David Hasselhoff: Solving The Mystery Behind His Magnetism

David Hasselhoff is the subject of a Comedy Central roast on Sunday, August 15

David Hasselhoff is the subject of a Comedy Central roast on Sunday, August 15

With his Comedy Central roast airing Sunday, August 15, and a reality series in the works for A&E, it’s an appropriate time to ask: Why on earth are we so intrigued by David Hasselhoff?

Is it admiration for all he’s achieved in the television business? Well, maybe. He was the star of two well-known series, the original ‘Knight Rider’ and ‘Baywatch,’ parlaying an investment in the latter into a personal fortune estimated to be worth $100 million. You read that right: David Hasselhoff has made $100 million from ‘Baywatch.’ I came across this factoid the other day and filed it immediately under: Stuff I Didn’t Know About David Hasselhoff.

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Or, is “The Hoff” merely a camp figure who we love to make fun of? After all, Knight Rider’ in retrospect was a silly kiddie show about a talking car. And ‘Baywatch’? This show may have (OK, did) made a pile of money for The Hoff, but do you know anyone who ever actually watched it?

Then there was the most mortifying incident of all – even more embarrassing than his success as a pop singer in exactly one country, Germany. We’re talking about the notorious home video his 17-year-old daughter Taylor shot in 2007 showing him shirtless and apparently intoxicated on a bathroom floor struggling to eat a hamburger – footage she shot in an attempt to force him to get help for an apparent alcohol problem. Witness the sadness here:

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The video was evidently much on the minds of the comedians and stars who convened in Los Angeles earlier this month to roast The Hoff for this Sunday’s 90-minute Comedy Central special (airing at 10/9c). His alleged drunkenness is the basis for a number of the jokes that were fired at him by comedians and Roast veterans Jeffrey Ross, Lisa Lampanelli and Greg Giraldo; roastmaster Seth MacFarlane; Hoff pals Hulk Hogan and Pamela Anderson; and others.

“The Hoff once blew into a Breathalyzer, and the Breathalyzer said, ‘Whoa, whoa! One at a time, people,” goes one line delivered by Ross.

Addressing the honoree directly, MacFarlane said, “You’ve gone from ‘Baywatch’ to deathwatch!”

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Giraldo told a crude joke about Hasselhoff’s liver whose punch line was a reference to the late Gary Coleman (a tasteless reference too, but that’s the trademark of these Comedy Central roasts). Said Giraldo, “Hasselhoff…  Your liver is so shriveled, black and dead, if you put your ear to your side, you can hear it say, ‘Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis!'”

Lampanelli focuses on Hasselhoff’s career, including his stint on ‘America’s Got Talent.’ “David Hasselfhoff’s career has become such a huge disaster, I just saw an oily pelican fly out of his a–!” she said. “And you quit that cushy gig as a judge on ‘America’s Got Talent.’ What’s wrong with you, man? That was the worst career move since Mel Gibson bought his girlfriend that tape recorder!” (These brief excerpts can be seen on Comedy Central’s web site.)

A few other things you might not know about The Hoff: Besides his A&E reality show (which isn’t yet titled, though it will likely bow in December), he’s had a few others. One was an E! series produced by Ryan Seacrest that never got off the ground – ‘Tales from the Hoff.’ Another was a two-part special called ‘The Hoff: When Scott Came to Stay’; produced for British television, it sent UK radio personality Scott Mills to live with Hasselhoff for four days in Cali.

The Hoff has even been the subject of a stage show, ‘David Hasselhoff: The Musical,’ which was produced in Australia in 2006.

Campy musicals, reality shows, talking cars, “Baywatch” babes…. They’re all a part of the amazing tales of Hoff. But the question remains: Why? Why all the attention for this guy? TV producers and networks seem to never grow tired of him. What exactly is his appeal? Would someone please help us on this?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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