In the last set of questions, we asked you who you would be your first guests if you took over as David Letterman’s replacement. Let’s keep going on that. Give us a guest list (other than Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, and Dave Chappell). It could be musical guests, comedians, etc.
I’m not too sure really. I like talking with comedians and musicians but I feel sometimes when you interview people it can become more like a show than an actual conversation so I would probably get a bunch of people who aren’t so well known who are just normal – ha! I once interviewed somebody - a singer - after a show and it was the worst ever. I had absolutely no interest in one word they had to say, and I was actually really looking forward to it before hand! Some people are so caught up in performing all the time or trying to portray a reputation that they lose grasp on reality for me!
We’ve been fascinated with Tahyna’s film project, OREN. Have you been involved at all so far? Have you had the opportunity to be on set?
No, I haven’t been on set - right now they have just shot the teasers and Kickstarter campaign and are working on the script changes and promotion day to day so I leave her to it. I help out with suggestions or just an ear now and again when I’m asked, but it’s in great hands where it is. I’ll try to get my mug in the there somewhere and of course I’ll be teaching a class somewhere as part of one of the incentives but that’s about it.
Along those same lines, have you ever had the interest in being in on the writing or production end of a film? Or perhaps if you were involved in a movie project, what aspect of the film might intrigue you the most?
I like writing for sure and producing can be fun. I’ve done bits and pieces before and may jump into in the future as well but right now it’s a spectator sport for me. I have a lot of ideas I find hard to put down but I try. I love doing re-writes on things and I like interpreting things that other people do so maybe I’m good at assisting more than anything else but that suits me because I only like doing stuff I’m really passionate about or willing to put all my time into, and at the minute I get inspiration to do other things.
The Holland America: DWTS At Sea cruises start up again in June. Are you still scheduled to appear?
At the minute, yeah, I’m due to do the first cruises in June but beyond that I’m not too sure. I love doing the cruises but things are changing all the time so for now I’m not looking beyond the first one which I had already committed to do. Things are getting to the stage where it’s hard to rely on anything so I just have to keep slugging away and pushing work as much as possible like everyone else. Holland America have always been great with me and the team responsible for the cruises have always been straight as an arrow with me so I really enjoy working there.
You’re scheduled to teach a master class at LA Ballroom in May. When you’re dealing with proficient dancers as in this situation, how do you structure the class?
I don’t have too much structure to be honest going in there. I like to judge it on the attendance and see what we are working with on the night. I will always ask if there are specific things the studios want to work on for their students but generally I’ll judge it on what I see happening and see what I can help most with. Group classes are always difficult in the sense that standards are always different and for sure attitudes as well so it all comes down to what will benefit a 'group' more and then be more specific in private lessons. Again as usual though I’m sure different people have different ways of prepping classes – that’s just me.
You seem to have a lot of friends from SYTYCD. What impresses you most about that show and the dancers who have gotten their big break there?
I know a few people who have been/are on that show yeah and its different but I love how dedicated they all are to their craft and probably how committed they are to learning different styles and improving themselves. When it comes to shows like these dance and singing shows, they can do your nuts in because it seems like everyone needs a sob story or flamboyance about them or something other than just being good at dancing when that’s all its about for me. What it comes down to it, on DWTS people want to see you 'learn' to be good and on SYTYCD people want to see you 'be' good because on that show you are expected to be good. That’s why you are there! It doesn’t matter if mammy and daddy paid for everything or you sold everything you owned to dance, for me the emphasis is always put on that. It’s funny though for me how happy and full of energy everyone always seems to be on TV - hahaha!
A lot of dancers, actors, athletes, etc. have taken some ballet along the way. How about you? Did any ballet figure into your training?
No, I’ve never done ballet in my life. I think it’s very impressive but I have no interest in it. James Dean used to do ballet. I found that interesting
One of your supporters on Facebook, Wes, wanted to know that after you were paired with Valerie if you ever went back and watched any of her episodes of Rhoda or The Mary Tyler Moore Show?
No, I never looked at Rhoda or Mary Tyler Moore. I saw some short You Tube clips just to get a gist of it and I thought maybe we could recreate something from it somewhere but it didn’t work out. I did watch a roast of Valerie Harper and I really liked that - just a bunch of drunks and friends slating her. That was funny, and you could really see her personality there which I loved and came to realize how genuine it was. Valerie is crazy busy working now so I look forward to seeing all her new projects coming together and be proud of the stuff she is doing now more than what she had done before.
You have visited Australia several times in the last few years. Which is your favorite of the places you have visited thus far?
Sydney for sure! It’s where I have been going the last few years, and I absolutely love it there. I used to go climbing in the Blue Mountains and by my mates place in the Colo River so I always love going back out camping there when we make it back. I used to love Melbourne a lot but the more time I spend in Sydney, it’s become one of my favourite places to be.
When you were a little guy back in Ireland, what was your favorite subject in school? What was your least favorite?
I wasn’t really one for school to be honest. I loved history and geography and I guess science was alright but that just seemed like somewhere to mess around cutting things up and setting things on fire. The stuff we used to do when we were kids are ridiculous when you think back on it - crazy, dangerous stuff altogether. I still like history but I’m more skeptical about everything now. For me history isn’t so much facts all the time but just people’s perspectives of how things happened; you can’t lie with dates and outcomes but I’m interested in different theories and accounts of things that happened. I used to hate French but I don’t know why. I really like languages now - I just don’t have the patience to learn them. I used to try tolearn Italian from watching Italian soccer on TV but we didn’t have enough people to sign up for Italian in school so they sacked it off. We could learn French or German, I think it was. I remember I used to have double French on a Wednesday morning and then a free period so me and my mates used to go play football instead and come into school late. I used to get in awful trouble for that.
Have you ever been tempted to take up a musical instrument? If so, which one? Or are you already proficient on, say, the tuba?
Instruments again are like languages for me. I would love to be able to play but I don’t have the patience, and I get frustrated so quickly. I bought a lot of instruments over the years intending on learning but they just sit around and Tahyna plays them. She seems to be able to play anything that’s here. Some people have that knack of being able to pick things up very easily, some have to work real hard and some of us just go do something else. One day though I’ll learn every instrument and go out as a one man band!
Now for some favorites:
Favorite Irish film (or movie filmed in Ireland)
The Field is my favourite Irish film of all time no doubt but I love The Quiet Man and The Count Of Monte Cristo that was filmed close to my home in Ireland.
Favorite country music artist and favorite country music song
I like a lot of country music. Garth Brooks is one of my favourites. I don’t care what anyone says he is amazing – haha. I love Kenny Rogers as well and my favourite song - not because it’s the best, I just love - it is called “Fishin’ In The Dark” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. There are for sure better songs and musicians that I know but they come to my head first.
Favorite rock and roll artist – all time and favorite rock and roll song
Too many to choose but I love Bowie and The Rolling Stones and “Bohemian Rhapsody” is still one of my favourite songs of all time. Freddie Mercury was unbelievable.
“Quickfire Round Questions!” (Tristan's words)
Favorite TV game show
Favorite reality show
Wife Swap – Haha!
Favorite TV western
Favorite Saturday Night Live host
Favorite SNL skit
Cowbell or Chippendales Audition
Your favorite method of transportation: plane, train, or car
Some “just for fun” questions:
Last year in one of our interviews, you mentioned that Val Chmerkovskiy had tried to teach you basketball and that it hadn’t gone particularly well. We noticed you and Sasha shooting some hoops recently (thanks to Sasha and his Instagram). How are those skills coming along and who has better skills – you or Sasha?
I’m terrible at basketball. Sasha is better but he is no good either, and I can reach higher than he can........even when he jumps! He loves a bit of social media he does!
Speaking of sports, last year you threw out the first pitch at a couple of baseball games. Do you have any plans to do something similar again this year?
I had great fun at those baseball games. Of course, I’d love to go again if they would have me but at the minute nothing is happening. I’m a lot busier now. I’ve gone back playing football as well.
Do you ever just dance around the house while you’re washing dishes, brushing your teeth, etc?
No. I barely dance when I’m at work!
Were you ever tempted to try out the Tom Cruise “Old Time Rock and Roll” scene from Risky Business?
Oh, I’ve done that a few times for sure whether I’m on my own or the house is full. I love Bob Seger. I guess I always throw a few moves out to his music. I lose my mind in the car when “Hollywood Nights” comes on!
Finally, what makes you laugh more than anything?
I love laughing! I love people falling over and I love people getting really confused and people getting scared but I love a drink and a story.
We never run out of questions for Tristan, and he always finds time to answer them. Here is the Q and A from April 16, 2014 - a few serious questions with a few of the ridiculous ones. Thanks to all of you for sending them in, and keep them coming! You never know when we'll do another interview.
You have been traveling quite a bit, and there are a few questions about that.
If you could travel to one place in the world where you have not yet been, where would it be?
I’ve never been to Africa before so I would love to try and get there and see how everything is there. I’d like to go to South America. I’ve been to Brazil for two days or something with work but never got to see the place. I love travelling but I hate going to touristy places so to go to these places [Africa and South America] would be unreal for me to see and explore. I’m very much the type that sees a hole in a ditch and wants to climb in and see what’s happening!
With all of your airplane travel, you have probably been in the situation where flights were cancelled and you were stuck. Do you recall any one flight delay/flight cancellation experience that was particularly difficult, funny, or just aggravating?
Yeah, for sure, planes are forever getting cancelled and delayed especially when you are flying so frequently, but generally it’s only for the odd few minutes or whatever here and there but only last week or the week before we had a show - I always try get the earliest flight home as possible. So we got picked up from the hotel at 3.30 a.m. or so, and for the first flight we had had engine trouble or something and couldn’t land properly. After a while it finally came down in Peoria, Illinois which doesn’t have many departing flights and there’s the scramble from everybody else to get home as well. I ended up being the last person in our company to leave so I didn’t get home until close to midnight. It was a hassle but at least I made it home. I don’t mind delays too much, but they only seem to happen when you have to be somewhere else!!
Have you ever woken up in a city and had no idea which city it was?
I never know where I am half the time!!
Is there a city in the United States that reminds you (even a little) or Ireland?
No, not really. To be honest Ireland is Ireland and America is America to me.
You've danced in many places all over the world, but where did you have the largest audience? Have you ever performed somewhere where the show or performance was not well received?
I’m not too sure of numbers and things like that but when we used to tour with Burn The Floor the crowds we had in Japan were unbelievable. The support there was mental. They used to lose their minds when the shows started and then right until the end. It would be packed out like crazy and loud as hell. There would be crowds and crowds of people outside afterwards, and you would be standing for hours taking pictures and making peace signs – hahaha! There are always times as well when the show is not received well for different reasons. Some people can be theatre snobs, some people go to look for mistakes, some like to compare to stuff they know, some only want to see what they want to see, and honestly sometimes the show just isn’t good. I can’t remember specific places but for sure I have been in shows that haven’t been received well. I think most of us have.
Last week Gleb Savchenko posted lots of photos with you, Kym Johnson, and Witney Carson. Would you please tell us about that event?
That was just a corporate gig that we did in Monarch Beach. I hadn’t seen a lot of the guys for a while so was good to catch up but it was an outdoor event we did. Myself and Kym danced, Gleb danced with Wit, and Karina danced with Corbin. It was a fun gig but it was slippy as ice because it was outside and coming into the evening there was a bit of mist on the makeshift floor. A few people went down - it was fun to watch – haha!
It has been nice to see you back in Ballroom With A Twist, and it’s been especially fun for so many of your supporters to get the chance to see you dance with Kym Johnson. You have danced together many times. Do you have a favorite performance with Kym?
Yeah - myself and Kym have danced a lot together in the past - not so much the last while though. It’s always great dancing with Kym. We get on real well. We have known each other a while so we can have a laugh and still put the work in. I don’t have any favourite dances I don’t think - maybe a few from the show but I prefer doing theatre performances and stuff than the actual tv show. On the show it’s usually 15/20 seconds here and there so it always ends up being just tricks and gimmicks unless we can get a full dance and then it’s fun again. I like the Kelly Clarkson numbers. It seemed like Kelly Clarkson was our singer or something for a while. Haha!
For those who haven’t gotten the chance to see you in the newest BWAT shows, tell us about your performances and how they differ from the BWAT shows last summer? Do you have a personal favorite specific performance from BWAT?
I don’t remember the shows last summer so I can’t really compare them to be honest but I’m dancing in these ones with Kym and we do a jive to “Dance With Me Tonight” by Olly Murs. I think we did a number on the show to it as a group and then we do a Waltz to “Say Something” by A Great Big World and then a Tango to “Drunk In Love by Beyonce and then a Foxtrot/Swing to “Fever” by Mickey Bubbles. Then we do the usual Q and A's and teach a bit of dancing and jabber on for a while about nothing and everything. Numbers change all the time on the show but I love a number usually done by Randi Lynn Strong, Legacy and Jonathan Platero from SYTYCD and the song is “Gravity” that Gina Glokson from American Idol performs. There is also a Rumba in the most recent show done by Kiki and his partner Magda (good old Keekster is back!)
You have been teaching a lot over the last few weeks. Do you have any other teaching commitments coming up? (We did see that you have a master class with LA Ballroom Studio May 3).
Yeah, I have been travelling teaching a lot recently but the next few months I don’t have too much. I have a few other things in the works that I’m working on so I’ll have a bit of teaching in LA Ballroom and maybe a few private lessons around somewhere but at the moment nothing is locked in.
Speaking of teaching, you have taught a lot of different people during your career. Who is the youngest person you have ever taught (or what approximate age)?
I have always taught all ages. There are no limits I don’t know what the youngest is but I would only teach someone who was old enough to pick something up, otherwise you are just throwing money away and sure that doesn’t make any sense. Some adults lose concentration in twenty minutes let alone a full lesson so why put a kid through that? I know many would have a different opinion but that’s just mine.
Now on to the ridiculous….
So how is the puppy training going? Is Pike behaving? We hear he has a little thing for shoes.
The training is going okay, but the smell of Lemon Pledge in the house is turning my stomach!! He is still pretty young but gets his last shots in a few weeks and then we can start taking him outside and get him used to being around other dogs. He is finding his voice now but he is a little coward - he likes to think he is brave. He is getting at a nipping stage because his teeth came through so he is trying to eat everything. He loves laces and he likes sitting on clothes and nestling into them but he doesn’t behave – no. he is a little s*&# but what can you do? He is only a puppy and is supposed to be like that. That's why we like him!
Where did the name Pike come from? We like it. It’s edgy. Bad-boyish.
We just like the name Pikey/Pike and it’s Irish. It's rough and cheeky which he will end up being - ha ha!
Other than Pike-related incidents, what is your least favorite housekeeping chore?
I don’t mind cleaning. I like working in the garden but I’m not fond of doing dishes every day but who is!
We are huge fans of Jimmy Fallon – his lip sync competitions with people like John Krasinski, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Stephen Merchant, and Paul Rudd are legendary. Then there are his skits….
I love Jimmy Fallon! His show is great and I love his skits. His #hashtags skits with JT and Jonah Hill are funny because they are so ridiculous but it’s how morons are talking these days!
Justin Timberlake did a killer impression of Jimmy Fallon. Who does a killer impression of Tristan MacManus? And we imagine you can do some great impressions too. Is anybody in particular your favorite target?
I’m not one for impressions to be honest but if someone does something stupid or says idiot things, I will call them out on it and make fun of them – ha. I’m sure everyone has an impression of me - maybe we should ask them!?
So David Letterman is stepping down next year, and while we understand that Stephen Colbert is replacing him. Let’s say you were the replacement. Who would be the guests on your first show?
If I took over Letterman I’d probably try have him as a guest and Jimmy Fallon. I’d love to talk to Dave Chappelle. He is one the funniest guys I have ever seen.
**That's it for this time. Have questions? Send them to us firstname.lastname@example.org, post them here on our forum, or post them on Twitter to @T_MacManusFocus.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 74 times and each is posted here with the most recent first. All interviews are posted elsewhere on this website, including our forum.