Mike Rowe Answers Your Questions

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Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring dirty job doers currently in college? How did you get your foot in the door as far as the TV career goes?

A: Finish school. Get a really weird and dirty job. Then, call me, and I'll come out and do a segment on your filthy and unusual career. Viewers will find us funny, engaging and informative. Discovery will be duly impressed, and you should have your own show by the end of the year.I'm kidding, but not completely. You're better off making your own door than sticking you foot in someone else's.

Scratch that. That was a stupid thing to say. I'm not even sure what it means. I'm tempted to say "think outside the box," but that too is a dumb and meaningless expression. Look, to my knowledge, I have never given anyone any worthwhile advice, but the best advice I ever got from a television personality came from Henry Winkler. When asked how to become a working actor, his response was, "Read." When asked to elaborate, he said, "Read everything."

I don't mean to be glib, but the real truth is, everyone I know who has had any success in this crazy business likes to think they know precisely how and why they got to where they are. Then they like to talk about it. Kind of like I am right now.

Honestly, there is no straight line from college to hosting a TV show for Discovery Channel. If I told you the path I took, you simply wouldn't believe me. And since I didn't really wind up here on purpose, my "strategy" is too random to be of any use. In fact, sharing it now would be both dangerous and irresponsible. All I can tell you is, I took Fonzie's advice.

P.S. The second best advice I ever got came from Travis McGee — "Be wary of all earnestness."

P.P.S. Watch Dirty Jobs very closely. If you still want to be in television (and I seriously doubt you will), write again, and I'll tell you about head shots, demo tapes, agents, etc. God help you.

Q: I know you like books and in addition to all the narrating/voice-over work you have done, have you done any reading for "Books on Tape"?

I've done lots and lots of manuals and instructional stuff. Pretty dry. If I survive this gig, believe me, I'm all about books on tape.

A cool, comfortable, climate-controlled studio with hot coffee, far from sewers and toilets.

It's a dream I have.

Q: Have you ever thought about doing a show at a poultry processing factory? I think it would be interesting to see you take the show to one of these factories where they bring the chickens in live and go through the whole process. I've worked in several poultry processing factories. My favorite job was working at a factory where we made frozen chicken products: chicken patties, chicken nuggets and chicken strips.

A: Good idea. In fact, I just got back from an ostrich farm outside of Vegas, where I was nearly kicked and trampled to death. Never take anything for granted around an ostrich. They're very tasty, but downright deadly.

Problem is, the network gets a little squeamish when animals start dying on camera, even chickens. Although it's very real and very, very dirty, it's also very sensitive. Personally, I'd like to do an entire show on the inner workings of a slaughterhouse and meet the people who make the chicken nuggets (whatever they are.)

But don't hold your breath.

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