Exclusive: THE HARD TIMES OF RJ BERGER’s Jayson Blair Interview

jayson blair

THE HARD TIMES OF RJ BERGER returns for its second hilarious season with a special airing after the Jersey Shore finale Thursday, March 24. In the popular MTV comedy, Jayson Blair plays super-jock and class president Max Owens, who spends his free time torturing RJ (Paul Iacono), but who may also have more problems of his own than we realized.

Besides playing Max, Jayson has guest-starred on such shows as Glee, Heroes, and Rizzoli and Isles, and he will appear in the March 30 episode of Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.

Daemon’s TV talked to Jayson about what we can expect for Max in season two of RJ Berger, why Max is such a bully, and what it was like working with Forest Whitaker.

Congratulations on season two of ‘The Hard Times of RJ Berger’. It’s a fun show.

Jayson Blair: I’m very excited, thank you. It really is a funny show and we have a great time on it.

Your character, Max, seems to have everything going on, so why is he such a jerk?

Jayson Blair: Well, I think on the outside he has everything, but in high school everyone is fueled by these insecurities that create who you are. So I think that Max does a lot of things just appease his peers in school, that they have his perception of him that he has to live up to. So even if he doesn’t want to give RJ a hard time or some of the other kids at school he kind of has to or he won’t live up to the Max Owens name. He goes out of his way to do a lot of that stuff to keep his name alive, I think.

Are we going to get more into Max in the second season, see what’s driving him?

Jayson Blair: Oh, you’re going to see a whole lot of crazy shit with Max this year. You’re going to see a lot more of him as a human being and what kids struggling with that kind of stuff go through. There’s going to be a very interesting set of circumstances that Max goes through and the viewers will see him go through that are going to be really amazing, I guess.

It wasn’t going so well for him in the season finale. He was being punched in a place you really don’t want to get punched. Do we pick up right from there in the season two premiere?

Jayson Blair: We do. We pick up right from there, and there’s definitely hell to pay for Miles. Season two, the premiere episode starts out with RJ. He’s between Amber or Jenny, and Max is out for blood. He’s pissed at RJ because of the whole Jenny thing and he’s also about to kill Miles. So, Coach recommends that we settle it in the ring, like Max is beating Miles’ ass in the gym and then we have this huge Sumo wrestling match where we put on Sumo suits. It’s really crazy and it’s a lot of fun. So we were stuck in these Sumo suits for two days, Miles and Max and we just went after it. It was insane. It’s really hilarious and a whole lot of crazy, but I definitely pay him back times ten.

We do see a softer side of Max in the episode called ‘Rebound’ in the first season. Will see more of that side of him in season two?

Jayson Blair: Yes. You’ll some vulnerability and you’ll see some softer things. Max is the same old Max times two, I guess. Everything that everyone loved about the first season the second season does as well. Since the show did so well everybody did steroids and we just pumped it up. No. It’s crazy.

Max is still a dick. That’s just how he is. That’s how he feels. That’s how he runs. That’s how he’s going to be all of season two, but you will see these glimpses of the humanity inside of him, that he is a little bit vulnerable and does react to certain things and has thoughts about the things that he does. It’s going to be very interesting because these are all things, you saw a touch of it in ‘Rebound’ like you were saying, but you’re going to see him very, very vulnerable at one point in the season. It’s going to be pretty shocking.

Can you tease anything about his love life? Is there any hope for Max and Jenny?

Jayson Blair: Max and Jenny. I think that Max loves Jenny and he’s always going to love Jenny, but in season two you’re going to see a lot of Max and Robin Pretnar and she is a bi-otch. She’s a female Max. She’s stepping up to the plate and she’s making people’s lives hell and is being a major bitch.

How much fun is it shooting this show? You all just seem to go for it in every scene.

Jayson Blair: It’s crazy. We’re like a family. Like, Paul [Iacono] lived with me when we shot the first season. He’d work a lot more than I did and so I’d go out to dinner or whatever and then I’d come home and put my leftovers in the fridge and he would eat all of them. I’d wake up to eat them the next and they’d be gone and he’d be on set. So when I came to set I took my aggression on him sometimes because I know that it really gets to him.

So, me, Paul and Jareb [Dauplaise] are like three brothers. We have a lot of fun together on and off set. We’re all crazy boys and we love the girls as well. So we manage to have a really good time while you’re on set.

Some of you guys did MTV’s Spring Break. What does that entail for you?

Jayson Blair: Paul, myself and Amber just got back. I think I almost died. Every time I go to Vegas I have a near death experience. I need to not go there. We had a lot of fun. We went to Spring Break and a lot of it was on camera. So we did something for ‘MTV U’, promoting the show and MTV2 and MTV as well. We also did a tie in with Disney’s ‘Prom’. So they asked us questions about our prom and who we went with and so on and so forth, to tie in with that.

Then we did a ‘Ten Spot’ promotion which promotes our second episode which guest starring a special guest, Vinny [Guadagnino] from ‘The Jersey Shore’ who’s a great guy and a super hard worker. So we did a tie in with ‘Scream 4’ and Aimee Teegarden who’s a sweetheart. So the three of us and Aimee did a little Ten Spot thing that’s going to premiere on the night of Vinny’s episode which is the 28th. So we had a lot of fun.

We got in on Saturday night. I had set up a dinner and then going out after. Then it was a fun day and we worked all day and we were done by nine o’clock Sunday night. We went out to dinner and went out and then Monday day I just enjoyed the concerts. It was great. As a child watching Spring Break I always wanted to go. I never did and I’m so happy that I got to see it from afar, from a balcony overlooking everything, like my own little ant farm of craziness. It was fun to watch.

You’re also on the March 30th “Jane” episode of ‘Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior’. What can you say about that role?

Jayson Blair: That was unbelievable. It’s a very different character for me and I play a guy named Mike. I’m at a club with my girlfriend and am I a killer, am I not the killer and I turn out to be a really nice guy. We’re in the parking lot and of course there’s a woman struggling and so you have to go check it out or else there’s no show. Conflict ensues and next you see me extremely vulnerable on my deathbed and it’s me and Forest Whitaker in this really beautiful and intimate scene. And I can’t tell you what happened to me, but it’s not good.

What was it like working with Forest Whitaker?

Jayson Blair: I mean, that guy is amazing. We shot his close-up first on this scene of mine where I’m on my deathbed and then we went around to my close-up and every time we went to start I was super full and it was this really intense emotional scene and that bed, that hospital bed kept going flat for no reason. He’d put his arm on the bed and it’d go flat for no reason. It happened like four times in a row.

It’s really hard to stay in that place when the bed is going down and he’s like, ‘What the hell is going on with this bed?’ He said, ‘Are you all right, Jayson?’ He was really concerned about me, getting the right place and then finally they put the bed in position and pulled the plug out so that it wouldn’t happen again. I said, ‘I’m so sorry guys. Can I have one minute,’ and Forest goes, ‘Everybody quiet. Jayson, take as much time as you want. You have want five minutes, you want thirty minutes, do it. You tell them when you’re ready. Everybody got that? We’re cool. Take your time, Jayson.’ I did. I took a minute and said I was ready and it was, honest to God, probably the most honest and full acting moment of my life.

So it was cool because he asked the woman playing my mother what show that I was on and then he and I talked for a long time and he said, ‘What show are you on? You’re great, man. I want to check this out.’ So, we had a nice, long talk. He talked to me for like a half hour, forty-five minutes, and it was really interesting getting a perspective from somebody who carries that much weight and is so amazing and of course is an Academy Award winner, needless to say. So it was exceptional to meet somebody who’s that willing to work with somebody and give advice after I’m sure he’s done that a million times and hates it. But he’s very generous and honest and super cool.

Are there any other shows on the air that you’d love to guest star on?

Jayson Blair: Oh, my God. I’d kill a small child to be on ‘Breaking Bad’. Not really, but I would love to be on ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘True Blood’ or Californication’, which is my favorite show. ‘Spartacus’ I would love to be on. I’m in ‘Spartacus’ shape and am ready to go to do this. What else? I think that ‘Nurse Jackie’ to guest star on also, but definitely if I could do anything on ‘Californication’ or ‘True Blood’ or Spartacus’ or ‘Breaking Bad’ I’d be the happiest man alive.

You can follow Jayson on Twitter @Jayson_Blair

The second season of The Hard Times of RJ Berger premieres on a special day and time: Thursday, March 24 at 11pm eastern/10 central following the season finale of Jersey Shore. It then settles into its regular Monday 10pm eastern/9 central timeslot on March 28.

Don’t forget to watch Jayson on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Wednesday, March 30 at 10pm eastern/9 central on CBS.

Follow me on Twitter @michstjame