By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
At least it's work:Exotic butterflies dance around in my stomach as I wait in the lobby of Hotel Zaza, where apparently someone has let Pier 1 puke its North African imports rack all over the place. At any moment, Kato Kaelin, professional houseguest, will appear from behind the elevator doors. I can't wait to tell Kato how, in the fifth grade, my friends and I choreographed an O.J. Simpson trial musical to the tune of "In the Still of the Night," and I'd played him. We would sip mojitos in Zaza's posh Dragonfly bar. He would hit on me; I would politely decline. As I mull over my options on how to let him down gently, the elevator doors slide open. Kato Kaelin is riding a luggage cart pushed by a bellboy.
As my dreams crash with the knowledge that Kato is the type of man who rides on luggage carts because he thinks it's hi-freaking-larious, we settle at a patio table. I marvel at Kato's tousled metrosexual haircut and ask him about his new reality court show, Eye for an Eye, airing weekdays from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. on KDAF-Channel 33. Basic premise: Judge "Extreme" Akim Anastapoulo makes a ruling, then the winner gets to exact some form of tangible revenge on the loser. Kato hosts.
"It's Judge Judy meets Jerry Springer meets Jackass," says Kato. People have been covered in syrup and feathered. Bars have been ransacked (that particular episode featured Dallas butt-rock band Strangleweed).
"It's the most wonderful feeling having people recognize me for the show and not the trial," Kaelin says. I'm about to ask him how the Juice is doing when Kato starts swaying in his chair.
"Do you want to slow dance?"
It's a joke, I think. I ask him if he's more or less of a ham when he's on television.
"I don't even eat meat."
Har, har. We chat idly about the show before suddenly Kato bounds up from his chair. He extends a clenched fist. The veins on the back of his hand raise to form the letters "T" and "V."
"How many people do you know have TV in their blood?" he says.
Eye for an Eye kind of does have cult following potential. It's got that low-production-value-but-we-know-it thing going on, and Kato's campy but lovable. Is there anything else he'd like to add?
"You're adorable. Are you married? Engaged?"
For you Kato, I'll be anything. As long as you never, ever ride another luggage cart.