'Amazing Race' 's Mike White Doesn't Regret Underwear Jog in Siberia

Photo: CBS

School of Rock screenwriter Mike White, 38, had long admired The Amazing Race from the safety of his Pasadena, Calif., couch. When he decided to try out for the globe-trotting competition, he convinced his father Mel White, a 68-year-old gay-rights activist and pastor living in Lynchburg, Va., to go along for the ride. Even though they were eliminated just shy of the top five — essentially thanks to one bad decision — the fan favorites don’t regret a single moment of the competition. Not even the pulled groin or the unflattering white leotard. — Carrie Bell

A lot of fans were sad to see you guys go last night.Mike: We were sad too. Of course we’ve had some more time to get used to the idea that we didn’t make it to the end. I feel like we could have gone farther. We just had a bad taxi driver and a really off day and you can’t afford to have an off day when it gets down to six teams.

Was there ever a moment where you thought the driver was wrong and you should have stayed with the group?Mike: At that moment when we saw all of the other teams, the driver was on the phone and said he suddenly felt like he knew where to go. Even though the other racers were all going the other direction, they didn’t seem to know where they were going. I would probably do the same thing again because you think, “Maybe we can get ahead if this guy is right and we can get ahead of all the chaos.” Mel: We had also done a lot of work at the Bangkok airport talking to a lot of who live in Phuket and they all looked at the gorilla and said it was at Patong Beach so we had this whole community of advice givers who were wrong and we were lead by the misinformation.

Mike, what made you want to be on reality TV?Mike: I knew it would be a blast and stimulating and a challenge. … And going with my dad was a once in a lifetime opportunity as clich as that sounds. … I didn’t expect the kind of positive feedback it could bring my dad. He speaks in places where they say the most hateful things about gay and literally spit at him and now, to have the country see him as the humorous, compassionate and fun guy that he is, helps change the reactions he gets. That is one of the cooler fallout aspects of it. It can help change ’s minds about gay .

Did you have a favorite place or moment?Mel: I liked the paragliding and not just because it saved me from death. But I also liked getting to the mat because they always had some sort of cultural outbreak like the ballet troupe. I loved those moments. Mike: I’ve got to say that I was really into the gymnastics at Nadia Comaneci’s facility. It was so ridiculous — that white leotard! And my favorite moment watching the show was watching Tammy try to do a somersault.

Being a public figure, were you ever worried about making a fool of yourself? You did jog in your underwear.Mel: He looked good though, didn’t he? Mike: Thanks, Dad. My philosophy in life is if you take yourself so seriously and try to protect your image, you will miss out on cool opportunities. Then the tail’s wagging the dog. As I sat down to watch it Sunday night, there was a pang of anxiety. Are we going to look like morons when we listen to that driver and go to the wrong place? That was more embarrassing than jogging half-naked in Siberia. But it is not something I will ever regret doing. And lots of good comedy takes place in underwear.

Your good friend Jack Black certainly knows that. Have he and any of your other famous pals been watching or teasing you?Mike: When I first told him and other that I was doing it, they were shocked and … I felt like they thought, “What are you doing going on reality TV?” But as the shows have aired and they have started watching to support me, they are becoming fans of the show. … No mater how fun or glamorous your lifestyle is, there is no denying that doing The Amazing Race is such a unique opportunity.

Has any part of the Race become inspiration for a movie script? Mike: As stereotypical as some of the moments seem — like when there are a bunch of Siberians drinking vodka and singing songs at 8 a.m. — you realize that they try to be very real. There were drinking at 8 a.m. all over Siberia who had nothing to do with the show. I need to get outside of L.A. and realize that there are so many different cultures and lives, and that part inspires me.

Mel, did you ever get that mai tai or massage you talked about? Mel: I have not gotten any mai tai offers but I am getting marriage proposals from every rest home in the country. And I have to say, “Sorry. Already taken.” CBS

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