Caleb and I are standing outside of the office on Central posing for a photo after our interview, both giving the thumbs up, when a passing motorist shouts from his truck, "Caleb!" As one of our most recognizable local personalities, right up there with men like Ron Bell, Don Schrader, Steve Stucker and the mayor, the warm, polite and approachable self-promoting partyer from Baltimore says he gets this all the time.
If you don't know who he is, then you don't watch enough television. I first saw "The Caleb Crump Show" years ago when it was on NBC after "Saturday Night Live." It had originally aired on public access in '96, but switched to NBC in '97. Currently, the show, which takes a low-budget, unscripted, do-it-yourself approach to capturing the not uncommonly risqué action at local dance clubs and other events, is broadcast Saturdays on UPN 50 at midnight and Sundays at 9 p.m. on channel 27.
"The show has been dubbed 'the people's show' because it's about the average Joe Blow that you normally may not see on television," Caleb says. "We let them jump on the show and reach out to friends and family."
The program's content typically includes an event in the community (and sometimes in other cities) or a sampling of a few clubs (the show goes everywhere from hip-hop heavy OPM to country-fueled Cowboys), a fashion showcase provided by the club-goers, shout-outs, Caleb's signature "Wonder Bunzz" dance and, of course, a healthy dose of local kitsch.
It's highlight, however, continues to be the insanely enthusiastic host whose incredible amount of energy has incorrectly led some people to think the man is on drugs. "Caleb Crump is not on drugs; Caleb Crump doesn't do drugs," Caleb explains. "To be honest with you, I very rarely drink. But I know how to party and have a good time and keep it clean."
So what does he do to fuel up before a show? "I try to make sure I'm all prayed up ... the other thing, certainly, is exercise and physical fitness. That or some Red Bull! I need that energy because I don't know how many times people are going to ask me to do the Wonder Bunzz dance!"
Caleb is currently preparing to take his show national. He says he's in talks with one station, and if everything goes as planned his exuberant personality will be available in 90 million homes by this summer. Caleb, we wish you all the luck.