Casey Webb, star of 'Man v Food' dishes on everything [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

Casey Webb is a force for the good in life

Casey Webb host of Man v Food from Travel Channel may be one of the most likable men in the world.  With a job like his where he gets to go to do what he loves and visit new cities, meet new people and try all sorts of new food, it is easy to see why he is such a sweet-natured man.

Like many young men, Casey Webb originally dreamed of being a football player, but when that didn't work out, he fell in love with acting.  He starred in some commercials, had his face blown off in Boardwalk Empire and was featured on Inside Amy Schumer. He is a member of The Collective and The Actors Theater of New York.

Having had many jobs in the restaurant industry and a life-long passion for all things food, it was only a matter of time before both worlds collided.

After making a food-related demo tape, Casey's agent submitted him for the role of host of Travel Channel's hit show Man v Food and voilà, he became the new host for the fifth season in 2017.

Courtesy of The Travel Channel

For those unfamiliar with Man v Food, the host travels around the country in search of the greatest eating challenges. These challenges usually fall into two categories:  pain and volume. Sometimes he wins and sometimes food is the obvious victor.

While in these cities, not only he gets to try some of the best restaurants around, but also he gets to meet some wonderful people.

Casey Webb, who we previously named as one of our hot Gingers, spoke with Michelle Tompkins for about his early life, career path, early move roles (hint he was in a hit Kevin Smith film), how he landed his gig on Man v Food, how he prepares for challenges, where he wants to travel to, what he likes to do for fun and more.

Michelle Tompkins:  So what's new with you?

Casey Webb:  Well, we wrapped on three seasons of Man v. Food and we're looking at the fourth season. So I just got a little bit of break and lucky enough to work with some other folks doing some commercial stuff. So that's kept me busy a little bit. But all in all— finished shooting up some voice over for the show and then just enjoying a little bit of summer and some downtime.

Michelle Tompkins:  That sounds great. Where are you originally from?

Casey Webb:  I grew up in New Jersey. So I grew up in a town called Little Silver. Born in Redbank, which is right next door. And both my parents are New Yorkers that made their way down in the early '70s and then I grew up down there. But I live in Brooklyn myself. I've been here in New York City on and off since my early 20s. So, I'm just 25 now. No, 22. No, I'm not 25.

Michelle Tompkins: [Laughter]  I didn't think so.

Casey Webb:  I feel 25 [laughter]. Yes. The mustache is way older than 25 years old, so [laughter].

Michelle Tompkins:  Please tell a little bit about your childhood.

Casey Webb:  I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey to New York parents, both Irish and Italian descent. My parents had a Catholic school upbringing in New York City, but we went to public school. And I had an older brother, who's four years older than me, so I spent most of my life trying to tag along with him as he shooed me away. And I lived in New Jersey about until I was about 21 and then I moved to New York City.

Getting back to childhood— yeah, we spent a lot of time outside which is great. Both of my parents would be in New York City. My father worked and my mother was a homemaker and she had us outside all the time. So we grew up on the beach. We grew up hiking in the woods. And, occasionally— we have family in New York City, so we'd make our way to New York City ,or Long Island, or on the outside of New York, in Weehawken, in that area which I still have a lot of family in that part of the world, in Long Island, and the Jersey side looking at New York.

I finished high school. I went off to college and played some football. And I didn't stay there very long [laughter]. I stopped doing that and I realized I wanted to do other things. And then my first real job, I guess before I graduated high school, I was 14, I started working at restaurants. And I started washing dishes as a kid because it's our local pizza place and it was our friend's dad who owned the place. Every kid almost had the opportunity, if they wanted, to go wash dirty dishes in a pizza place. I liked it for a while but that was pretty much my introduction to that world. And I found myself when I was able to continue that work, is working my way up through— that from the back of the house into the front of the house and so on. So, and I was in high school I'm jumping around a little bit, but when I was in high school, I was able to do some vocational culinary, which really opened my eyes and gave me some skill sets that I didn't have yet, which gave me a better understanding of what the restaurant world was.

After leaving college, after playing football, that's when I started acting when I was 18. I pursued that until last year. I'm constantly pursuing it, but that was an interesting time of my life because I left college, wasn't sure what I was doing. I was playing sports, and I had to leave that behind. I started doing theater because I had a couple of friends that were doing it. It just opened my world up, very much like the restaurant business. The restaurant business opened my eyes to food and creativity, and working with your hands.

Then acting was very much the same. I was able to work out my emotions and have creative ideas, and explore different characters, and read a lot. Those two worlds followed me. Those two interests followed me throughout my life, and still do, very much. All the way leading up 20-something years later to landing at the feet of the opportunity to audition for Man v. Food. I'm sure you have another question, but I could just keep going if you want.

Michelle Tompkins:  No, I have a lot of them.

Casey Webb:  We can cut to the questions if you like.

Michelle Tompkins:  That's fine. You're doing well. I read that your nickname's Pop. How did you get that?

Casey Webb:  Nickname was Pop. My high school football coach— he didn't give nicknames to everybody, but the ones that he did, he had a kinship with, he felt connected to. I was physically very good at popping out of my stance, and tackling people. I popped out of my stance. I was pretty quick. Still am, thankfully. I'm still pretty good on my feet. Popping out of my stance and pursuing the guy with the football. I played defense. I tried the other side; I just wasn't very good at it. I'm more of a reactionary human being. The name was very fitting, and it stuck with me. I still have friends that will see me out, and they'll scream it out like our high school coach did, in the middle of the street, anywhere. It's definitely stuck. He's still with us.

Michelle Tompkins:  How tall are you?

Casey Webb:  5-9 on a good day. Flipflops, about 5/8-1/2. I thought I was going to be taller. I thought I was going to play pro. My brother is 6-2, and  I thought I was going to be a professional football player in my mind. Popping out of that stance at 15, by 18, I thought I was going to be 6-6, but that wasn't the case.

Casey Webb chats about his acting

Michelle Tompkins:  Tell me about some of the movies you've been in.

Casey Webb:  A lot of independent stuff, which has been exciting, to just— my first movie experience was in a movie called Chasing Amy. It was a Kevin Smith film because Kevin Smith is Jersey born and bred, not too far from where I grew up. Redbank, I guess, is his claim to fame, where he says he grew up. And so Jay Mewes, who's part of that Jay and Silent Bob, he was a friend of my brother's, and a friend of my sister-in-law, and still is and he worked with my brother in construction. And after the success of Clerks, Jay, we remained friendly because he knew I was acting and he told me about— they needed extras or background for a scene, the hockey scene that's in the movie Chasing Amy. So the long and the short of it is I was 18, had really long hair, I was just fresh out college playing football, and I was in pursuit of acting. And I drove down there in my car and I broke down so I was late to get there. And then, by the time I got there, they had sat everyone in front of— it was Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams who were in the movie. And Jason Lee, who are the three leads in it. And I wound up getting sat right in front and I wound up making the cut at the movie. So that was my first real movie experience. At the time, it was Miramax and Kevin Smith, who is really hot and he's from Jersey. So I got to kind of the ins and outs of filmmaking.

Casey Webb in 'Chasing Amy' by Miramax, YouTube

And then, throughout my life, I want to move to New York City and continue the pursuit of acting. And it was another movie that Kevin produced that didn't really go anywhere, it was called Big Helium Dog. It was a role that Jay was supposed to perform but he couldn't do it so they asked me to do it so I wound up being in this film. This is all New Jersey, very young, very green as far as the acting is concerned. Then I had an opportunity to do some independent films in college and I've done a little more TV than film so, in my mind, I'm looking at my resume. What movies of note? A bunch of indies. A lot of independent films.

And so, as far as TV, I'm part of a theater company called The Collective, which is based in New York and one of the founding members is Amy Schumer. Actually, they would bring in the producers, and Amy and the writers would bring in the works for her sketch. So that used to be Inside Amy Schumer and we would actually read those for them to consider for the show. So that was amazing because they would heavily cast out of those sessions on Monday nights that we had every Monday nights throughout the year. That was really awesome. She was very heavily involved in casting a lot of folks. They would cast out of the actual collective.

Outside of that, Boardwalk Empire. I auditioned for Boardwalk Empire, probably, seven times. And I got really close a few times. And then the one thing that I got, I wound up getting— it's a scene where Al Capone is avenging his brother who was killed in this huge scene. HBO, they do such amazing work.  I wound up getting shot in the face by Al Capone and the actor is Stephen Graham. So I'm a Chicago cop who's shot underneath wings where the bridge was they made look like a Chicago street. There was 30 extras, 20 cars, Model Ts, and limousines and cop cars and a crane. And it was by far one of the most exciting film experiences, from sitting in front of Joey Lauren Adams and Ben Affleck to being on the streets of Brooklyn being shot in the face by Al Capone, in Boardwalk Empire. And that was incredible. Another movie I was in was Sisters, but I was cut out of that so [laughter].

So, yeah, a lot of bumps and grinds for me as far as the TV and film stuff. I was very fortunate to do a lot of commercial stuff, too. Which I've had a lot more opportunities to do commercials and little bit parts in films here and there. So, it's one of those things, it's like, you audition for a 1,000 things, you might get two of them.

It’s like staring into the sun? Thank you @actorstheater & @flaviapradot Love you?✨ #Repost ・・・ ATNYC? Member’s Close Up ⭐️ CASEY WEBB @iamhusky4life Casey Webb grew up in Little Silver, NJ. At an early age he cut his teeth in the restaurant industry washing dishes at the age of 14. Years later he moved to New York to peruse acting while working in restaurants and bars. He currently resides in Brooklyn working as an actor and comedian. His acting and voiceover work have been featured in several national commercials and series including “Boardwalk Empire” and “Inside Amy Schumer.” He is also a proud member of The Collective and The Actors Theater of New York. In 2018, Webb won ‘Best Host – Reality/Food’ in the Cynopsis TV Awards for “Man v. Food.” @travelchannel #CaseyWebb #Actor #Storytellers #Art #Host #artist #film #theater #tv #WorldWideWebb #ActorsTheaterNewYorkCity ⚙️ Page Director: Flavia Prado @flaviapradot Photography: @marshallboprey

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Michelle Tompkins:  Do you have any interest in doing a cooking show or are you more of a tour commentator kind of guy?

Casey Webb:  I love all sides of it. I may be fortunate enough to work in kitchens throughout my life, and I'm not classically trained. I didn't go to culinary school. But I did learn in kitchens.  It's one of those things, I was where other people could afford to go to school and to conservatory and acting and to culinary school, I wasn't really able to afford that. So I figured a way how to do it and learned how to do it myself. I'm very much open to the idea of doing a cooking show. I grew up watching those shows on your PBS, chefs and it's still very exciting to me, but by no means do I consider myself a chef.

I'm a good cook [laughter] but— so I would have a lot of fun with that. I've been fortunate enough to be able to be on the side that I am, is working with chefs in kitchens and still learning, which I think you always do in the kitchen. And whether you're on a food truck [laughter] or in a yellow-white table-clothed restaurant, in that kitchen, you're still learning. So, yeah. I'm open to both, to be honest with you. I'd love the opportunity to do both.

Michelle Tompkins:  What do you love about food?

Casey Webb:  How much it nourishes us [laughter]. For me, it's always been about community. In my family, it was very important to us as a kid— when I was a little kid, that we sit down and eat. And I was like, oh, this is always a thing. We had to come in outside from playing and having a great time to [laughter] have to come inside and eat. So it broke up our fun time. It's probably like a chore as a kid and it was later in life that I realized that, oh, this is a traditional thing. This is something you do. This is where we can all get together and talk. And that's me kind of laying the groundwork. So for me, it sure is about exploring new cultures, exploring new worlds, and exciting your taste buds, and that stuff is all equally as important, but really the foundation for me was coming together as a group.

Even to this day, I can eat alone and enjoy the food and be nourished. But it's really, for me, it's sitting down and breaking bread and sharing conversation and laughing and coming together as a group and sharing stories and sitting face-to-face, and turning all our electronics off, all our phones, computers, and TVs, and just tapping into each other, and then sharing time is probably one of the most special things you can do as a human being, is sit down and break bread with somebody.

How Casey Webb became host of Man v Food?

Michelle Tompkins:  How did Man v. Food come your way?

Casey Webb:  I was in a project, and I was introduced to an agent. That agent was with Don Buchwald. His name was Conan Smith. I started pitching Conan about the scripted material, as well as, I had an idea for a food show. He's like, ‘I really like the food show idea. Shoot a proof of concept. Basically, this is a real concept of the show.’ I said, ‘Okay, great.’ I had this friend of mine, and she and I were co-hosting. We shot this thing out, we ran around New York trying hotdogs.

In the editing process, he's like, ‘Oh, by the way, I have this audition that came across my desk, and it's for this new show,’ that still remained unnamed at the time. I was like, ‘Yeah, let's do it.’ As an actor, I feel like you're never in a position to give up an audition because you might not ever get another one. In the business, agents and managers will do that. If you don't show up to work, you're not going to have a job, anymore. My job was auditioning, and that show— I didn't know the name of that show until cut to me actually getting the job and signing the contract. They kept it under wraps. It was under another name. Physically, I turned the page on the contract, and the second page said Man v. Food.

The first page, I believe it said ‘Big Eats.’ At that moment, that's when I knew that this was the show. Before that, I was like, ‘This seems a lot like Man v. Food. I didn't even know Man Versus Food was off the air. I don't think anybody did. It was on the air for four seasons. It was off the air for five years. Adam at the helm doing a great job, but yeah. It was basically, by chance. I don't think if I had pitched a show concept of a host show to this agent, he would've asked me if I wanted to host. I wasn't really considering myself a host of anything. I've hosted standup. I've MC'd a ton of things. I've performed over about 60 weddings, just as a gig in my life. It fell in my lap, really.

Michelle Tompkins:  Did you get any advice from Adam Richman?

Casey Webb:  To this day, I have yet to even actually meet Adam. Honestly, what I had to do was do my research on my own. I didn't go backwards. I didn't look at old episodes. I read about the concept of the challenges. I've definitely taken on food challenges in my life with friends growing up. Jersey Shore has a place called Pete Neldas, which is this giant pizza, and you have to finish it, and you get a T-shirt. There's the milk challenge, the food challenge. I've done all these things, because being in the food world, it's the stuff you wind up doing. It's just crazy, and silly, and fun. Really, it was like, I got the job, and I hit the ground running. I just took the guidance of the production company, because Sharp Entertainment was the same production company as the original show. I just jumped right in. I don't know if you've gotten that far now, but that's pretty much how I do most things. I just jump right in and figure it out. It might be shark-infested waters, but I still jump in, for whatever reason. I have yet to actually meet him. I'm sure we'll run into each other at some point, but I just haven't had a chance to. It's honestly been just over a year. We shot three seasons in a year.  We have 38 episodes.

Michelle Tompkins:  Will there be a season four?

Casey Webb:  I hope so. I don't even know. It'd be amazing. I mean, there's been so much momentum with the show and filming. And now that it's airing, we're in the third season. And there are 38 episodes to watch. I'm excited to see us jump into the next season to go to a place that we haven't gone to yet. This is a big map, the United States. We've still got more states to fill.

Michelle Tompkins:  Do you keep in touch with some of the people you’ve met while on the road?

Casey Webb:  What's great is, I definitely do. Which is fun. I mean, social media's so great for that because we can actually communicate very quickly without it being long-drafted emails or calling people on the phone necessary. Because we're all very busy. That's what I love about social media is because you can make contact instantly.

What's been great is revisiting pictures that I haven't been able to really post. I've been reposting for the show, episodes that are new that I could put a picture or two and then put it on social media. Whether it be on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. So I'm kind of reliving that stuff too, which has been really exciting. So yeah. As much as I possibly can. I look forward.

The biggest thing is I have this laundry list of restaurants. We went to over 100 restaurants. So when we film, we fly in, right, or drive - in most cases fly - then we shoot three days and take off the next day. So it's very quick. I think it's 114 restaurants that we visited in a year. And that's a ton of amazing human beings and a lot of great food along the way. So I have a lot of new friends.

Image result for casey webb man v food
The Travel Channel

Michelle Tompkins:  I bet you do. You're very friendly, so that works too. Now everyone I know wants to know the gross stuff, but I'm not going to ask the gross stuff. Because we don't need to know the specifics…

Casey Webb:  Oh, good.

Michelle Tompkins:  But how do you prepare for a show?

Casey Webb:  Like any pro, like any athlete, do what the pros do. I didn't walk into this as a professional. And I still don't consider myself a professional. Because my brother could out-eat me. And he's 6'2 and 189 pounds. I do take care of myself. I work out a lot. That was always something that I did. I've always been a husky guy, my weight has always fluctuated in my life, and it's always something I've been very conscious of. This is who I am. This is who I'm always going to be. So there's part of me accepting the nature of who I am and part me wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat well. Just because I eat crazy savory foods that are a large proportion or very spicy, doesn't mean I don't take care of myself.

I eat very well. I work out often. And I approach the challenges. To break it down, like I said earlier, we fly in, we shoot three days. So we shoot one day, we shoot two days. And the third day we do the same thing we did the previous two days. But then at the end of that day is the challenge. So it's a lot of rest. It's a lot of hydrating. It's a lot of eating well. And like I said, I approach it like any pro does. You have to do it— otherwise, if you don't stretch, you're going to get hurt. You're going to pull a muscle. So the same rules apply. And that's how I've always approached it from the very beginning. And having an athletic background has been in my favor in that regard. So I had a sense of it. It was like a gladiator going into an arena. If you've ever seen the show, very much the end of the show is taking on the challenge is just that.

Being cheered on by folks who actually can either make or break a challenge a lot of time. A lot of it is psychological if you prepared well, you're ready to take on whatever challenge it is. Often times, this is the darned truth is that the people there that are cheering on the actual challenge have helped me actually beat it which is insane [laughter]. So anything can happen, really. It's like Any Given Sunday.

Michelle Tompkins:  What is harder? Is it the pain challenges? Or the quantity challenges?

Casey Webb:  Yes [laughter]. They all have their rated difficulty. Some were bigger than others and some are hotter than others so you really have to respect it and you have to prepare yourself. And that's what I do. I've done a lot of capacity challenges and it seems that I do a lot better on the spicier ones. But it's funny, we didn't check the win-loss ratio until recently and I'm doing good. I'm actually up. I'm above 500 which is good which I'm happy about. I mean, anything can happen. But if I won every time, how exciting would that be if I lost every time, again, how exciting would that be? So I'm still good about that.

Michelle Tompkins:  Would the producers gauge your interest in something like Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest? Or is that too popular?

Casey Webb:  Probably not. That's left to the pros [laughter]. I don't know. It's a good question. I'm sure they were very protective of that. Just knowing them, I feel the same way. I think that's an open arena. Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I would be interested. I don't know. The thing is, I don't know if I could come close. I've done a dozen hotdogs in a challenge that— we did that upstate in Sleepy Hollow and that's a lot of hot dogs. But, 70-something hotdogs? I don't know. I'm at 42 years old right now. So it's just that's a young man's game even though some of those guys are— they're just bred to eat. I'm just bred to wear the food that I eat [laughter].

Michelle Tompkins:  Now, is there any kind of food that you don't like to eat?

Casey Webb:  I used to say sea urchin just because I had a bad experience once. But then I went back and revisited and I now take that off the list. I fell in love with sea urchin again. I worked at this Japanese place — their agencies and restaurant in Times Square. And it wasn't there that I had a bad experience, it was somewhere else. But the chef there is Chef Omai, who was there for many years as Morimoto's sous chef and who's his sous chef on Iron Chef, which is insane. And I got to talk to him not too long ago and revisited him at Morimoto and I told him how much I love it — he didn't know anything I was talking about. I just had to tell him that I love sea urchin again. But yes, so for me, there's nothing I don't think— I haven't really ventured into the stuff that Andrew Zimmern does; the squiggly, weird stuff as much. But there's something texturally that can get you.

It depends on the day. I've had a good chicken foot, but I had a bad one. So I'm open to it. I'm open [laughter]. I'm willing to try. I mean, that's the biggest thing. I think if anything would be shown and I've realized after doing three seasons and 38 episodes is that you've got to try. Whether you win or lose. If you don't like it or you do like it, you never know until you try. Very simple logic but it keeps me moving.

Casey Webb gets personal

Michelle Tompkins:  What are some different foods that you like to eat?

Casey Webb:  Oh man, my mom's Italian and Irish, and my dad's Irish. So the Irish cuisine coming out of New York is, it's pretty basic. But my mom's side with the Italian stuff, we ate pizza as a kid. And so I was brought up on pizza. The suburb that I lived in had a pizza place, and the owners were Italian. So they brought Neapolitan pizza to the town I grew up in. They made it, and it was amazing. And it was like, that was my first introduction really. And of course we would make our way into New York City and our father brought us through Chinatown, through Little Italy, up into the Bronx, and so on and so forth. So we tried a lot of food as kids.

There’s so much great food out there. I'm a burger and dog guy. I ate a pizza. But later in life, I was able to explore more foods. When I moved to New York City, I was vegan, believe it or not. I had worked in a health food store for a period of time, and I was vegan, vegetarian and vegan. And then I realized, I was like, ‘Well if I'm working in restaurants, I really need to be open to try different kinds of food from different kinds of places.’ And it dawned on me one day. It was like an awakening. I was like, ‘Okay.’ And then my whole world opened up.

And then I just wouldn't stop going out to different restaurants. So I mean, I fell in love with Indian food. I fell in love with Thai food. I fell in love— it's like Moroccan food. I fell in love with Ethiopian food. So again, it really is like, we would gather as— friends would gather and sit and eat and have a meal. So it was about a— it's a lot of things that come together. It's communal, and it's also trying something new and exciting. So I can't put my finger on it. I love eating.

Casey Webb Courtesy of The Travel Channel

Michelle Tompkins:  What do you like to do for fun, other than eating?

Casey Webb:  You know what's been great? It's afforded me as a result of this show, with the show, is traveling with the show. So travel's always been a big part of my life. Whether it be short road trips. And we've been able to do 38 episodes of travel. That's been really exciting to me. Being in New York and being from New Jersey, I found that it's often important to escape New York, escape from where you're living to go somewhere else, to come back and to really see with open eyes, with fresh eyes. I go down and visit my family in New Jersey all the time. Especially this time of year in New Jersey. Being at the shore this time of year is incredible. Spending time with friends and family down there. I work out a lot. I do hit the gym. I ride my bike a lot too. I love riding bike throughout New York City. Whether I'm riding my own or I jump on a city bike. So that's what keeps me busy.

I’m teaching myself how to play music. I have been doing that for years. That's stuff I do on my own time, which is really exciting. And then this is summer music stuff. I try to see as many concerts as possible from the outdoor arenas to see music. Because I live right near Prospect Park in Brooklyn and there's a bandshell and there's a lot of music there throughout the summer. So yeah, I've been busy. A lot of things that I'd like to do on my own or just for fun have been kind of pushed to the side. But I've been lucky to be able to do new things. And a lot has to do with travel,.

Michelle Tompkins:  Is there anything you want to add about your personal life? Marriage, family, kids? Anything like that?

Casey Webb:  Yeah. I mean, I'm not married. I don't have kids. I feel like it's something that I would love to do at some point in my life. I've never rushed that. As a kid, my parents actually split up when I was a kid. So for me, they were the greatest tool about relationships. It was what it was. And they realized that they needed to move on. So I watched friends get married and divorced. And then marry again. I think a marriage should be once. I mean, hey, if you get married five times, good for you. If you can do that, amazing. But it's not something I've had the opportunity to do.

I've been in several amazing relationships throughout my entire life. Again, I'm in no rush. I'm just waking up to my life seems like. I'm at 42 and a year ago my world exploded and collided with two different things I've been pursuing. And I'm just trying to enjoy that too. Because that seems like that is at me for the most attention. And if I had a kid right now I don't know how that would be. But I guess they say you're never ready [laughter]. And I'm not because I'm definitely not ready.

Michelle Tompkins:  You seem to be more of an outdoor active kind of guy but what TV shows and movies do you like to watch?

Casey Webb:  I revisited Chef's Table which is a great series on Netflix. Which is like they're all over the world and they're cooking and eating. And I definitely watch a lot of comedy stuff. A lot of stand-up. That stuff makes me laugh. Documentaries I've been watching a lot lately. It's funny. I haven't been home. It's like this is the first time I've been able to chill out without watching something on my phone or in an airplane. It's funny. I joke about this all the time. Is that there's something on an airplane that I would watch openly and probably weep and laugh out loud easier than I would if I were at home. There's something about a plane like, ‘Oh I'll watch that. Like why not?’ So I pretty much watch every movie that's available on Delta and laugh and cry throughout them all [laughter].

Michelle Tompkins:  Now, how do you like your fans to connect with you?

Casey Webb:  It's been amazing, because I didn't even know what this show was going to be or look like before it started airing. And then it started airing and then all the sudden it started being noticed like on the street, or in the airport, or in a restaurant. And then that's just been accelerated like through the stratosphere as a result of it being on now for three seasons. People come on up to me and it's like the greatest thing. It's like people feel like they— I feel people, they feel like they can come up to me and talk to me. And they can. And really I love it.  Because you don't expect it. Because they know you but you don't know them. So the only way to treat anybody I think in life anyway is if you meet them as if you know them. It's like, ‘Hey.’ ‘Hey.’ And then it takes away any tension or any pretense. It's like— and it's nice that people feel that they can do that. That they can come up to me and meet me in person. When they see me they could come talk to me and say hello. I was at a restaurant outside— in New York. And I was with some friends and the table at the next restaurant called their roommates and said, ‘Casey's at this restaurant next door.’ They waited until I finished dinner with my friends, these two other— their roommates. They waited somewhere and walked over, all of them as a group, to say hello to me. Which is amazing. They were like, ‘We waited until you were— no we didn't want to bother you.’ I was like, ‘You could have came up.’ So that was kind of yea that was wild.

And then when we first got off the road season one started airing I had friends of mine and they were like, ‘We're watching the show and our kids are watching the show.’ and I was like, ‘Oh that's amazing. your kids are watching.’ And he was like, ‘No you don't get it. They don't let us watch anything and we're watching the show with them.’ and I was like, ‘oh man.’ So like families are watching the show and that really hit home with me. I mean for me if I can make a kid laugh or smile, I feel like I've done my job.

Michelle Tompkins:  What are your social media handles?

Casey Webb:  Oh yeah, on that note. Yeah, totally social media. I love when people reach out and stuff I do my best to respond and/or repost pictures if we've met if we haven't. There's a lot of traffic on social media. So Instagram is Iamhusky4life and it's a number 4 [laughter]. iamhusky4life. and I had that before I had the show so that's a real thing. And it's I-A-M-H-U-S-K-Y-4-L-I-F-E. On Facebook it's just Casey Webb. And then Twitter is CaseysCall So C-A-S-E-Y-S-C-A-L-L. So I guess when I did that I guess I was calling the shots. I don't know whatever that means, Casey's Call.

Michelle Tompkins:  Now is there any charity you wish to mention?

Casey Webb:  Oh yes of course. So I was lucky enough about eight, nine years ago now, a friend of mine was a director of a camp. And she was like, ‘Hey we need guys to help out with this camp.’ And I was like Oh okay great.’  And so I didn't know really what it was all about. She was just like, ‘There's a lot of women that are involved and we need some more guys.’ And so I wound up going to the camp and it was in New Jersey. So unbeknownst to me, it was people that suffered a traumatic brain injury. So whether it be folks that were born with having seizures or folks that had some sort of brain trauma. So it's Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey is the organization. And so every summer for the last eight or so years — last year I wasn't able to get there — but they have this camp. And it's basically your classic summer camp and it really gives rest to caregivers and parents of folks that have had some sort of traumatic brain injury.

I liked playing sports my whole life some playing football in high school and college, it was something that was pretty close to home, and I didn't even realize until I got there you know I spent one day and I realized that I needed to come back. Then I was working restaurants and I cleared the rest of my schedule just so that I could stay at camp the rest of the week. I just fell in love with the campers and the counselors and the organization. It’s been pretty important to me. It’s one of those things that you could scratch your knee and it'll heal but if you bump your head it’s not always the same results. And forks and campers and people that have ever suffered any sort of brain injury. I've definitely had concussions playing sports, so I have experienced this.

And giving your time to someone else is a huge selfless act. So, there's something very freeing about it, but it's a lot of work, and there's a lot of love there too. So yeah. I fell in love with that community about eight years ago or so.

Michelle Tompkins:  Now, where is somewhere you want to travel to but haven't been to yet?

Casey Webb:  For this show or just generally?

Michelle Tompkins:  Generally. Either or both, actually.

Casey Webb:  I mean, this show would be great to go to Europe. I've never been to Italy. I've never been to Spain. But I've been to Ireland and Portugal. And I mean, Asia; anywhere in Asia maybe for this show, truthfully. I've been to lots of parts of Canada, and I think if we do something in Canada, we'd probably have to do several episodes, which I'm totally excited for the opportunity to do that. We'll see. Alaska— it's funny because in the first season, this same production company who is Pretty Thing, Man v. Food, the second version was— and so they knew what they were doing. I had no idea [laughter] what I was doing. So I was just holding on for the first season, and even the second and third season. But I got a little more comfortable now and maybe offer a little bit input about potentially where we could go. So I did say Alaska, and I did say Hawaii.

So last season, we got to go to Hawaii, which is amazing [laughter]. New Mexico is someplace I've yet to visit in the States, and I really love the desert. And we spent some time in California, in the desert, Arizona. But I'd love to spend more time exploring that part of the world in the States. I mean, there are so many places to see in the States. And it's really like as a kid, TV was the adventure that you'd take outside. But being on the road for this past year, it's like I'm able to take an adventure and revisit that, which has been pretty amazing. So two points in my life, as a kid exploring TV and running outside, I'm doing that again but as an adult. I'm actually there in those places that maybe I've seen on TV as a kid. So I'm very much with kid's eyes of my perch in this whole thing. And I just hope to stay that way [laughter] as long as possible.

Michelle Tompkins:  When do you start taping season four?

Casey Webb:  That's a good question. We're waiting to hear about all that stuff. I think there's a lot going on with Discovery absorbing Scripps— because Scripps was absorbed by Discovery. So there's been a lot of inner changes with network and stuff, but— yeah. So we are starting with three episodes very quickly, and now we have 38 episodes. I think they pumped the breaks, so I can rest a little bit, and the production company. So yeah. I think it's just about airtime. So we don't know yet, which is, in all honesty, I'm not sure.

Michelle Tompkins:  Now, what's something you want people to know about you?

Casey Webb:  That I haven't exposed on TV. It's a good question. I would like to think that I am— oh, I know I am. I feel like I am just as friendly of a person as I am on TV than I am in person. And I feel like I've gotten that as a response with people that I meet people who have no problem saying hello to me which is great. I'd never want to be the guy that you can't stop and say hello to. So, yeah. By all means, come say hello [laughter]. Take a second to say hi. Don't be afraid to say hello. I'll totally appreciate it. One can never have enough friends in life.

Michelle Tompkins:  Do you have a favorite challenge? Or is that like choosing your favorite child [laughter]?

Casey Webb:  Wow. Do I have a favorite challenge? The one that's over quickly [laughter] because I'd remember it's a half an hour. Oh, you have six minutes. I can tell you the least favorite ones are the longest ones because if you have an hour to finish something and you don't finish it in half an hour, you're not going to finish it [laughter]. Because just physically, you're not going to do it. So I would say the shortest ones are the better ones.

Michelle Tompkins:  That makes sense. Even though some of the shorties seem to be the painful ones.

Casey Webb:  Oh, please stop. Hit the buzzer. I'm ready [laughter].

Michelle Tompkins:  Was there anything else you'd like to add, Casey? 

Casey Webb:  To be honest with you, I'm so very grateful and slightly overwhelmed about how positive the experience has been overall. And I will reiterate that the fact that families sitting down and watching the show and coming together and joining and having a laugh, by taking a break away from their lives and stuff, I feel I'm doing something right. And in my line of work, you don't often get that as responses or the feedback. And I'm getting almost immediate feedback from the work that I'm doing and that's pretty special. And there was another thing that I had learned prior to the show airing is that anytime we show whether it'd be my show or somebody else's show, those to restaurant or business, they have the opportunity to increase their— or the show does at least try to increase the business by 40 percent. And that to me is that's a game changer.

If you keep a business alive and when I heard that I almost feel I have a responsibility to the business owner personally to do this. When I find myself having trouble having the motivation to do something, I often think about that.

Casey Webb can be seen on season seven of Man v Food on the Travel Channel with season eight, hopefully coming to a city near you soon.  Follow him here.

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Michelle Tompkins

Michelle Tompkins is an award-winning media, PR and crisis communications professional with more than ten years experience with coverage in virtually every traditional and new media outlet. She is currently a communications and media strategist and writer, as well as the author of College Prowler: Guidebook for Columbia University. She served as the Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of the USA where she managed all media and talking points, created social media strategy, trained executives and donors and served as the organization’s primary spokesperson, participating in daily interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets. She managed the media for the Let Me Know internet safety and Cyberbullying prevention campaign with Microsoft, as well as Girl Scouts’ centennial Year of the Girl To Get Her There celebration in 2012, which yielded more than 800 million earned media impressions. In addition to her extensive media experience, Michelle worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, California, as well contracting as a digital content developer and her writing has appeared in newspapers and online. She is passionate about television, theater, classic movies, all things food and in-home entertaining. While she has lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade, she is from suburban Sacramento and gets back there often to watch the San Francisco Giants on TV with her family.

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