If a rookie standup comedian is supposed to go on-stage and reveal his most embarrassing moment, this may qualify as my audition. I grew up a huge professional wrestling fan in Minneapolis, one of the birthplaces of the industry. Furniture and walls often served as ropes and turnbuckles for my brother and me reenacting valiant moves from the squared circle.
And here’s the sad part: In what to this day I consider to be one of the greatest inside jokes of all time, I once had a string quartet adapt a classical version of Hulk Hogan’s entrance music. And then unbeknownst to everyone in attendance, I had the musicians play it as my brother and I walked down the aisle—not at Madison Square Garden, but at my own wedding.
So, given my pathetic bond with the Hulkster, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to meet with him recently in Los Angeles. And it turns out that after a high-profile dark stretch that led him to thoughts of suicide, which may have been fueled in part by a reality show he did with his family, he wants to get back in that ring, too.
Hogan told me he has talked to networks such as A&E, TruTV and Fox about a new show documenting what he calls “the resurrection of Hulk Hogan.”
“To see a brand like Elvis or Madonna or Hulk Hogan just crash and burn and then have so many people want to see me get back on my feet, that’s the story that no one has,” says Terry Bollea (whom you and I know as Hulk Hogan).
The story of how he crashed is very well documented, from the Hogan Knows Best reality show to the pages of the tabloids. Hogan has lived through the end of his marriage (and his wife dating a kid who had barely body-slammed puberty), his son going to jail, and perhaps every father’s true nightmare—his daughter turning out really good looking.
But he says he has bounced back. “Things are good. My life is good. I changed my thinking: Instead of hating the world, hating the neighbors, hating everyone, I got away from that craziness I had in my head. I’m just moving forward.”
His popularity is still off the charts, as evidenced by the massive lines at a recent autograph- signing session. He is back in TV with the TNA wrestling outfit on Spike, and even hosted a radio show recently for Sirius-XM.
He is ready for his next on-screen role, and says he is up for trying anything. Well, almost anything. When I mention that American Idol is looking for a judge, the legendary tough guy admits that he has met his match. “Sorry, I don’t think I could be as tough as Simon,” he says with a laugh.
C’mon, Hulk, it’s a karaoke contest. You want tough? Try admitting to everyone you had a wrestler’s theme as your wedding song. Now that’s tough.
E-mail comments to email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: @BCBenGrossman
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