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Interview: Sinbad from ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’

Interview: Sinbad from ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’


We had the pleasure of talking with Sinbad from this year’s Celebrity Apprentice about working with Donald Trump and the other celebs, who he thinks is going to come out on top, and where he’s going next.

So I’m wondering – you know obviously, no one likes to go home. No one likes to be told that they’re fired, but does it sting less knowing that your team did fairly well with US Project Manager.

Sinbad: You know what, we did well. The thing is I know they have to edit the way they do. I think because when they know you lost, they take whatever the comments are, but I think we did really well. I know the way I work, because I’m more of a – I walk in a room, I’m walking the spot, and I look at it and then I kind of make my thoughts to myself or I say them out loud, and they might have been a little bit confused. But I saw what we were going to do, and I know a lot of it was just going to – some things weren’t going to be able to happen until the next day because we were waiting for equipment. So, I wish they could’ve seen on the show that – all the things that we did do that first day.

Can you tell us a little bit about the charity that you were playing for?

Sinbad: Omega Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco/Oakland. And also, the,, which is another group. But, they’re all in this same group — Dr. Joe Marshall, man, he’s something else. They get kids off the street. They keep kids from being in the streets. They send kids to college. They try to stop violence. They have a radio show where kids were calling in.

And when I first heard about them, they blew my mind – what they were doing. And, it’s just a wonderful organization. It’s a very unique – as a matter of fact, he’s become a pioneer. They send him around the world to talk about stopping violence. How do you stop violence among these young people?

What was the experience of being on the show? Was it kind of what you expected, or were you surprised at anything?

Sinbad: Well, you know you never know what to expect. I didn’t have any expectations. I just know – you know as a reality show, I think it’s one of the best run reality shows. It just – you know, I had fun with it. It was a lot more work than I thought. It’s a lot of work. But it’s fun because you know; you’re with some cool cats, so it was okay.

And how much do you think personality plays in doing well on the show? I mean outside of the task at hand, do you think also just different people’s personalities might play in how well they do?

Sinbad: I think personality is probably about 80 to 90% of the show, with who you are and how you work with people, and just – I mean, because celebrities you know have very distinct personalities, and it works for what we do. And everybody there is successful in doing what they do, but sometimes being a celebrity, you can clash with other celebrities. Because you know, you kind of play in your own little world.

Like, you’re finding out – I think with Cyndi Lauper and the girls, you know, a lot of women are having problems with Cyndi Lauper. But you know, I like Cyndi, and how she is and what she does works with how she writes her songs.

Now you know, I watched last night and it was interesting. And, I thought you did a really good job. Save for the fact that you didn’t have someone manning the actual merchandise for Kodak and explaining it the way Summer did, I think that you would’ve won. I mean, do you agree?

Sinbad: Oh, yes. We made – the biggest mistake we made – and see, the thing about the girls that was smart. Summer took it upon herself to do that. In our group, I don’t think anybody wanted to man the equipment. Listen to this. The only one – I said I like cameras and technology, but I couldn’t do that and man the – I couldn’t do what I was doing and man the equipment. Or maybe I should’ve done it. But we couldn’t find a person to man the equipment.

Yet Bret Michaels walked around all lost, like a lost little soul not –

Sinbad: You know why? He wanted to do posters and be – that’s funny. Everybody goes, “I’ll do anything you want me to do,” but no one looked around – I mean you wouldn’t know it – Michael Johnson’s good at it, Curtis Stone was good at it, Goldberg’s good at it, Darryl Strawberry; everybody – I mean there’s no project manager. You’ll see it in the next shows. No one tells a person you do this, you do this, you do this, you do this. Everybody kind of finds out what’s needed and jumps in because we’re all grown people. And it’s not really a job, so you just do it.

Bret just wanted to be told what to do. And at the time he was asking, we didn’t even know what we were going to do yet.

How did you feel about Rob Blagojevich with his call to his attorney when he was slinging those F-bombs, which he was accused of back when he was in the scandal, when he was ousted from his political office? How did you feel about that?

Sinbad: I think he forgot he was on – you know, he was on mic. Because he pulled away and went to the front of the room, but how – and he forgot he was still being miced, which is easy to do. I mean, when you’re doing these shows, you actually forget that everything you’re doing – or you think it won’t be used.

Who was the most formidable female contestant do you think?

Sinbad: That’s going to be Holly Robinson.

I want to know how intense is that Board Room, because I’m sure you kind of imagined it before actually going in, but is it as intense as it looks? Is Donald Trump as intimidating across that table?

Sinbad: No. It’s not really intimidating because it’s not really my job. You know. And the only thing that had me going is, you know, you want to stay for your charity. You really want to make this work for your charity. But, he’s not the one that’s intense. What’s intense is you’re hoping that – you don’t know which one of your guys is going to throw you, so that’s what gets you, man. Who’s going to give me up?

At the end you were saying that, if you really want to win this game you got to be a little cutthroat. You got to throw someone under the bus. Because, it seems like every time that someone says something about someone else, that’s the way that Donald Trump goes, you know.

Sinbad: Yes. But, he wants to know what – he wants – Donald wants the – he wants the people throwing. That’s what he lives for. You throwing each other underneath the bus. And, he’s going to make you – he’s going to keep searching until you find somebody.

What do you think was the most surprising thing about being on the show? I mean, you mentioned a lot of work and stuff like that, but anything else that kind of took you for a loop?

Sinbad: Yes. You know what the thing that really was amazing for the show was how fast that they would go, and really how much you could get done in that timeframe. Yes, how fast – I mean how much you could get done. And really, actually, how well you could work with a group of people you just met.

And, I liked how you kind of kept the comedy flowing. I know under a lot of stress people need a laugh once in a while, so did you find yourself kind of trying to calm the guys down with a little bit of laughter?

Sinbad: Well you know, that’s not so much comedy, that’s just going to be my personality, especially – you know, I mean hard work is hard work, but no one says hard work – I think guys might have gotten my personality – you’re not being flippant. You know, like Michael Johnson said, “Man, he would talk to the guy on the phone, and then he’d crack a joke.” I said the printer messed up. Why you jumping down his throat? If I’m trying to get something from a guy and I need it, why would I go off on him? I figured if I’m – I’m more light with a person, I can get more done.

How do think it would’ve turned out different if you did give Bret Michaels a specific task?

Sinbad: Well, we did. They just never showed it. Nobody that edited – I gave him something to do. And then he wanted me to over-explain how to do it. But we were all – we were in the middle of doing stuff. I said, “Dude, just do it.” He wanted – “I need to know to do it.”

If you’d noticed the first – you see this is going to happen. You’re going to see in the shows to come. If you noticed that – and we were in the restaurant. That was – we got lucked out because we had Curtis Stone. And Bret really didn’t have to do anything, you know. And so, no one really knew what we could do until this task, and you know, I think you’ll find in future episodes, Bret’s always going to be like this.

And when I gave him something to do, he might do a little piece of it, but I still don’t know what happened that day, because I didn’t even know he was in the basement. Something had happened and he just kind of went off, so I don’t know what happened that day.

What was the specific task you gave him that we didn’t see?

Sinbad: There was some stuff to do with some of the graphics. But then again what you didn’t see was all the equipment that he had for his event. I had – he called his guys up. Bret was busy most of the time. He had a set up almost like a rock concert, so he spent a lot of his time setting his gear up.

So, you and Carol Leifer were the first two to go and you’re both comedians. What do you make of that?

Sinbad: You know what, I don’t know if it’s just coincidence, but we could’ve – if Cyndi Lauper had’ve gone, then it’d been a rock star that had gone. So you know, I just – I don’t think it means much whether a comedian goes first or last. I think – well, Carol – see, they messed up on Carol. Carol’s a smart person. Carol’s real smart.

Now from way back on Star Search to your time on Celebrity Apprentice, and everything in between, how do you look at what you’ve achieved as a celebrity?

Sinbad: Well you know man, I’m – first of all, as a kid from Benton Harbor, Michigan, who just had a dream of making this work and to become one of the best at what I do; you know, sometimes it blows my mind that I got here. Then I also look at there’s so much more. There’s so much more that I want to do, so I don’t really stand and look at what I’ve done so much, as there’s so much more I want to do. So, I’m not done yet.

Maybe this was blown out of proportion on this show, but what was with the Governor and the balloons?

Sinbad: Man, you know all this – okay, we’re talking about giving people a task to do. Well, once he decided he was going to do balloons, that’s all he kept talking about, like it was a big thing. I’m like, “Dude, just get the balloons.” Okay, whether you noticed or not, we had balloons even in the diner.

What we did, we just called the balloon guy and the guy brought them. There’s no big thing. He just made this thing about the balloons – about the balloons. The balloons were cool, but it was like – I guess he wanted to make sure we knew that he got these balloons.

Well, what was your story behind getting cast for the show?

Sinbad: They – I got a call from my agent that said Mark Barnett’s people wanted to talk to me about Celebrity Apprentice. And at the time I didn’t know. I said, “Man, I don’t know. You could look – you can get to looking pretty bad on this show if you don’t do it right.” But the charity side of it was so strong. I mean, it’s a good amount of money for a charity. And I said, “Well, you know what. If I go in and just be myself, I’ll never have to be ashamed of what I did.”

So, did you watch any of the past seasons or whatever for inspiration, and kind of figure out what you were going to do?

Sinbad: There’s no way. You know what. You can think you’re going to figure it out. I found that the only thing – there’s no secrets other than – well one secret is, if you can, manage it for as long as possible. That’s why Rod Blagojevich threw it down to me. He didn’t want that – he didn’t want to take that task.

He gave that whole deal about you being better with technology and phones. Do you think that was really it or do you think he was just kind of pushing himself aside for later?

Sinbad: He pushed himself aside. Because think about it, Bret Michaels – even though he just let – he let Curtis do his thing. All he had to do was say, “Well, Sinbad help me with this.” He wanted to stay out of the firing range. Which was pretty smart. He said, “I’m going to stay out of the firing range.”

What’s next for you moving forward?

Sinbad: Right now, we’re working on actually putting this – well, I’m on the road doing shows. We’re going to put this other tour together, including some music and comedy. It’s going to be healing the world through comedy and music. Looking forward to – I’ve been trying to put the finishing touches on a couple of movies, and looking for some TV projects. Even if it’s not one to star in yet, just to do some more – you know, walk onto some show. I like dramas as well as comedies.

Who are you pulling for now that you’re off the show?

Sinbad: Oh, Holly Robinson.

What was it like working with such a diverse group of people on the Celebrity Apprentice?

Sinbad: You know, it was fun – I wish I could’ve stayed longer with some of the people, man. Because, it was a good – it was a fun group of people to work with. I mean, I think this year is a very strong year.

Who’s the most interesting person you worked with?

Sinbad: You know what. On the guys’ side, you know, it was sort of getting to know – because I didn’t know Curtis Stone – it was fun to get – you know, Curtis and Goldberg. You know, Strawberry I knew. Man, he’s cool, but we already knew he was cool. It was fun getting to know Goldberg.

And on the women’s side, you know, Holly I knew here, and I don’t think these women know how strong Holly is. And it was – but I liked Cyndi Lauper. It was fun getting to know the person Cyndi Lauper.

In your closing words, you said you regretted not throwing anyone under the bus. What exactly would you have done differently in the Board Room?

Sinbad: Actually, a lot of that – I was just playing when I said that. You know, in the Board Room – a lot of the Board Room scene when I was talking was cut out. You know, I made my statements. I said what I had to say, but a lot of it was taken out.

But, I said one thing I wouldn’t do – I wasn’t going to beg to stay. I made a choice when I first came on that show, I’m not going to beg to stay and then still get fired. Because Donald already has kind of made up in his mind what he’s going to do, and he likes to push the conversation the way he wants to push it, like he did with the girls when they got – when he got the girls to throw Carol Leifer under the bus.

But you know, at the second week, you don’t dislike anybody enough, you know, to do that.

So, did you form any real close bonds with people in just that short amount of time?

Sinbad: You do, because you know actually, the guys are good guys. That’s a good group of guys. Each one – I mean, they might have their own quirks – like Bret Michaels he’s probably got to be the most quirked of all the cast, but he’s still a good guy.

From the show, it looked like Bret Michaels was one of the main reasons you got fired by not being able to manage him…

Sinbad: Yes, but that was a – I think on the edit – remember for reality shows they find a way and they go with it. Because when they had him talking to me – I was speaking to him, he wasn’t even talking to me those moments. They just cut back and forth. Because there was no time I totally dissed him. I talked to him every time he asked me what to do; he just didn’t do it.

You mentioned a little bit about Donald, but do you think there was something that you could’ve said – I mean in your exit interview, you said that it should’ve been Bret or Rod that went. Do you think there was something you could’ve said without throwing them under the bus that could’ve changed the outcome?

Sinbad: Well you know what. A lot of the things I said were just edited out. You know, everybody’s saying “Why should you stay?” I think what happens – and you know what, maybe – I think it was edited after the person’s fired, so I think they edit it down to be more geared that way. But, there’s – you know what. I said what I had to say. I said you know, I’m a strong player. I said Bret Michaels is a cool cat, but he just – you know, he just wandered off and should’ve got fired.

But you know, I didn’t have – but to be honest with you, I didn’t have enough – man, I didn’t have enough – like the women went at it. I didn’t have enough anger at anybody to throw them – to kill – to go kill them, you know. It was too early in the show to go kill somebody.

I know the show is still filming, so there’s no big ending yet. What advice do you have for the contestants that are still in the game?

Sinbad: Well you know what the key was? Avoid being project manager for as long as you can. Because you know what, you are under the microscope as the project manager. And so if you can avoid that and just be – that’s why everybody started saying, “Oh, what do you want me to do?” You see, they know they’re on tape. “Oh, I need something to do,” so that way they’re going to – “Oh, I tried to do things, and no one gave me anything to do.”

But, the key is if you can put off being project manager. And then if you’re project manager, there’s not many secrets. You know, a lot of it’s the luck of the draw. It’s the project you get. Do you have people with strength? Do you have people that can do certain things? Like in the first week, we were very fortunate we did the restaurant. We had Curtis. So you know, this was our first real task that was just a blank canvas, and let’s see what everybody can do.

So, you’re saying the big key word is avoidance?

Sinbad: Avoidance. Avoid that – you see, once you become project manager man, you got a chance of getting your head slapped. Like, “Off with his head!”

Well, the show is certainly filled with a lot of big and strong personalities, including yourself. And, I was wondering how you feel you stacked up to those personalities.

Sinbad: Oh, man. I don’t ever have to worry about being overpowered. And I think sometimes – and as comedians, sometimes we’re taken as, “Man, where’s he coming from?”, because I don’t trip on – I don’t sweat the small stuff, you know. At the main – at the end of the day, say you end up getting fired. If I didn’t have any fun doing it, then I wasted my time. So even if I get fired and I enjoyed myself, and I worked as hard as I could work, I’m okay with it.

Well, I know you’ve talked about Holly Robinson and Cyndi, and some of the personalities, but could you predict a winner?

Sinbad: I know this much. If they mess around and let Holly get toward the end, she’s going to be hard to beat. If they mess around and let her get toward the end, she’s going to be hard to beat. I don’t think the women see that yet. See, I don’t know what the next episodes are, but I don’t know if the women have picked up yet – see – I mean, you got all these strong you know, personalities on the women’s side. Well men too, but you saw these strong personalities on the women’s side. I think – everybody’s focusing in on Sharon Osbourne and Cyndi Lauper, but if you’re watching, you know Holly is making most all – making all that stuff run for them.

Even if they get mad at her, she’s making that stuff run.

Just got play it politically, right?

Sinbad: Well, no you – sometimes you can’t be political. Because when it comes to a show like this – remember, this is the only show – say if you’re on a basketball team, we’re all trying to win the championship. This is the only show — we’re trying to win a championship, but I’m still going to get rid of you. It’s like – there is – when they say there’s no I in team – oh, yes there is on this team.

Now, would you consider – I know you said you wanted to walk on some dramas and comedies, how about another reality show, like Dancing with the Stars?

Sinbad: Oh, that would never happen. With my knees, it’d be called Falling with the Stars. I want to do Dancing with Cripple Stars. Stars who have injuries.

Sinbad: Oh, yes. But, it’s just hard not to.

Now, so have you already picked a front runner? The people who you think that – you know, from the first day on you thought, “Hmm. These are the people that are going to be you know, top two – top three.” I mean, were they – even if you might know, where it’s just some that you thought that might be the ones who end up on top or close to the top?

Sinbad: When I got there and I walked into the room and I saw my friend Holly Robinson, I said, “Okay, there it is. Right there.” Holly organizes – she’s just a fund raiser, a wonderful organizer, a very smart, smart person. I said, “Uh-oh. There it is.” She was just – she was right on top of all of them. It’s not joke man. She ain’t no joke, baby.

On the guys’ side – you know, first Darryl – Darryl’s such a popular person in New York, man. And Darryl plays it close to – Darryl’s just enjoying himself, too. Darryl ain’t out there acting a fool and worried about stuff. You know and Michael Johnson’s very smart. You know, Michael’s very smart. And Goldberg is just a hard worker, man. And Curtis Stone – I didn’t know who Curtis was, and I looked at Curtis – Curtis is a very smart guy, you know.

I don’t look at the position. I don’t look at a guy as a chef, or a baseball player, or an actress, or a rock star you know, because that’s just what you do. But you see the personality and the strength of these people, and you see beyond that.

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