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Beyond Peanuts and Popcorn: An Interview with Paradise Hotel's Dave Kerpenby Peggy Keller -- 10/01/2003
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Once upon a time in Boston, a struggling college kid, who was overweight and needed to make money to put himself through school, became bigger than himself by being the biggest selling vendor at Celtic basketball games. Some people thought he was obnoxious, some thought he was entertaining, but one thing was clear: everyone noticed him.
And then Dave Kerpen got fired because the coach of the Celtics thought he was distracting people from watching the ball game. So he moved on, went to work honing his marketing skills at Disney, and eventually was able to strike out on his own as a marketing consultant. You know the best salespeople have thick skin. They can take the slammed doors, the hang-ups, the "absolutely not – now get out of here before I call the police" rejections. Dave was like that before he even tried to sell beer and popcorn at sporting venues. He admits to having the kind of personality that you either get or you don't. Love him or hate him, he is memorable.
All this practice getting rejected must helped him when he made it onto Fox's summer reality show, Paradise Hotel. Dave was not the best looking candidate, at least not compared to the bicep-flexing, model type men who were on already on the show to begin with. But he is definitely the only guest on the show who has come through looking like they have a personality and knowing that Paradise Hotel was not just a television show but a game.
He told me today that he went into Paradise prepared for the public backlash of being a reality television show contestant. He understood the public's desire to knock the hell out of anyone on TV. He did not, however, expect to be the brunt of frequent humiliation and harassment from the guests themselves.
I asked Dave about his experience in Paradise.
RealityNewsOnline: Did your background as the love him or hate him vendor help you when the originals came back and decided to attack you?
Dave: I have always had a strong personality – even before the experience as the vendor, that was just a way to make money to put myself through college and I am trying to put it behind me. I know that going on reality TV you have to expect that kind of demeaning behavior from the general public and although I did not expect it from the guests, you could have predicted they would act that way when the originals were brought back after seeing everything they saw on television.
RNO: Rumor has it that the producers encouraged them to act up. Is this true?
Dave: No, the producers did not encourage it at all. They did not expect it to get that out of hand.
RNO: Are some of the originals on testosterone or steroids? Amy? Toni?
Dave: I have no comment with regard to what drugs they may or may not have been on.
RNO: What made them behave the way they did? They were ruthless.
Dave: I think it was a case of mob mentality. None of them are mean-spirited in general, they just got caught up with the whole thing.
RNO: What did Scott do while the originals were there? We don't see much of him. He did not defend you like guest Amanda did, nor did he seem to join in the bashing.
Dave: Scott played it cool – had Scott been there when Andon confronted him, I know for a fact that Scott would have had my back and defended me. He would have stood up for me.
RNO: Do you think the fact that he is older had anything to do with why he stayed out of the fight?
Dave: His age yes, and he is more mature than some of the others.
RNO: Alex seemed to be fairly docile yet we see him getting involved in the situation by messing with your ears. Was Alex that angry at you?
Dave: I think Alex got caught up in the mob mentality thing and he wanted to humiliate me.
RNO: Was the behavior of the original guests fairly portrayed? How much of it was editing?
Dave: There were moments that were more civil than they showed and there were moments that were much, much worse that were edited to look not so bad. The Andon situation was much worse than what they actually showed. There was a definite threat there.
RNO: A physical threat?
Dave: Yes, a physical threat. But it was not edited to look that way.
RNO: Amy threatened people with death many times, but when Zack did it they told him he could not come back on the show. Why didn't they boot Amy as per their own rules?
Dave: You'll have to ask the producers that.1 2 Next-->
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