Mr. Big Stuff
BY Jeremy Kinser
November 14 2011 8:00 AM ET
This example will undoubtedly extend to the pilot for his own talk show, which he’ll produce with Handler’s team. “It’s going to be a half hour of laughs and smiles,” he says, revealing hints about what he has in store for his audiences. “It’s a crappy world out there, employment’s down, their homes are being foreclosed, so I want them to look like my mom did when I was watching TV with her and I decided this is what I want to do with my life.”
While Mathews’s visibility is increasing, his waistline has noticeably diminished since his Leno days. Mathews credits his slimmer appearance to Jenny Craig. Despite dropping 40 pounds on Celebrity Fit Club in 2007, Mathews says he gained all of it back — and more. He blames bad eating habits from childhood. “Nutrition wasn’t a priority when I was growing up,” he recalls. “My parents were just trying to pay the bills, and my dad was a hunter, so we ate whatever he killed.” Mathews noticed that a close friend, actress Sara Rue, who was a Jenny Craig spokeswoman, had developed a svelte figure, and through her introduction he was offered a free program. After mentioning it on Handler’s show, he was invited to be a spokesman, making him the first gay spokesman for any national weight-loss company. “I love it,” Mathews says. “I even got my mom on it.”
Mathews smiles and waves at another fan who’s caught his attention in the lobby. Even with his punishing schedule, Mathews finds time for his fans. He undoubtedly remembers the chubby young boy in Mount Vernon watching talk shows with his mother, a reason he makes himself as accessible as possible on social networking sites, including his blog, HelloRoss.
“If I could have had contact with Kathie Lee Gifford that easily, it would have blown my mind,” he says. “I try to do that to people on a daily basis. I feel like it’s part of my job.” For Mathews, it’s all about creating a moment.