His character, Dr. Jake Marshak, may have been killed off by a deranged serial killer on ABC Daytime's now defunct sudser Port Charles, but model-turned-actor-turned-reality show staple Rib Hillis lived on, not only to tell the tale, but to make his mark on such reality show hits as America's Next Top Model and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Not that he's totally forgotten about acting, there was his role in the recent, wacky SyFy flick Dinocroc vs. Supergator!
Whatever gig he's doing at the time, Hillis gives his all, which means comedy fans who head out to the ACME Comedy Theatre in Los Angeles (135 N. La Brea Ave) this Saturday night at 7 pm PST are in for a treat, since Hillis will be hosting ACME Saturday Night. I caught up with Hillis to talk about the many torquiose thongs, er hats he wears and what he thinks about trying on comedy for the first time. I also found out if the hearttrob keeps up with any other PC alums and whether or not he would do another soap—never say never.
Daytime Confidential: You're mostly known for appearing on hit reality shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and America's Next Top Model. What made you decide to try your hand at sketch comedy?
Rib Hillis: I was drinking when I was asked. No, just kidding! [Laughs] Actually, I have always had a secret, or not so secret, desire to do comedy. I have so much respect for actors who can do comedy. It is really the hardest form of acting. But because good comedic actors make it look easy, people think it is easier than it is. We shall see if I can make it look easy! [Laughs]
DC: What's it been like working with the wacky crew at ACME?
RH: The crew at ACME are the best. Right when I walked in the first night, I was immediately put at ease and realized that I was in good hands here—literally. One of the sketches we read through called for a male cast member to ‘molest’ me! Anything for a laugh, right? [Laughs] But we came up with four amazing sketches for me, I was literally laughing out loud when I read them. The ACME cast are not only fantastic comedic actors, but great writers as well.
DC: In a bit of Six Degrees of Soap-eration, Eric Martsolf, whom you once pinch hit for on the defunct NBC sudser Passions, has become an ACME favorite. He recently hosted ACME Saturday Night and returned this past Friday for Unscripted Hollywood Dream Role. Did you run into him at all this past week? If so did he give you any pointers on hosting the show?
RH: I have not seen Eric yet, but I will be going on Friday to see him guest star in Unscripted Hollywood Dream Role. It is a fun bit of soap-eration that he is performing on Friday and I am performing on Saturday, and that I filled in for him on Passions! [Laughs] Only in Hollywood!
DC: Since we're dishing soaps, daytime fans, who may not remember your blink-and-you-missed-it stint as Ethan on Passions, will more likely recall your appearance as Dr. Jake Marshak on ABC's short-lived General Hospital spinoff Port Charles. Do you still keep in touch with any of the original PC interns?
RH: I am still close with Nolan North, who played Dr. Chris Ramsey. We are both dads now and we have play dates from time to time. I love hanging with him. He is one of the funniest people I know! We laugh our heads off every time. He may be coming to the show on Saturday.
DC: Would you ever do another soap?
RH: I learned a long time ago to never say never. Doing a soap was a great experience, and I would definitely consider doing another.
DC: In addition to acting and your stints on reality TV, you're one of the most successful male models in the world. Has it been difficult for you to make the transition from model-to-actor-to-reality TV?
RH: [Laughs] Thanks for the complement! I have always just tried to be myself, whatever I do, so if it is modeling, or acting or building things on reality TV, I just go at it the same. Sometimes it is a challenge to get others to see you in a different light— to take you seriously as an actor or believe you are qualified as a carpenter. I have been very fortunate to have such a long and diverse career. I hope it goes on much longer. I love my job..or jobs!
DC: What kind of sketches have the ACME writers prepared for you? Will any spoof your soap or reality show past?
RH: The sketches are hilarious! We are spoofing everything from my recent Syfy movie, Dinocroc vs. Supergator to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I think people will really enjoy the show, regardless of whether or not they are fans of mine. Oh yeah, there is one video sketch that has me in a turquoise thong jogging down La Brea Avenue, ala Borat. Don’t miss it!