds and get pooped on

- the gal who caught the water snakes on the banks of Lake Erie--just the blood factor on that alone was amazing

- the bug researcher who had a tattoo of a mosquito on her back

- the guy who cleaned out the penguin area at the New Orleans Zoo, who regaled Mike with all the penguin relationship gossip.

Posted by: MoCoSnarky | July 16, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow - Did anyone see the Espresso Wars piece about Murky Coffee in Arlington? Amazing. Someone needs to to tell them to Carm down.

Posted by: Emily | July 16, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Chewey, love your kitchen. See link below on the espresso blog.

Posted by: Emily | July 16, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Great choice of interview subject and very enjoyable interview - thanks!

p.s. Dear ANM: In response to your query, "lurve" may be a celebritology term, as well as an inside joke amongst your friends, but I would attribute its origin to Woody Allen's film, Annie Hall.

Posted by: Vanna16 | July 16, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Are you saying some reprobate has been sewing disaccord in this and the MM blog?

Posted by: Elias Howe | July 16, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

So I love Mike. I love the theme behind the Dirty Jobs show. in fact there must be some "it" thing he has, as i love deadliest catch as opposed to other "deadly" job shows, because of his vo work.
BUT something occurred to me that seems ironic. he described doing his early acting gigs so he could work less and still have a life, and now finds America doesn't want to work hard?

Posted by: Theo | July 16, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Mike Rowe is clever, cute, engaging, smart, geigh, fun, to-die-for, wonderful, popular, etc., etc., etc.

Posted by: Curmudgeon calls 'em like she sees 'em | July 16, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I haven't posted earlier because I innocently stumbled on the OP blog this morning and it kinda turned me off blogs in general for the day. Who knew being thrifty was troll bait?

Posted by: Angela | July 16, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

BUT something occurred to me that seems ironic. he described doing his early acting gigs so he could work less and still have a life, and now finds America doesn't want to work hard?

Posted by: Theo | July 16, 2008 7:30 PM

Yeah, it's a contradiction, but at the end of the interview he basically says he knows that was pretty naive thinking as a young man.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Liz, Awesome interview!

I just happen to be watching Dirty Jobs as I finally got to the blog today - it's an episode where he's at the snake and alligator farm... I love a man who looks good in Carharts.

aaaaannnd he just took off his shirt to wrestle an alligator... ooooohhh yeah.....

Posted by: 98102 | July 16, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't watch the show although I've surfed past it, for sure, but after this interview, I have a crush on this guy. He came across as an intelligent, average joe living life like the rest of us. He referenced Oedipus, Sixth Sense and The Matrix (I hope those are the movie references) all at the same time. THAT kind of intelligence is ridiculously HOT! I do believe I'll be watching the show from now on rather than just surfing by it--although I'll try to miss the maggot and leech shows...eeeeewwwwwww!!

Posted by: I'm crushin' now | July 17, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I remember one of Rowe's early gigs was doing this "Romantic Escapes" show for TLC (I think).

The dirty job there was him and the co-host pretending they were a couple.

Posted by: proxl | July 17, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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