Andy Richter likens Food Network’s “Celebrity Food Fight” to having a dinner party at his house. And as such, he feels that since it’s his house, his rules go. So no subject is off limits.
But that wasn’t entirely the case during the series’ premiere last December, when during the “Chocolate Surprise” segment, the host and erstwhile “Conan” sidekick made an off-color remark after guest Jaleel White objected to one of the cocoa-covered morsels the partygoers must identify by taste, prompting Standards and Practices to step in.
“Jaleel White was eating one of those chocolates,” Richter recalls, “and said, ‘Oh, this is terrible. It tastes so bad it’s like what you would give a woman if you wanted her to break up with you.’ And I said, ‘I don’t think they put herpes in chocolate.’ And they couldn’t use that. I guess the herpes joke in the middle of a food show probably isn’t in good taste. But I mean, if there’s a good herpes joke to be made, I’m still going to make it. It’s up to them to use it or not.”
The half-hour series returns for Season 2 Sunday (May 29), bringing with it more celebrities partaking in parlor games while consuming gourmet-quality hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Guests for this round include TV personality Melissa Rivers, recording artists Coolio and Ruben Studdard, comedian Bill Engvall, and actors Jennie Garth, Greg Grunberg, Kim Whitley and Tom Arnold.
Richter is the first to admit that this series has little to do with food prep — other than the fact that food is served and the games are food-centric. But a good time is apparently had by all who come on it.
Especially when alcohol enters the equation.
“Most of the people you see on the show have had a couple of drinks,” Richter says, “and so they’re not sloppy but they certainly probably shouldn’t get behind the wheel. The show is liberally peppered with Food Network regulars and you’re going to see those people a little looser than what you normally see.
“And probably the same with the celebrities, just looser than what you might see when they’re on ‘The View,’ ” he says with a laugh. “I don’t think they give you a couple of drinks before ‘The View.’ “