Lately, it seems like TV shows are hitting the road with increasing frequency. This trend started several years ago with American Idol‘s “American Idols Live” show, and continued with the annual So You Think You Can Dance tour. But it’s not just made-famous-by-TV singers and dancers hitting the road–TV chefs Anthony Bourdain and Guy Fieri are also in the middle of multi-city tours.
An Idols or SYTYCD tour makes a lot of sense. These are reality series dedicated to showcasing performers, so seeing them perform live seems a natural extension. But what’s the deal with the touring chef stage shows? In Fieri’s show, he cooks (a little) and tells stories (frequently) and goofs around (a lot). Bourdain’s show, I discovered when I finally found a description, will entail, “speaking on many different topics including his travels, restaurants, books, and of course food…[and] also…taking questions from the audience.” Not exactly the same as seeing the chefs cook and/or eat on TV, so what is it, then, that makes audiences pay to see TV personalities live on stage?
At this point, I feel I should confess that I have attended two Idol tours (seasons 1 & 2) and one SYTYCD tour (season 2) and just saw the “Guy Fieri Road Show” last week in Milwaukee. So I’m not only a critic, I’m also a fan. And I admit that there’s something really exhilirating about seeing your TV favorites out of the box (literally) and live in person (even from the second balcony). In fact, when alerted to the fact that Guy Fieri was on tour and coming to Milwaukee, I knew right away that I wanted to go–even though I had no idea what the show would include. (In fact, I didn’t know until it started. It’s hard to find useful descriptions!)
But why do I (and 2500 other people at Guy’s Milwaukee show alone) flock to the theaters? Is it just a matter of fandom? We show up because we want to see the objects of our affection in person? Because we want to brand ourselves as a true fan? Because we just can’t get enough of these folks?
For me, it was all of these things, and I’ve always enjoyed my TV tour experiences. Nonetheless, I can’t help but wonder what’s next. Lost: The Musical? The Office On Ice?