|Steve Casino displaying a John and Yoko peanut piece.|
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We chatted the other day about his pst recent TV experience. I was curious how these shows find contestants. Of course, through the magic of the Internet, we can find all sorts of unusual characters and things. Casino shakes his head a bit, chuckles, and says, “You know, just weird internet. I don’t know. I think they have people who just comb the internet, you know. “ But once the show discovered his talent, they pursued him. But it took a while. Quite a while. Actually, it took a year.
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He even once got a call for a food art show. “I guess I didn’t pass the audition. But I just do it. I won’t say no to anything. Everything’s an opportunity.”
This particular opportunity, though, took a little longer to catch on.
"This show [To Tell the Truth] called me once already a year or so ago and it didn’t work out. Then just out of the blue they said, ‘Hey, we want you on the show.’ And, of course, I thought it wouldn’t happen…. I did an audition for them and then I never heard from them again.” Well, that is until they called.
They flew him out to California for a few days. “It was lot of fun. My girlfriend went out with me. They put us up right next to Universal Studios. They paid for everything for a couple of days,” he says.
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Casino describes the filming of the show. “I got very nervous and worked up and I freaked out. Up to the point of where I went on, I thought I was going to faint. And then I walked out there.” He pauses and sighs as if he is reliving the experience. “I was fine. Once you sit there and see they are just normal people, it’s okay. You just build it up in your head that it’s this larger than life situation but it really isn’t,” he says.
The premise of the show is that three people claim to be a particular person with a peculiar talent, job, record, or whatever and a celebrity panel tries to guess the real person. I wanted to know if the imposters were good.
“Oh, yeah. I guess I was really good pretending I wasn’t an artist. I was kind of stoic.” He laughs. Later he adds, “I spend too much time in the basement working so I forget how to form words.” He chuckles. That’s not quite true, but his work is a pretty solitary activity.
What started as an office joke has become a bit of an international sensation. (See the link below to the story that introduced his art form to the city.) He never expected this crazy peanut art to take off like it has. Casino says, “Not at all! I never did it with the intention of becoming anything. It was something funny and fun to do.”
Casino finishes by observing that, “I think it’s just weird to begin with. It’s like you tell people what you do and they expect something goofy and then you show them and it’s like really realistic and stuff.” Yeah, it’s that. But it’s also unique, one of a kind artwork created for a specific audience yet appreciated and valued by everyone who sees it.
But to tell the truth, it takes a person with vision and talent to bring an idea to fruition. You can see Steve Casino on To Tell the Truth this Sunday, August 22 at 10:00 PM on ABC.