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MANdate: Jaleel White

Total Blackout host Jaleel White talks about the fun game show and reminisces on career as one of TV’s most lovable characters.

by Holly Clay | November 5, 2012.

Hands down, Jaleel White is one of our most beloved actors from the ‘90s. Who doesn’t still catch reruns of Family Matters, laughing at the innocent clumsiness of his trademark character Steve Urkle? Today, White has long ago hung up his suspenders but continues to keep us entertained as the host of the hit Syfy show Total Blackout.  The 35-year-old father of one spoke to us about his new show and having played Steve Urkle.

Sheen: So what is Total Blackout?
Jaleel White:  Total Blackout is awesome! I would describe the show as a bowl of peanuts. You can just eat handfuls of it and not know why! We put contestants in a dark room and they compete for prizes. It’s sort of like Punked, but people’s imaginations get the best of them. The new season starts Nov. 13 on Syfy.


Sheen: How would you describe your style from back in the day?
JW: I didn’t have much style. I just liked what I liked. I grew up wearing Nicole Miller ties. Today, I am a fan of Todd Black and Paul Smith. I try to keep my look basic. I am however a shoe fanatic. I had to taper my shoe addiction, but I am still a fan of a good Jordan.


Sheen: Do you ever get tired of being known as Steve Urkle?
JW: It’s tough to say. I turned chicken shit into chicken salad with that role. I don’t take being known for Urkle too personally. I have been in the business for 32 years and I am still working, so I am grateful for Urkle.


Sheen: Did you ever have a real crush on Kelli Shanygne Williams who played Laura Winslow?
JW: What guy that age wouldn’t have had a crush on her? She was and is a beautiful girl.


Sheen: Is there anything you miss about back in the day?
JW: I wish McDonald’s would make real burgers again. But now, I eat a lot healthier. I am Whole Foods all the way.