That's A Wrap! We just wrapped Season 2 Of my Free Speech TV Show Karel Life In Segments with A Controversial Question: Will I Or Won't I?
Will I Be Talked In To Burning "Holy" Books on TV?
I didn't want to stir controversy, particularly at this time of contention in the US. I was simply cleaning house one day. I was bringing in a ladder. The ladder hit a stack of Bibles, literally, and they fell. My roommate said, hey, why not get rid of them? I panicked.
Now, I'm no stranger to controversy: Whether it's making headlines two days before Obama's election for an off-air comment that went viral or bumper music song choices on the day Reagan died, I have been the focus of international media scrutiny many times. Even this week. I got into the Hillary/Reagan AIDS battle with my heart and soul on air, crying. I lived through it, lost most of my friends to it, and hated the Reagans. I played "ding-dong the witch is dead" the day Ronald died, and I tried to stay out of it for Nancy, but when Hillary got flack, I jumped in. You see, she, Hillary, can't take away all the pain I endured through the crisis, and all the loss my friends suffered. She didn't cause the problem, Nancy and Ron did. You can hear that show here. But I warn you, it's explicit and I use a very strong word, offensive, to describe Mrs. Reagan.
Well, here I go again. I simply wanted to film the final episode of Season 2 of that is being called my groundbreaking reality-talk show Karel: Life In Segments. The topic turned to purging and letting go of old items to make way for the new. Now to the Bibles, you see me and my late husband Andrew Howard, collected Bibles, Qurans, Books of Mormon, and The Books of Buddha from all the hotel rooms we ever stayed in; Over 250 of them all told. Andrew wanted to "keep dangerous propaganda out of the hands of impressionable children or adults who won't know how to interpret the book of stories." We even did a segment on it in 2000 on our afternoon drive show on KFI AM 640. On it, a representative from the Gideons, one of the groups that supplies hotels with the books, told us they encourage people to take them, so no, we weren't stealing.
My Andrew died in 2001 but the tradition continued. Until March of 2016 when, while filming the finale of the TV show Life In Segments at my home, Park Howard, in Long Beach, CA, I decided it was time to lift the weight of over 250 books.
I recycled most, all but the original 10 Andrew took from Europe in 1999. I tell the camera as production partner Brandon R. Miller works his magic with six cameras covering me in front of a fire pit. Brandon talked me in to this segment. I was going to keep all this private. Because I really don't want to offend anyone. But Andrew was a rabid atheist, and really believed the Bible was a dangerous book because people didn't know it was just stories to inspire or warn, not actual truth or fact or doctrine. His entire life was affected by Christianity and organized religion as a whole in a very negative way, due in part to his HIV status in the early days of AIDS. So, it's only appropriate that these 10 end up here, in the fire pit. But, will I burn them? I ask viewers.
(The answer is in Episode 2.13 which airs March 26, 1900 PST on Free Speech TV (national) and then online at ReallyKarel.com, LifeInSegments.com, FreeSpeech.org, and YouTube.com/charlesbouley.)
But really, it's not the burning that's the problem, even for me. It's the thought of it. Whether I do it or not isn't important, but the fact that people think I would, that they think I might, it bothers them. It bothers me, and I'm an atheist too. And why? It's paper, ink; their God has survived much worse, so what is the objection really about? What is mine?
But it appears that pushing the envelope has been the main stay for my "innovate mix of reality and talk show," according to my press. When I had the idea to do a show that wasn't a talk show, wasn't a reality show, but a mix, a way to bring real issues to light through my life, a life lived in many segments, much like the viewer's it seemed crazy. But now more people from Chelsey Handler to major shows for Comedy Central and others are following the lead and setting entire shows out of the studio based around an entertainer or host's life or travels.
Now, the show is wrapping its second season and Free Speech TV has given Karel the green light for Season 3. Two years ago this was a dream. Now, we have 26 episodes done, are getting ready to film 13 more, do a DVD release of the first two seasons and we are licensing overseas... for once, even I can't believe it's happening. Don't sit around if you have... Oh crap, I was about to sound like a cliché. But it's true. I willed this entire thing in to existence, each week, Brandon and I will this thing in to existence, an then it's here, it's real, and we're doing it. You really are far more capable of making your dreams come true than you know, if you acknowledge they may not come true in the way you envisioned, but still are the same dream.
If you don't make it a nightmare and I'm afraid people are going to just not understand. I don't want to offend, I just want to be true to what Andrew would have done with the books he collected. He would have burned them. Will I? Watch and see. The answer may surprise you. It surprised me.
The show airs Saturday at 7pm PST, and then repeats on Sunday and again on Tuesday. It features segments from all areas of my life and yours, politics to cooking, dog care to personal issues and guests from Long Beach, CA, Hollywood, CA and across the globe. It returns to Ireland in Season 3 for another trip to The Outing and will begin with a superstar session of Karel and Company remaking a very special song.
Karel by Steven Underhill
I don't want to offend anyone with the end of Season 2, but you see, it's not about me, or the books, or the viewers really. Those 10 are about Andrew, his memory and what he would have wanted. He would love the horror I see in people's faces when they walk past my fire pit and see 10 'holy' books sitting there as kindling. Offensive? Well, let's just say Christians have never really worried about offending gays, so they can take a little jab meant to create thought and discussion and not to harm or offend. Perhaps leaving them sitting there is enough.
Pushing the envelope is what the show has done and will continue to do into Season 3. For more information go to http://www.reallykarel.com or http://www.lifeinsegments.com.
Karel: LIfe In Segments was created by Karel and is produced, filmed and edited by Karel and Brandon Riley Miller with Miller handling all filming, pre-and-post production duties. It is filmed at Karel's home, Park Howard, in Long Beach, CA and all throughout Southern California and the world.