On Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, it’s all coming together: The arrival of one Jason Prager, CarterMatt contributor and Hannibal podcast co-host, on The Gong Show. It’s been a long journey for the aspiring geek rapper, who first burst onto the scene on Beauty and the Geek season 5. He’s appeared on multiple shows, made people laugh, and spent an exhaustive amount of time finding ways to incorporate such things as amino acids into his raps. (Hey, in addition to a geek rapper, he also loves his proteins as a bodybuilder.)
Today, we’re speaking with Jason’s alter ego for The Gong Show in The Geek M.C. Squared just as much as we’re speaking to our longtime friend. We personally think this is one of the more entertaining interviews we’ve ever done, just in terms of getting some insight into the crazy Gong Show experience and also hearing about some of Jason / The Geek M.C. Squared’s numerous other reality TV ambitions. Also, we get to hear about the legendary Tommy Maitland, why Jason is one part Family Matters and another part Breaking Bad, and his surprising inspirational figure from the reality TV community.
CarterMatt – Let’s start with this: We gotta start with the Geek M.C. Squared origin story
Jason Prager – It began in the gym, where everything begins. Most people who go to the gym are stereotypical meatheads. They all look the same, they all talk the same, they all have a full head of hair. My character’s kind of the antithesis of that. Think in terms of an over-exaggerated hyper version of myself, super-confident even though I’m a geek. I’m a performer doing all these rap songs, and a famew–re looking to get on all of these game shows, trying to have everyone love me. I think that’s how the Geek M.C. Squared was born.
Let’s get more into background here. What are your influences?
I’m a big TV watcher as well, so my biggest character influences are Steve Urkel and Walter White. Somewhere in the middle of that is the Geek M.C. Squared.
Is he the danger?
I think he is the danger. That’s for sure. He’s the danger, and at the same time he wants to ask Laura out to the Prom.
So what made The Gong Show the right venue for your extraordinary talents?
Obviously, I have this rather unique talent, and as you know I’m not sure of what exactly to do with it. There are these shows out there like America’s Got Talent where half the show is a sob story. They’re judging the talent, but they’re also judging the sob story.
Then, I hear that The Gong Show is coming back, and with it the acts are the sob story. It was then I realized that this was perfect for me. This is where I belong.
Obviously I know you and I’ve got a good sense of who the Geek M.C. Squared is, but for those who don’t know, describe your act. How much of it is musical, and how much is comedic? What’s the intention behind this madness?
I’m Jewish; everything I do is comedy. It’s a somewhat musical act, but it’s a comedic act. Everything I do is for the fans. Whenever I do anything, I think ‘what does the end user want to see? What do people want to see on The Gong Show?’ There are so many acts that are the same with the acrobatics and the juggling, and obviously that’s great. But I can’t do anything like that. I’m at home writing out all of these lyrics, and then during the day I’m pumping away at the gym — this [combination] is what the people want to see. I’m giving the people what they want. How many times do shows not give you what you want?
You’re a people pleaser.
I am the people pleaser.
I gotta get your expectation and excitement around the legendary British TV host Tommy Maitland. What was your experience like meeting him?
When I first heard they were bringing back The Gong Show, I thought ‘you know would be the perfect host for this? Tommy Maitland.’ Then, upon looking online — to make sure he’s still alive — I find out that he is, in fact, going to be the host of the new Gong Show. That just sealed the deal for me that I had to apply in order to meet him and have him sign a copy of his book You’ve Got No Proof, which he did and was very nice about.
I gotta say, upon coming back and saying that I’m on The Gong Show, people look at you a little bit differently when you tell them you’ve met Tommy Maitland.
What does that look like?
It’s a look of ‘I want a follow-up explanation.’ I tell them that he’s a great guy, and he even said he did an act like this when he was singing in the British Army for the Queen. It’s all coming full-circle now!
Other than the money, since everybody wants money, what are you hoping to get out of the new version of The Gong Show?
The Geek M.C. Squared is all about the money first and foremost. Obviously being on TV and being more famous than my friends and throwing it in their faces. Also, having all the girls see me on TV and then hit me up on my Instagram. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Isn’t that what everybody does at the heart of all of these shows?
Getting more likes, getting more followers, getting more people to like you. Likes are the new money.
I’m going to put you as Geek M.C. Squared back into the moment. You’re on the show, you’re getting ready to perform. How nervous are you about getting that gong?
When I was on the plane ride heading to Hollywood, land where dreams are made, I was thinking to myself ‘I’m the Geek M.C. Squared, I’m going to kill it, and everyone’s going to suck compared to me. I’m going to do the best job ever. I’m going to win this easily.
However, what happens is that when we’re all rehearsing and I’m seeing everyone else’s act and all of the work that they put into it, and that all of these people are doing this professionally or semi-professionally for a living, I’m thinking to myself ‘uh oh. Everyone’s act is phenomenal.’ I realized that whatever I was going to do, I had to do EVEN more. I used up a year’s worth of energy on my performance, just because the competition was that insane.
A year’s worth of energy? I’m glad you’re awake.
It really was a year’s worth of energy. I am dead. Don’t talk to me for a year.
The judges for your episode are Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Dana Carvey. Were you excited to perform for this group?
I actually was. With Anthony Anderson, he was in a movie Malibu’s Most Wanted and I was one of those people who saw it in the theater. That was a large influence on the entire act itself. I was definitely excited to prepare for him and I was a big, huge fan.
I wasn’t so familiar with Tracee Ellis Ross, but I’m happy to perform for the ladies and glad that she was there. Obviously, I am Mr. SNL fan myself so performing for Dana Carvey was a huge honor. It was definitely a thrill to meet him.
Why should everyone watch The Gong Show even if they haven’t seen it before?
I think everyone in America should watch The Gong Show — we need The Gong Show now more than ever. But again, I give the people what they want. I look back to the people who watched the original — my act pays homage to the previous incarnation of the show, and if you see my performance, you’ll see some of those references and understand what I’m doing. I know what the fans are waiting for, and they’ll appreciate the callbacks to the original show. My act does that.
What’s next for you? Do you got any big collaborations in the works, are you going on tour? What’s going to happen?
This is now the first step of my multi-year plan to eventually become the Stephen Baldwin of ABC 1970’s game show reboots. I was to be on everything — I want to be on Match Game, I want to be on Pyramid, I want to be on Battle of the Network Stars. If they’re thinking about bringing back Concentration, I want to be on that.
This is really the first step
Stephen Baldwin … really?
He’s making his money on the reality show circuit!
Want more on Jason and The Gong Show?
Head over here to read our full piece all about his appearance from last week! Also, if you really want to dip back into the CarterMatt well, check out some of his appearances on the Hannibal podcast. (Photo: ABC.)