Some people stand in the darkness, afraid to come into the light. David Hasselhoff is not one of those people. The former Baywatch and Knight Rider star has been running shirtless and in slow motion across our TV screens for decades. Now, after being revealed as an alcoholic by an infamous 2007 YouTube video of him lying on the floor, drunkenly eating a cheeseburger, the 58-year-old Hoff is ready to laugh at himself. He spoke to The Globe and Mail in the lead up to the Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff, which appears on the Comedy Network on Aug. 28.
Roasts can be pretty savage. Why did you want to do it?
I've been a fan of celebrity roasts for many years. And it was also a template for me to address what's been written about me, which I've never really spoken about. I wanted to address it with humour. It's about letting things go and laughing at yourself and taking your life one day at a time.
Did you talk to anyone about doing it before agreeing?
I spoke to my kids and they said, "Dad, let's go for it." We did, and we had a blast, because no one laughs at the Hasselhoffs more than the Hasselhoffs.
Was anything off limits?
My girls and my mother, because my mother just passed away. I said, "You can't do that [make fun of his mother]because my father will kill you and kill me." My girls said bring it on, they don't care. So Whitney Cummings took a shot at them.
Who laid in to you the most?
They all did. My favourite line was, "You're like Hitler, only Hitler knew when his career was washed up." I thought that was great. I couldn't stop laughing.
Did Pamela Anderson fire any good zingers at you?
She was so cute in this roast. She goes, "When I did Baywatch, David came up to me and I said, 'I'm really scared, I can't swim.' And David said to me, 'That's okay, I can't act.'" It's strangely therapeutic. It's like bringing the elephant out of the room, shooting it and saying, "Let's move on." I ended up walking away with a big smile on my face.
Did the cheeseburger video come up?
We had to bring it up. Everybody was referring to alcohol and cheeseburgers. They put the video up and everybody got drunk and ate cheeseburgers but me. I was like, "Well isn't this funny."
I hear there's a Baywatch movie in the works. Are you involved with it?
Are you looking forward to seeing it?
I'm looking forward to the paycheque. I think it's a spoof. If Will Ferrell plays me then, sure, I'll go see it. I'm just sitting back and quietly saying, "Go ahead, do whatever you want. Just send me the royalties."
You and your two daughters, who are both singers, are going to be in a reality show. Why did you want to do a reality show about your family?
It's a reality show that's going to be on A&E based on what it's like being the daughters of David Hasselhoff living in the public eye and the pursuit of their music career. I wanted to do it to help my kids.
What's next for the Hoff?
Next for the Hoff is taking a meeting about my girls, trying to find them a good music manager. And I'm packing for a trip to Germany. Right now it's just staying healthy and working on my music. Everything is great.
This interview has been condensed and edited.