Bey at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
|Born||Richard Wayne Bey
July 22, 1951
Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Talk show host, TV and radio personality|
|Years active||? - present|
Richard Wayne Bey (born July 22, 1951) is an American talk show host. He was popular in the 1990s as host of The Richard Bey Show, a daytime talk show containing ordinary people's personal stories incorporated into entertaining competitive games.
Bey was born in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, to a Jewish father and an Irish Catholic mother and attended Far Rockaway High School. Prior to The Richard Bey Show, Bey hosted People Are Talking (telecast in New York City and Philadelphia) and 2 On the Town for WCBS-TV. People Are Talking was a one hour live broadcast covering topical news issues and one on one interviews with guests like Steven Speilberg, President Jimmy Carter, Sammy Davis Jr., Patricia Neal, Alexander Haig, Jerry Brown, Ross Perot and Martin and Charlie Sheen. He is an alumnus of the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Yale School of Drama. The show was called 9 Broadcast Plaza in its early years before changing its name to The Richard Bey Show. Among his roles on stage are Hamlet (title role) As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida as well as the world premieres of new plays by Richard Nelson, Chris Durang and Jim Lapine. He was a company member of the Yale Repertory Theater and understudied the National Theatre of Great Britain on Broadway and at the Kennedy Center. His film roles include Sasha Baron Cohen's Bruno, Evocateur, Meet Wally Sparks and George Washington (the mini series).
The Richard Bey Show
The Richard Bey Show (1987–1996) was produced from WWOR-TV in Secaucus, New Jersey and later syndicated across the country by All American Television (known today as FreemantleMedia). It featured such competitive events as the "Miss Big Butt" contest, the "Mr. Puniverse" contest, "Dysfunctional Family Feud" and "Blacks who think O.J. is guilty vs. Whites who think he is innocent." Young women who were guests on the show were sometimes placed in a spoof of The Dating Game in which the guest interviewed three hidden "bachelors", all of whom were an obvious mismatch for the "bachelorette" (e.g., a drag queen or a dwarf). Bey's show made frequent use of sound effects like "uh-duh" for an insane response, "I've been framed" for a guest proclaiming innocence and "You're busted!" for one accused of wrongdoing. Bey would often exclaim "Where do they find these people?!" in the presence of unbelievable guests or audience members. During some shows, there would be a secret word, and if an audience member used it in a comment, he would receive $100 (an homage to a prior talk and game show, You Bet Your Life). A joking suggestion was then made on how to spend it: "Lobster dinner tonight!"
The show was a precursor to reality television, featuring a variety of games incorporating guests' stories, most notoriously "The Wheel of Torture", in which a guest would be strapped to a spinning wheel while a spouse or lover poured slime on them as punishment for a misdeed. The show was executive produced by Bob Woodruff and David Sittenfeld.
Richard would frequently make fun of Jerry Springer on his show, as when he lost his contact lenses and was forced to wear eyeglasses, remarking, "Don't worry, you're not watching Jerry Springer" and showing Jerry in his "Bad Neighbors" segment, a reference to Springer's show being the lead-in or lead-out to Bey on many stations in the early-to-mid 1990s. He would also make light of Ricki Lake, Rosie O'Donnell, Phil Donahue, and Oprah Winfrey's shows. Bey also hosted a prime time show called "Night Games". It was short-lived but ran around the time his daytime show was at its peak. It ran after 10 o'clock and was a little more ribald with sexually clad women engaged in contests.
Bey claimed his TV show was canceled in December 1996 (despite the high ratings it maintained) as a direct result of doing a program with Gennifer Flowers, discussing her sexual relationship with then President Bill Clinton.
A scene from the film Brüno depicts the filming of an episode of a fictional variation on the show called Today with Richard Bey. The production team, along with Bey, set up the program to invite an unsuspecting audience to participate in a segment where Brüno (Sacha Baron Cohen) appears as a guest, talking about his adopted son who is black. In response to questions from the audience, Brüno reveals that he gave his son the "traditional African name" O.J. and claims that he "swapped" an iPod for his son. The predominantly black audience becomes outraged over Brüno's responses.
According to the New York Post, he was one of only two talk hosts at the time on commercial New York radio to openly oppose the Iraq War, contesting the WMD evidence. He has since hosted on Sirius Satellite Radio, The Bill Press Show, and for the syndicated Wall Street Journal: This Morning.
Bey hosted for a week on WXRK 92.3 FM from February 5 to February 9, 2007 from 10:00 PM to midnight. He regularly fills in for Lynn Samuels and Alex Bennett on the Sirius Satellite Radio channel Talk Left when they go on vacation or take a day off.
In August 2007, Bey began hosting a new show on WWRL in New York City from 8-10 PM. In November 2007, he was teamed up with Mark Riley and moved to the morning drive, replacing the team of Sam Greenfield and Armstrong Williams.
In March 2008, family reasons caused Mark Riley to leave WWRL by mutual agreement to return to WLIB, and Richard was teamed up with longtime broadcaster Coz Carson. Bey later decided to leave WWRL himself, citing personal reasons (namely spending time with his son).
Until December 2009, he appeared daily on internet TV station UBA-TV from 12:00 PM until 1:00 PM. He currently fills in on Sirius Left and hosts a blog at richardbey.org. In December 2013 he hosted the morning show in the final weeks of WWRL before it switched to Spanish language broadcasting.
- "THE NEW HOSTS OF 'PEOPLE ARE TALKING' BEGIN WORK TODAY". Philadelphia Inquirer. 1983-08-15. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
- Morales, Tina. "SCHOOL OF THE WEEK/Far Rockaway High School", Newsday, February 25, 1990. Accessed July 3, 2010.
- "Juicy bits". Salon.com. 1999-09-20. Retrieved 2008-03-20. "his syndicated TV talk show got yanked off the air back in 1996. Bey told the New York Post that, even though his show had high ratings and he himself had a brand-new contract, "the day after [the Flowers episode] airs, I'm called into the office and told that we're going out of production.""(scroll down)
- "North East RadioWatch". bostonradio.org. 2002-04-01. Retrieved 2008-03-20. "Over on the AM dial, WABC (770) moved Michael Savage's show to a live airing last week. Savage is now heard weeknights from 8-10 PM, cutting Steve Malzberg and Richard Bey back to two hours, from 6-8 PM, and ending Malzberg's solo hour at 9."
- "Morning show overhaul coming Monday at WWRL". Daily News (New York). 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-03-20. "Mark Riley and Richard Bey will take over the morning show Monday at WWRL (1600 AM), replacing Sam Greenfield and Armstrong Williams."
- Hinckley, David (2008-03-10). "Richard Bey leaves, WWRL mornings to change again". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2008-03-20. "Bey said on the air Friday that his departure is purely for personal reasons. He has obligations that include a young son, he said, and he can't fulfill those when he has to get up at 3 or 4 a.m. for a morning show."