Interview With Betty White And Chris Coelen About The New Season Of NBC’s “Off Their Rockers”!

Betty White's Off Their RockersWe recently had a chance to speak with the legendary seven time Emmy winning actress Betty White and executive director Chris Coelen about the new season of the hit NBC show “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”. Betty and her posse of senior pranksters are back for season two of this series on NBC on Tuesday January 8th with special guests PSY and Kim Kardashian appearing in bits with Betty in two back-to-back episodes. Joining White for comedy bits in the new season will be Psy, Howie Mandel, Nicole Richie, Kim Kardashian, Steve O, Nick Lachey, NeNe Leakes, Ed Asner and Nick Cannon.  Also appearing in entertaining skits with Betty will be “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” Adrienne Maloof, Camille Grammer and Kyle Richards, along with Bob Harper. Q: When you were working with PSY, what did you make of Gangnam Style? Betty White: Oh, he was very, very nice, and so funny. He – I don’t think he wanted to teach us the dance, but I tried to copy him anyway. Q: Can you talk about what it was like to have Ed Asner on the show, and what you did together? Betty White: Oh, it was such fun, and Ed and I stay very close. We’ve always adored each other. I don’t think we’ve ever said a nice word to each other, but we adore each other. You know that kind of a friendship. He always yells at me and I yell at him and lovingly. He did the show and when you work that closely together, you just – somehow you fall into a pattern, and it’s as though you saw each other yesterday, even if a little time has gone by. Q: Do you feel your spicy humor and sense of mischief help keep you young? Betty White: Well, I don’t know. I was an only child and my mother and dad were great and good buddies, and my dad would bring jokes home. He was a salesman, and he would bring jokes home, and he’d say, now, sweetheart, you can take that one to school, but I wouldn’t take that one to school. And so, we just – I don’t know. I always see more than one meaning to a word, so the double entendre kind of came naturally. But a double entendre is one thing, and then dirty humor is something else. I don’t like dirty jokes, but I do enjoy a double entendre. Q: What type of attitude do you recommend for longevity? Betty White: Oh, honesty. Honesty I think is – you can fool everybody else maybe that you know, but you can’t fool that camera. That camera will know when you’re faking it every time. Q: What is the best or funniest prank you’ve ever pulled? Betty White: I don’t – I’m not a real prankster. I love doing Off Their Rockers, because you know, the other people are pranking, but I will maybe kid my friends and say one thing or tell them something happened that didn’t really happen, but I straighten it out pretty fast. The trouble is you can get – you can paint yourself into a corner if you try too many pranks, you know? Q: Why don’t you reveal to the mark that they’re on a show – or why don’t we reveal it on camera? Chris Coelen: You know, because I think that we wanted to do something that was a little bit more modern and a little bit more fun, and I think that the most fun part of this show is really their reaction to having been pranked, and I feel like you know, that’s a – it’s a more modern take on it to do it in the way that we’ve done it. Q: To bring up Ed Asner again, you know, both of you have had such great, long, illustrious careers. You’re icons. You’re cultural icons. You’re this and that. Why don’t you just take a rest and why keep doing this? I mean, what keeps you – keep going? Why do you keep going? Betty White: Because why quit something you’re enjoying so much? I know I do, and it’s such fun, and who at the – who would ever expect at 91 to still get invited to do shows. I mean, that’s unheard of, so if they don’t want me to do it, don’t ask me, because if they ask me I’ll take it. Off Their RockersQ: You have a birthday coming up, so I was wondering, how do you plan on celebrating? Betty White: Well, I think NBC is taking care of that. Last year they did a Betty White’s 90th birthday party on television. We got nominated for an Emmy for it, and this year they’re doing Betty White’s second annual 90th birthday, so they’re doing another one on camera, which should be fun. Q: When you were first approached about doing this show and you know, they told you, okay, it’s Off Their Rockers. You know, these seniors with a lot of pranks, did you immediately know you wanted to do it? Did you think about it for a little while, or did you immediately say okay, this is for me? Betty White: No, I was not enthused about doing this. First of all, well not so much for the show but because my schedule just didn’t tolerate it, so I thanked them very much and said, no thank you. But they kept coming back, and it’s a – it was a show that started in Belgium, and it was the most popular comedy show in Europe for a while, and – according to Emmy, and so when they invited me to do it, I said that’s very nice, but I just can’t work it in. And they kept coming back, and of course I had the backbone of a jellyfish, so I – here I am doing it, but I’m having a good time. Q: Now that you do this show if someone did try to pull a prank on you, do you think that you might see it coming, that you might have a sort of radar to detect something like that? Betty White: I don’t think so because really all I do on the show are the wraparounds. You know, I talk about it and I enjoy the show along with the audience, but I’m not involved in the actual pranking, so I don’t think I’d get as hip to it. I think we all as we get older we tend to read people pretty well, but sometimes they can fool you. Q: You’ve had an incredible career spanning over 60 years. What changes in television or film have impressed you or surprised you the most with regard to either content or what audiences want to see? Betty White: Well, I don’t think the television has changed nearly as much as the audience has changed. When I started out, television was just starting out, and everything was that miracle on the box in the corner of the room where people were actually moving around, and over the years, as television got to be such a major part of our lives, the audience has heard every joke. They know every storyline. They know where you’re going almost before the first line is out. That’s a hard audience to surprise and a hard audience to entertain, and it gets more difficult all the time. That’s why the real movers and shakers in the television business are the writers. They have a bigger challenge every day. Q:Is there anything outstanding that you haven’t yet done that you would like to do? Betty White: Robert Redford. No, no, no, that – no, I think in – it’s been 65 years and I think in that time I’ve been the luckiest person on two feet, so I think I’ve done about as much as I can do. I’d just like to keep on doing the same thing. Q: Your workload now seems to be even more full than it was back then, 30, 40 years ago, how do you keep it up? Betty White: Well, my problem is I love what I’m doing and I love this business and I enjoy the work and I love the people that I work with. I’ve been so lucky for all those 60 years, and I just – everybody says, well, when are you going to retire? Why don’t you quit? How can you quit something that you enjoy so much? I’m blessed with good health and blessed with good energy, so I’m just – as long as they ask me, I’m thrilled to say yes. Q: Because all this resurgence of your popularity and everything else, you seem to be surrounded by a lot of young, attractive men, and the question I have is when you’re in your 40s and you’re a woman with younger men, they’re cougars. What do they call a woman in her 90s? Betty White: Well, in your 90s, my problem is all my life I’ve always wanted – I never was interested in younger men. He always had to be a little older than I, and my problem now at 90 is I can’t find anybody older than I. Off Their RockersQ: So you have no choice than to go after younger ones, now, is that it? Betty White: Yes, well, I just – I – let’s face it. I enjoy men. Q: What is it in the way you grew up that helped you develop the sense of humor that you have and the love of laughter, and your amazing sense of comic timing? Betty White: Oh, that was my mother and father. I was an only child, and the – we had the best time together. My dad was a salesman, so he would bring jokes home, but also he’d ask me how things went at school, and I would start telling him, and pretty soon we’d begin to make jokes about it, and it was a love of laughter at home that just was a precious commodity to have with your folks, and we really – Sunday morning breakfast was – it would last two hours sometimes when we all giggled and laughed and talked. Q: And your sense of comic timing – I mean, you can do a deadpan face, and deliver a line better than anybody. Betty White: Oh, well, that’s a tremendous compliment. I don’t have to believe it, but it’s so good to hear. Well it’s just – I think it’s – humor is like music. It’s a rhythm, and you just kind of get the rhythm of it, and you have to know not to let the beat go too long, but to leave a beat in there for it to gel, you know. It’s hard to explain. Q: You’re such an icon, and I was wondering, could you elaborate a little bit on how you think you have achieved the notoriety that you have, and what advice you can give for other women that are starting in the business?

Betty White: Well, bless your heart, I hope it’s fame, not notoriety, but it’s – I’ve been so lucky. I just can’t tell you how lucky to get to this age. Who would ever dream that you’d get to be 91 years old and you’re still working as much as I am? But I think it’s because I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I love this business, and I’ll quit when they ask me to, but as long as they keep asking me to work, I’ll keep saying yes, and it is such a privilege. I think women have come a long way over the years in being you know, coming into their own and roles that they get and in – well, in the whole business, and women executives and all that, but it still is a – it’s a very lovely position to be in to be taken seriously as well as laughed at.

Be sure to tune into NBC on January 8th beginning at 8pm for two brand-new episodes of “Off Their Rockers!