The thing about travel shows is that I love them. I love them so much. I do not know when I started loving them this much, or why, but I do and there appears to be no going back now. I especially love travel shows hosted by charming and/or curious celebrities. Conan O’Brien galavanting through foreign countries? Give it to me. Stanley Tucci exploring Italy with a captivating and almost unnerving intensity? I love it. Zac Efron learning about science around the globe and being blown away by every new fact he uncovers? Friends, I simply cannot get enough of it. This is the exact energy most of us should strive for on a daily basis. We would all be so much happier.
But not everyone would be a good host of a travel show. It takes a specific type of personality to pull it off. Or maybe specific types of personalities, considering the staggering range between Tucci and Efron. It’s something I know when I see, kind of like my whole Every Actor Is Either Batman Or A Joker position. Tracy Morgan would be a good travel show host, maybe the best one ever. George Clooney would not be a good travel show host, in part because he’s too famous and in part because he’s too handsome and talented to be relatable. But even that’s a feel thing, a subjective analysis because Prince was very famous and not relatable in any way and Prince would have been a freaking incredible travel show host. Picture Prince, like, rolling meatballs with some 94-year-old Italian woman who speaks no English at all. Do you understand what I mean now? The thing about playing this case-by-case?
I hope you do because we are about to really get into it now. Below, please find a list of celebrities I think would be good at hosting travel shows, and if you have the ability to make any of them happen, please get to work on that. I do not ask for very much.
I like that the entire internet just up and decided recently to celebrate Jack Black out of nowhere because that’s kind of the perfect way to appreciate him. Jack Black is a maniac, a chaos bomb of charm, a devious little scoundrel with mischief in his eyes who has been doing nothing but entertaining people for over two decades now. Go back to School of Rock if you want, or go even further back to the first Tenacious D album. Do that. Go listen to it right now. It’s so weird and playful and fun. This is exactly the vibe a travel show needs. Get a real good mental image of Jack Black sauntering around… oh, let’s say Key West, just charming the locals and mingling with the weirdos for an hour. It’s a good idea, which I mention both because it’s my idea and one I would like even if it weren’t. Do it. Do it as soon as possible. Get Jack Black on a plane! Let him be the co-pilot!
Amber Ruffin is so funny. Holy Toledo. She burst onto the scene as a writer and performer on Seth Meyers’ show and spun those appearances into her own show on Peacock and one has to assume her rise will continue from there. Like, perhaps, to choose an example at random, to a travel show. Amber Ruffin would be so good at hosting a travel show. She has this relentlessly upbeat delivery and spin on any subject she dives into, and sometimes she uses that as the grease to slide serious points into serious discussions about serious issues. This is a good skill for a travel show host. There’s a very thin line between informative and preachy in these situations and being playful with it all helps keep things on the correct course. I think she would be great hosting a show about the least hospitable places on the planet, which is kind of unfair to her after I just sent Jack Black to Key West, but still. It would be good!
Ben Schwartz and/or Adam Pally
This one is based entirely on their one-off appearance as guest hosts of The Late Late Show a few years ago. It was anarchy from beginning to end, just unhinged lunacy that was held together with duct tape and paper clips. It was also perfect. Maybe the best hour of late-night television I’ve ever seen, with the possible exception of Chris Gethard’s Dumpster episode, which, yes, while we’re at it, let’s toss Gethard on this list, too. Give me all your best goofball improvisers and give all of them cameras and an airplane that is gassed up and ready to go. Or just these three. In fact, let’s keep it simple to start. Definitely just these three.
I base this recommendation on two things:
- The time Anna Kendrick went on a tour of the Bronx with Desus and Mero, which was a blast, and yes, sure, let’s also toss Desus and Mero on here, too, mostly because I want to see Mero interacting with snobby French people
- The time Anna Kendrick appeared on Zac Efron’s travel show and they sat down with someone who billed himself as “a water sommelier” and she spent the whole time cracking jokes and kind of making fun of him to his face, but in a fun and good-natured way
I am correct on this.
Various McConaugheys and Goldblums and such
Matthew McConaughey should not be toying with a run for governor for a couple of reasons: One, because politics is bad and should be left to people who do not have other skills they can turn into a career; and two, because he should be hosting a travel show. Same with Jeff Goldblum. Put these dudes on a train that is steaming across the country and let them interact with every stranger they meet. Same with any other delightfully curious celebrity-type. In fact, maybe that’s just the show. A different celebrity on a train each season, maybe running through a different country. Or series of countries. Or Australia. Matthew McConaughey crisscrossing Australia on a train or maybe in an RV. This is a much better use of everyone’s time. Please, Matthew. Listen to me.
Ugggghhhh Craig Ferguson’s show was so good. You remember his show, right? The one that was on CBS after Letterman? I hope so. It was so powerfully weird and smart and fun and unlike any other late-night network show before or since. He had a robot sidekick and a snake mug and all of his interviews were just nonsense chats about whatever came up. He would be so good as the host of a travel show. I want to see him tour Japan, I think, if only because the idea of a sweet 6’2 Scot with a twinkle in his eye exploring Tokyo is a hoot. He has the perfect combination of honest interest in people and deep-rooted rascal behavior to make the whole thing both informative and very silly. This is all I ask for, really.
Nicole Byer is the best, which is an opinion I have held since I heard her on the How Did This Get Made? podcast years ago and have confirmed with her hosting duties on both Nailed It! and Wipeout. She is so funny and so fast and the right amount of playfully mean that she could host an excellent travel show. Give her a microphone and a camera and let her bang around Canada or some very exclusive luxury retreat for absurdly rich people. Send her to Ibiza. I would watch that episode right now if it existed. I would stop typing this paragraph to do it. I need to stress here that I am not joking.
The math here is simple: We take the world’s most likable man and we send him around the world. Put him in a hot air balloon and just have him land places to surprise people. Keep him out of the no-fly zones. We can’t afford to lose Paul Rudd to confusion and an ICBM. But the rest of this is a good idea. I promise.
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