Jerry Springer comes to Dallas at least once a year.
The TV host makes the rounds, does some interviews, co-hosts this and talks about that. He also sings. Springer, the former newsman, politician and dancer with the stars, comes to celebrate Elvis Presley's birthday at McKinney Avenue Tavern in song.
"I do my Elvis impersonation which frankly is not that difficult to do because I do Elvis at my age, which is 73," he says, noting that his favorite song is "Love Me Tender."
"I kinda like the ballads."
It was his fifth annual trip. But his visit to Big D neither began nor ended at McKinney Avenue Tavern.
Before coming to an interview at The Dallas Morning News, Springer sat in on The Kid Kraddick Morning Show. Before he left, he had done a video interview and gone live via Facebook while sitting for a portrait session.
Springer, who will turn 73 in February, has layers.
Regular viewers of his eponymous talk show may not know, or may have forgotten, that he has a life well-lived. He was mayor of Cincinnati after several years on its city council. He hosted a radio talk show. He was an award-winning news anchor who took on his talk show as a side gig; "they just assigned me to the show. ... I only signed for six weeks."
Almost 30 years later, Springer's "side job" is still going.
He's become a sought-after speaker. And he's on a first-name basis with kids from 2 to 92. (And he has a couple of CDs of country music under his belt. He says if you order one, it can help balance the short leg on a kitchen table.)
"In a sense, we were the precursor of social media because people would talk about things that were happening in their everyday lives and some of the drama that was taking place, which of course, now takes place on social media," he says of his show. "And so it's fascinating. We are social beings. We love talking about each other's behavior ... and to be around it."
Oh, and by the way, there's a weekly podcast, too. Part humor, part political rant "like you just heard me give" and part music, he's all serious about it.
"That's the place where I can really be me," he says.
"Between the comedy and the just talking about what's going on in the world and then, the political rant. If you were just going out to dinner with me and just hanging out with me, that's theme you would get."
No matter what he does, though, it always come back to the show, and he knows it. Images of throwing chairs, wig snatching and fist fights cloud the perception of Springer as pundit.
Earlier, he (kinda, laughing) apologized for the show and even said his favorite part is "when it's over: the final thought."
But, later, he says, "Look, the show's crazy. The show's stupid."
Sudden and serious.
"It's fun to do. ... That's the only reason I do the show anymore."
So, it's with a piercing gaze and a serious tone that he sets about the business of seguing to one of his favorite topics: politics, strange and strangely appropriate on the eve of the inauguration of a new president. Springer's Twitter feed is constant with politics, and he is steady on his soap box. And when "The Ringmaster" calls something "crazy," well, you at least listen ... or record.
"Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!"