Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spotlight: 'Them Yo People' Focuses on St. Louisans for Laughs, Lessons

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spotlight: 'Them Yo People' Focuses on St. Louisans for Laughs, Lessons

Article excerpt

"Whaddaya say, whaddaya say," is how it always begins.

Resplendent in ruby threads and conspicuous with crown and scepter, that's how "Mister Gary" Boyd kicks off each episode of "Them Yo People," an unscripted man-on-the-street show that airs at midnight Sunday on KDNL (Channel 30).

"We're the only true reality show. There is absolutely no script, nothing rehearsed. There are no cuts, no editing, and I don't tell people what questions I'm going to ask beforehand," Boyd said, then laughed.

"Heck, I don't even know what questions I'm going to ask until I get there."

The "there" of which Boyd speaks could be anywhere in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area.

Sometimes it focuses on huge spectaculars like Fair St. Louis and Cardinals Opening Day; other times, it will show up at neighborhood to-dos, like parades, birthday parties, barbecues and even karaoke contests.

Once on the scene, Boyd seeks out interesting-looking characters for example, a scripture-spouting Jheri-curled man who bills himself as "Reverend Rufus with the Golden Toofus" and peppers them with random questions.

"We're just trying to put a smile on people's faces, end your week with a laugh," said Boyd, who bills himself as the "King of Hospitality."

Boyd, 52, is a lifelong St. Louisan. He grew up in University City ("U. City High, Class of '82. Black and gold, big and bold") and worked at the school newspaper and yearbook and got his first taste of the hospitality industry working the concessions stand at Heman Park.

"They had a pool and a skating rink, and that's where I learned about customer service," said Boyd, who is single and lives in west St. Louis County.

After high school, he went to the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he said he got a crash course in being hospitable, or at least trying hard to be.

"I worked in the financial aid office. I was the person who answered the phone when you called," he said. "Believe me, you learn fast about customer service when the first thing they say is 'Where's my money? …

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