by Ryan Meehan
Stuttering John Melendez, who began with The Howard Stern Show as an intern in college, landed on the air almost immediately. During his 15 seasons with Stern, Melendez gained national acclaim and recognition with his daring interview style and prominent personality. In addition to interviewing countless celebrities on the radio, Melendez was simultaneously hired as a field reporter for the nationally syndicated Howard Stern Television Show, where he worked for two seasons as an interviewer and in sketch pieces for the show’s recurrent man-on-the-street segments. He continued his television work for Stern on the highly- rated E! Television show. Aside from his notable work with Stern, Mr. Melendez’s feature credits include “Private Parts”, “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, and “Osmosis Jones”. On television, he is credited with appearances on the reality series “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me out Of Here”, “Celebrity Fear Factor”, guest starring roles in “Wings”, and “Baywatch Night”, and in the animated series, “Tripping the Rift” on the Sci-Fi channel. Last year Mr. Melendez starred in a full-length feature, National Lampoon’s “One, Two, Many”, which he wrote and produced. Now, he’s one of Jay Leno’s right hand men and finds himself as our guest this week in 5 Questions.
FOH: You were attending film school at NYU when your roommate Mitch Fatel was working as an intern for Howard. What was your reaction when you found out that you had gotten Mitch’s job without even interviewing? Were you initially skeptical about how he planned to use you on the show?
SJM: I did interview & wanted the job, so I could get air-time & do the celebrity interviews. I was a big fan of the show at the time.
FOH: Out of all of the celebrities that you interviewed during your tenure on that show, was there anyone in particular that you thought might physically attack you?
SJM: O.J., can you blame me? LOL. I didn’t expect Raquel Welch to punch me in the nose for asking her: “Are they drooping yet?”
FOH: Did you expect Howard to have the reaction that he did when he found out you were going to be working for Jay Leno? Are you and Stern currently on speaking terms?
SJM: No, I didn’t expect that reaction. In fact, when I told him at first he was happy for me. I really tried talking to him about it a year before & that is documented on the show. Robin advised me to try & set up a meeting with him through his assistant but he refused. I haven’t spoken to him in quite some time but I wish him well.
FOH: I loved “I’ll Talk My Way Out of It”. I thought it was extremely catchy and could have been a huge hit. Why do you think that you music wasn’t received as well as originally expected?
SJM: Well, I did get a good review from Rolling Stone magazine & it still is framed & hanging on my wall so I can prove it to disbelievers. LOL. It did well in Stern cities but other stations refused to play it because we were the competition. I’m proud of that album & encourage everyone to check out “Ease up”, the last cut.
FOH: In your opinion, where does the entertainment industry stand right at this moment? Is the outlook optimistic, or not so much?
SJM: It is a new world with massive competition from the internet & the thousands of cable stations. I grew up & there were only 3 stations with some local channels. Shit, I’m showing my age.
FOH: What’s next for you in the twelve months to come?
SJM: hopefully I’ll still be at Leno. LOL. Stand-up, maybe even a book. We’ll see. I have a few shows I’ve been toying around with, a reality show & an animated series.
Official Website: johnmelendez.tv
The Tonight Show: nbc.com/thetonightshow.
John on Twitter: @tonightshowjohn
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