Actor Jaleel White steps back into regular series television as the host of Total Blackout on Syfy in which contestants confront their fears in the dark.
Hosted by former Family Matters star Jaleel White, who’s currently a competitor on Dancing with the Stars, Total Blackout is a half-hour, extreme game show in which contestants battle each other and their fears in a series of challenges. However, all the challenges are played in complete darkness. There are no lights, no blindfolds and no-holds barred as the players face their anxieties and unexpected surprises in a series of nerve-wracking games.
Ahead of the April 25 series premiere of Total Blackout, The Deadbolt spent a few minutes with Jaleel White to find out more about hosting the new extreme game show, what Jaleel loves about reality comedy, and how White dealt with his own fears on the set of Total Blackout.
THE DEADBOLT: Did you think there was going to be such a big difference what you can’t see and what your mind sees when you touch something?
JALEEL WHITE: It was huge! I mean, really, I can’t say it enough. But I will say your imagination becomes your own worst enemy in Total Blackout. And so people always ask me how I would fare in the game. I think I would definitely be affected by the game. But I also know how television works. So that would give me an unfair advantage.
But people who don’t know how television works, they have no visual understanding of the spatial awareness of the room that they’ll be entering. It’s a freak-fest, man.
THE DEADBOLT: After doing scripted comedy most of your life, what do you like about the comedy in a show like this?
WHITE: What I do like about it is that I’ve got to think on my feet. I’ve got to think a little more like a stand-up comedian. But at the same time be respectful of what the contestants are actually going through. So I don’t want them at all to become the brunt of any cheap jokes.
But if they do something funny that we all can’t help but remember forever, then I’ve got to comment on it appropriately.
THE DEADBOLT: How do you maintain your composure with spiders and snakes around you on the show?
WHITE: It’s funny, because that was part of my screen test to become the host. They made me hold a tarantula and talk directly to a teleprompter. The damn thing was just so freaking big I just imagined in my mind it was a gerbil.