Award-winning radio personality, host, and stand-up comedian Rickey Smiley is letting his morning show fan base in on his personal life with his new docuseries RICKEY SMILEY FOR REAL on TV One. The hour-long show follows Smiley as he tries to juggle his career in Atlanta, Georgia, where he resides during the week, and his personal life in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, where he raises his four children and extended family.
Smiley’s struggle to find work and life balance while trying to maintain a love life has been a central focus of the series. Smiley recently spoke with Sheen to discuss the possibilities of a season 2, his thoughts on doing reality television and future plans for the Rickey Smiley Foundation.
Here are the highlights:
Were you apprehensive when asked to do a show considering the negative representation reality stars have on TV?
No. I don’t think so. There is no fighting and no one is getting a drink thrown in their face. The show is kind of like A Different World or the Cosby version of reality TV showing a single dad raising his kids.
You were previously in a scripted show giving insight to your personal life, what made you cross over into reality television?
Doing a reality show is a lot easier. When you do a scripted show you have to memorize lines and film like three episodes a week. With the reality show, you just have the cameras following me and my kids around doing our thing. We just go about our busy life and it’s being recorded.
Many celebrities try to hide or keep under wraps the drama that happens in their personal life and behind the scenes in their professional life, what made you want to be so transparent with your fans?
I tend to talk about most of this stuff on the radio, so it really gives them the chance to see exactly what I am talking about every day on air. My life is no big secret and everybody knows that I love children. I am kind of like the leader of the family and I keep my kids in check. My life is interesting and funny. We don’t have to create stuff because I already have a lot going on. They will get to see me as a parent opposed to being the funny guy on stage.
Will there possibly be a season two?
I would hope so. I am definitely open to doing another season. We had a lot of fun. It was a great look for the morning show and for the kids. I think it would be awesome to do it again.
As a single father and entertainment mogul, where do u find your balance?
As you will see on the show, I do a lot of fishing and I play golf. I am always on the water, so that is kind of my way of escaping it all. I also lay around when I can and watch TV. I am a big college football sports fan. If it has anything to do with sports then I am all in. I have a lot of things that I do for relaxation.
You and your new radio co-host Da Brat seem to have a close personal relationship. How did you two become acquainted?
I met her years ago. We have always been cool through email. She would come fill in occasionally on the morning show. Once I found out she was raised by her grandmother and grew up in a sanctified home [laughs], I realized we had a lot more in common than I thought. We share so much in common as far as how we were raised and everything that we’ve been through. I think that created a bond and makes it easy for us to work with each other. It’s exciting being able to work with her every day.
Why did you open the Rickey Smiley Foundation?
The Rickey Smiley Foundation started with donations from out of my pocket. We raise money to give the audience an opportunity to help me help other people. The proceeds go to kids who have lost their parents to drug abuse, car accidents, cancer etc. I was one of those kids who had to sit on the front row and bury my parents. The other program we have focuses on senior citizens. We put on comedy shows for them and give them gift bags. We make sure that they have the basic necessities for their everyday life. Some of these people feel left behind or forgotten about until the Rickey Smiley Foundation showed up and put a smile on their faces. You never know how long someone has left on this earth, so we just want to do things to show them that they are loved. It is just an absolute blessing! The foundation is doing really well and we are raising a lot of money. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to do God’s will and the help of the fans and bless those in need.
Your working in so many professional lanes, which job do you enjoy the most?
Definitely Stand-up comedy. There is nothing like a raw comedy Stand-up performance sold out on a Saturday night. There is no better feeling when you walk on stage and everybody is screaming your name.
I love watching people literally on the floor crying and laughing at my jokes. I don’t do jokes, I do real raw Stand-up comedy and I tell real stories. Before I walk off stage I give everybody a chance to say hi. I have probably kissed every single woman on the cheek. My past few shows have completely sold out.