Jon Taffer is a hardass —and he plays one on TV.
“I think ‘Bar Rescue’ is a very fair portrayal of who and what I am,” says Taffer, the tough talking host of Spike TV’s number one show.
“I’m not playing a character.”
But the blazer-wearing, Vegas- based bar expert—who is tasked with turning failing bars into money makers — certainly is made for the boob tube.
He’s a prolific f-bomb dropper who belittles lazy managers, hurls spoiled food at inept cooks and even shoves mouthy bar owners when they get in his face.
And his unhinged behavior has turned him into a demi-god of the watering hole turnaround shows that have spawned like roaches.
Taffer says the magic ingredient is that he puts the real in reality. “When I am talking to you in ‘Bar Rescue,’ if you’re a bar owner, I’m looking in your eyes. That’s all I really see.
“I’ve never done other reality TV, but I’m guessing if it isn’t real to the host and they think he’s playing to the cameras, then they’re going to play to the cameras too.”
And yes, he does get THAT angry.
A cook handling raw chicken and not washing her hands, mushrooms growing out of a restaurant wall and a manager unabashedly hitting on his bartenders can try a nightlife maven’s soul.
After all, Taffer compresses a six-week revamp process into five days.
“The anger is driven by the compression of it all. There’s always a clock ticking in the back of my head. And that’s what drives the tension on TV.”
That’s not to say Taffer is all finger-pointing and temper explosions.
He loves a good laugh. “To me, good humor is a huge part of business and professional success,” he says.
He recently lampooned himself on popular sports and pop culture blog, Barstoolsports.com, and came in to whip the fratty proprietors into shape with a “blog rescue.”
“Those guys are funny guys, why not?” he says adding that he’s waiting for his “Saturday Night Live” spoof. “I think it could be a heck of a bit.”
And he admits to shedding tears in the Atlanta airport a few weeks ago.
“This young urban kid who is missing a couple of teeth comes up and says, ‘A year ago, I was a dishwasher. And now I’m assistant manager because of you . . . You inspire me.’ He gave me a hug and walked away. And I teared up.
“It was amazing to me that my little show could inspire someone to do better and be better.”
He’s trying to take that sentiment to his new project, “Taffer Time,” which is an Internet subscription show that dishes out business tips.
“I’ve been inspired by my ability to inspire people. That’s a strange sentence,” he says with a laugh.
In February, Taffer will start filming the “Shark Tank”-like show, “The Hungry Investor,” which will also air on Spike.
He is also writing his second book and expects to see himself on a broadcast network sometime soon.
“That’s what I got my eye on,” he says. “I tend to get my dream scenario, if I could be cocky for a moment.”
Written by: Kristen Fleming, New York Post