ALL FIRED UP

These days, Don­ald Trump seems to be look­ing for a court jester rather than an ap­pren­tice. That’s what Guy Davis took away from a view­ing of Celebrity Ap­pren­tice.

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nec­es­sar­ily false look at how big busi­ness op­er­ated.

Nowa­days, of course, the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis has re­vealed cap­i­tal­ism as some­thing of a bad joke at best and a rigged game at worst. And one gets the feel­ing that watch­ing a bunch of would-be busi­ness barons strug­gling to make their mark would be kind of de­press­ing, re­ally. The so­lu­tion? Celebri­ties! In­tro­duc­ing fa­mous ( or at least fa­mil­iar) faces into a tiring for­mat is pretty much a guar­an­teed wake-up call, and it’s one The Ap­pren­tice has been us­ing for a few years now.

While the last sea­son of the show – the 10th, be­lieve it or not – went back to ba­sics by us­ing non-celebri­ties, its low rat­ings in the US made it a fore­gone con­clu­sion that larger-than-life per­son­al­i­ties would be vy­ing against one an­other for the favour of The Don­ald ( as Trump has been called in the past, some­times by him­self).

What wasn’t ex­pected, how­ever, was how larger-than-life the per­son­al­i­ties would be.

Re­al­ity TV doesn’t re­ally at­tract the A-list. You’re not likely to see Johnny Depp dancing with the stars or An­gelina Jolie tak­ing part in an amaz­ing race. So in lieu of ac­tual star power, shows such as Celebrity Ap­pren­tice need a bit of out­ra­geous­ness, a touch of crazi­ness.

In short, they need Gary Busey.

The one-time Os­car-nom­i­nated ac­tor – who in re­cent years, thanks to a drug habit, a head in­jury caused by a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent and good­ness only knows what else, has re-emerged as a gen­uinely weird re­al­ity-TV reg­u­lar – is among a rogues’ gallery of char­ac­ters par­tic­i­pat­ing in Trump’s chal­lenge this time around, with their win­nings go­ing to a char­ity of their choice.

( Ap­pro­pri­ately, and some­what sweetly, Busey’s char­ity is The Cen­tre for Head In­jury Ser­vices.)

Some are le­git­i­mately tal­ented peo­ple – leg­endary singer Dionne War­wick or

bel­ter Meat Loaf, for in­stance – but oth­ers are … well, not.

I mean, Sur­vivor champ Richard Hatch’s main claims to fame are ( a) get­ting naked, and ( b) go­ing to prison. ( In that or­der, by the way.) Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes’ pri­mary skills seem to be her over­bear­ing na­ture and over­whelm­ing sense of en­ti­tle­ment. And LaToya Jack­son? Enough said.

So it’s not ex­actly the tele­vi­sion ver­sion of an MBA from the Har­vard Busi­ness School. But ask your­self this ques­tion: why would you want some­thing like that when you could see Gary Busey throw­ing pieces of pep­per­oni at peo­ple walk­ing down the street? ( Don’t ask. Just watch.)

Be­sides, the celebrity ap­proach is far more ap­peal­ing to the man run­ning the show. “ I find it much more ap­peal­ing to work with them than peo­ple I’ve never heard of,” he said. “ The level of fight­ing was amaz­ing.”

Fam­ily busi­ness: Don­ald Trump with chil­dren and Celebrity Ap­pren­tice judges Eric and Ivanka. Right: The celebri­ties com­pete for the role of ap­pren­tice.

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