Love to Interrupt
The DiGeorge Files
A more-than-intentional homage to
"Pardon the Interruption" among others, We Love to Interrupt
is an original, raw, frank, red-blooded, two-fisted,
full-bodied look into the world of game shows through the eyes
of two discerning fans with high standards and short fuses.
Comments are always welcomed
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July 30, 2004
Mmmmm... Tastes like a saltlick. Welcome back to the
show. Gordon has a treat for you... A big one.. or a
tall one ... or something.
Gordon: We have a treat for everyone. This edition
of 20 Questions features Steve Altes from Extreme
Dodgeball. Steve is on the CPA's who are playing in the
finals against the Barbell Mafia. I was fortunate enough
to have a chance to speak with him. Steve talks about
the show, his teammates, and his own life as we get an
insight of a very well-traveled man.
1) How did you get involved in Extreme Dodgeball? How
much experience have you had dodging the little red
In April, the Game Show Network held auditions in
Hollywood for players from various categories (sumo
wrestlers, horse jockeys, security guards, CPAs, etc).
In one of my various careers, I worked as a program
controller for a space launch vehicle program. That was
close enough to accounting that they let me try out for
the CPA team. Thousands of people auditioned, but in the
end only 40 were picked (five players for eight teams).
I hadn't played dodgeball since 4th grade, back when
dinosaurs still roamed the earth.
2) What inspired you more to be on the show - the
competitive spirit, or the $10,000 first place paycheck?
Believe it or not, I would have played just as hard
for no money. There was something about the arena
set-up, the thundering music, the smoke machines, the
uniforms, the cheering crowds, and the team camaraderie
that just put me in a crazy competitive mindset. In my
head, I was playing as if my life depended on it. Like
the losing team would be executed, much like the way
Iraq's soccer team was motivated in the bad old days.
3) What prep work or practicing did you do to prepare
yourself for this show, if any?
I cut back from six sloe gin fizzes a day to four. I
didn't have much time to do anything really. From the
day we were cast to the day we started shooting was only
a few days. Mostly my preparation before each game
consisted of praying that I didn't take a 55 mph heater
to the gonads.
4) I noticed that there is an actual L.A. Dodgeball
that is indeed run by Tobias McKinney and Michael
Costanza. How many of the people on your team and on the
TV show are a part of it? On that note, how many of the
people on the show took it seriously and who didn't? Any
Tobias and Michael play there, but so do a lot of
people on the other teams. David "Swamp Donkey"
Benedetto ("Armed Response") plays. Some of the "Ink
Inc" guys. I don't know the exact details because I've
never been to the LA Dodgeball Society games.
5) Are you and your teammates good friends off the
court? How often do you guys get together for drinks,
Of all the teammates, I am closest to Tobias
"Skinny" McKinney. He cracks me up. And he comes in
handy if you drop your car keys down the storm drain. At
6'5" and 100 pounds, you can hold him by the ankles,
lower him in, and he can retrieve them.
6) One of the things that sets you guys apart, I think,
is the fact that both of the women on your team come up
huge. How did you get them, and were you surprised that
they could actually play that well?
Our women kick ass! Mandy Sommers's catches are
super-human. She could catch a cannon ball. She's
fearless. "Flypaper" is a good nickname for her. Did you
see that shot Gretchen Weiss caught the other day?
Point-blank range, a monster shot right at her solar
plexus, and she was picking up another ball at the same
time. She caught the missile without dropping the other
ball. They really were our secret weapon.
7) It seemed like you were getting better as a team as
the season grew on. What things did you learn when you
got to see the other teams play?
We did get better. And we tried to vary our game
play. Some games you come out like gang-busters trying
to decimate your opponent. Other times you play more
controlled, a waiting game, letting the other guy make
the mistake. You can win the game on offense (hitting
people, hitting the regen target) or defense (catching
balls, letting them make foot faults).
Strength isn't important in dodgeball. Michael
Costanza said that, "If you're a bad dancer that
correlates to being a good dodgeball player. It helps to
flail and leap around. We've actually tested the
hypothesis by just dancing
for a game. You can stay in for pretty much the whole
time if your dancing is really bad."
8) Did you ever get to meet the announcers Bill Dwyer,
Zach Selwyn, and Jerri Manthey? If so, what're they
Sure we met them. Bill and Zach were very very
funny. It's the funniest color commentary I've ever
seen. Jerri Manthey's finest moment was when
Tobias McKinney scooped her up and spanked her ass after
we beat the Sumos in the play-offs.
9) Okay, according to your website (www.stevealtes.com),
you've been an actor and a model as well as an aerospace
engineer (and probably a little CPA on the side). Which
is harder for you personally - acting, engineering, or
dodging little red balls?
True, I was an engineer, but not a very good one.
I'm probably the only rocket scientist in the country
whose VCR is still flashing "12:00." As a former rocket
scientist turned actor and model, I'm someone who traded
the frustration and anxiety of corporate life for the
uncertainty and degradation of show business.
The thing is, when a rocket scientist makes a mistake,
it blows up on the evening news. Again and again, in
video tape replay. And since aerospace failures become
national spectacles, the profession tends to reward
people who don't like to take chances. It took me a
decade to realize that this risk-averse culture didn't
suit me. On the other hand, acting is all about taking
chances. If you don't go out on a limb in an audition,
you don't distinguish yourself from the 50 other people
reading for the same part. Basically, I realized that
engineering is a no-nonsense profession. And I'm all
As for dodging little red balls, clearly that isn't my
forte either. I am,
unquestionably, the least valuable player on the
Certified Public Assassins.
10) Aside from ALL of this (and we do mean all of it,
because it seems you've lived quite a life here), you
were also a writer. Any works that stick out in your
Well there is my "Little Book of Bad Business
Advice" (St. Martin's Press, 1997). It may be the best
book of bad business advice ever written. One
reviewer noted that it reminded him of Shakespeare, "in
the sense that both Altes and the bard arranged letters
to form words and thus create sentences." There is also
a sequel, "If You Jam the Copier, Bolt" (Andrews McMeel,
2001). Buying this book is guaranteed to make you more
attractive to the opposite sex and make you live longer.
In addition, the pages of this book, when burned,
provide a clean, inexhaustible source of energy.
I have a piece coming out in September 2004 in the humor
anthology "May Contain Nuts: A Very Loose Canon of
American Humor" (HarperCollins). If you want to laugh
till the milk snorts out of your nose, buy that book. My
humor essays have appeared in places like Salon, The
L.A. Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The
Washington Post, P.O.V., and Capital Style. My work has
not appeared in Modern Bride, Inside Kung Fu, Barely
Legal and loads of places when you come to think about
11) If by winning first place, you were able to ask
anyone out on the Extreme Dodgeball staff (on any team
or an announcer), who would it be and why?
I would ask the mimes out. All five of them, in
complete mime regalia. Then I'd walk through the New
York City subway at night, singing "Warriors, come out
12) If you could pick up a 6th person on your team for
the next season, and you could select anyone from any
team, who would you add?
Probably Kel Watrin, the guy from Curves of Steel.
He has the fastest throwing arm in the league.
13) If you had your choice to put your team up against
any 5 people - just so that you'd have the opportunity
to pelt them with balls, what 5 people would you like to
That's easy. I'd pelt my own personal rogue's
gallery of Scott Peterson, O.J. Simpson, Omarosa
Manigault-Stallworth, Osama bin Laden, and that guy who
pulled the puppy dog out of the car and threw it into
14) Besides Extreme Dodgeball, what's your favorite game
show/reality show and why?
I liked that show, Pepsi's Play for a Billion, where
the monkey draws a number and if you match it you win
one billion dollars. I think that perfectly encapsulates
the insanity of modern culture. Win a pile of money
bigger than the GNP of several nations if you have a
meeting of the minds with a primate. Perfect! The only
way to make that better is to have the monkey pick his
number by flinging his dung at a numbers board.
15) Who's your favorite game show host?
I like Mark Walberg. Not the Marky Mark guy. The
"Russian Roulette" guy. I've met him a few times and
he's a really nice guy.
16) If you could see one show from the days of old make
a return, what would it be and why?
I'd like to see Concentration come back. I bet some
genius guy like Ken Jennings of Jeopardy would come
along with a photographic memory and just annihilate his
17) Say you were to add the mantle of game show host to
your already pretty much staggering resume, which show
could you see yourself manning?
I actually did audition once to host a game show
called "It's Academic." It's sort of like Jeopardy for
high school students. The whole experience was pretty
ridiculous. The students knew I was auditioning so they
decided to haze me a little. I was supposed to banter
with each contestant for a moment. And it ending up
going something like this:
"Welcome to It's Academic. Let's meet today's
contestants. So Johnny, how did you spend your summer
"I had a demon exorcised from my body."
"Super. I'm glad that worked out for ya. Peter, how
"Let's see: I hacked into the Los Alamos computer system
and I lost my virginity in the backseat of a '93 Ford
"That's swell, Peter. Julie, do you have anything you'd
like to share?"
"Yeah. You stink. I like the other host better."
"Excellent. Let's begin the game, shall we?"
Damn wise-ass kids.
18) Congratulations on your show coming back for a
second season. If they ask you to go back into the arena
for another season, would you do it?
I'd do it faster than Dante Alighieri ("Sumo Storm")
can devour a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
19) As you may or may not know, the Game Show Congress
will be in Los Angeles during the weekend of August
13-15. What dodgeball events would they be able to view
or participate in during that time?
The girls from Curves of Steel will be having a
kissing booth there. No, actually I have no idea. I'm
out of the loop on that one.
20) Any thoughts on the people who want to ban dodgeball
Ban dodgeball? Why you might as well ban apple pie
and mother's day! America is getting softer than
microwaved butter! I know what those NPR-listening,
Birkenstocks-wearing, frappuccino-guzzling parents want.
They want their Joshuas and their Olivias to grow up in
a cozy womb of non-competition, where everybody shares
their tofu and the three little pigs and the big, bad
wolf set up a commune. Then their kids will be shoved
out into the real world and discover that there's
weak and strong and winning and losing. You'll recognize
those kids. They'll be the ones steaming your chai. It's
a very noncompetitive pursuit.
21) Anything else you'd like to say that we may have
Yes. Have you ever thought that maybe we don't have
a set number of years to live? Instead our lives tick
away by odd markers. Like the number of times you change
the battery in your smoke detector. Maybe you're
destined to only hear the song "Tin Man" by America
sixty times in your whole life. The 60th time, you die!
Maybe you just heard it an hour ago for the 37th time.
You just moved closer to death without even realizing
Gordon: Thanks again, Steve for the fascinating and
Chico: Continued success with the CPA. Extreme
Dodgeball, Tuesdays 10pm on GSN. Look out for the second
season coming soon.
Gordon: When we come back, we strand people, places
and things on the island - Australian Style.
to you by Extreme Action Star Dodgeball. Wannabe actors
try to avoid balls being chucked at them by
weightlifters and Jerri Manthey ands Zach Selwyn. It's
fun fun fun for all!)
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June 28 - 20?: Aldo V.; Take A Side
July 4 - Ask Dr. Lee, We the Jury