Murtz On The Scene: Exclusive Interview With The Celebrity Apprentice‘s Sig Hansen

 

Known for his starring role on the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, Captain Sig Hansen flew under the radar on this season of The Celebrity Apprentice. Last week, Hansen assumed the project manager position for the first time on a task that asked the teams to created a themed party cruise for Circle Line. Hansen went head to head against Team Infinity’s Brandi Glanville and the pair certainly steered their respective ships in completely different directions. While Hansen chose to turn his boat into “The Sexiest Catch,” (complete with Hooters waitresses), Glanville opted for a relatively classier affair. While Glanville was initially coaxed into a “Mardi Gras Manhattan” theme, she wisely put her foot down and honed in catering their cruise on the city that they were tasked with educating visitors on (New York) and went with a “Big Apple Bonanza” conception, that ultimately proved to be successful. After losing his cool for the first time this season (after a pair of bartenders showed up late) and tailoring his Hooters-themed cruise experience to a male demographic, Sig was sent packing. I caught up with the Captain to discuss what went down. We actually conducted this interview using a satellite phone (!) as Sig is currently in Alaska fishing for snow crab and filming a new season of his show.

Murtz Jaffer: Hey! Sig can you hear me?

Sig Hansen: I got you.

MJ: Perfect. If you’re ready to get started, we can go right now.

SH: Yeah. That’s cool. We’re still hauling gear but we should be good.

MJ: It took you awhile to become the project manager. Was it your strategy to hold out for as long as you could or were you just waiting for the right task?

SH: Actually, I was trying to stay under the radar in the beginning, quite honestly. I wanted to be project manager very badly when those larger money task came up. You know.  The big fundraisers like what we had with the wedding dress deal. But then I had some trouble getting my donations in from the West Coast and there were a couple large sums that I was waiting for. As a result, I backed out of leading that one at the last minute and that’s why Geraldo ended up doing that task. That’s kind of what happened.  I really wanted that money task for the wedding dresses.

As for this one that I did, I just figured it was time for me to step up. The other tasks were a lot of women’s tasks.  I just mean that they were catered more for a woman I think. They were tasks that would suit them better (like the shoes and things like that). So for this one, I just kind of fell into it. And then, (by chance) it was a boat task. It was kind of funny. Mario Andretti ended up with a car task evidently (on a past season), and I ended up with a boat task. Maybe it was meant to be?  I don’t know.

MJ: Yeah, that was pretty funny. You definitely took a risk with inviting the Hooters girls aboard the ship. Can you tell me more about your decision to make ‘The Sexiest Catch’ the theme of your tour?

SH: Well the theme was basically something that Geraldo and I came up with. He wanted to do “The Sexiest Catch” and I thought that was fine. We had to come up with something and I said to go with it because you have such a short amount of time. I thought that we could make that work. As far as the Hooters thing, it started with me just trying to get some crab. We were going to have like, an all-you-can-eat buffet and I had connections in Seattle. They were going to ship over a bunch of steamed crab for me. The problem is that the task was the next morning, so we couldn’t get it air-mailed quick enough. You know you’ve got so little time.

And so I wasn’t able to get the crab from the West Coast and then I called (because I do a lot of conventions and I meet a lot of these people that we sell our products to) the people from Hooters. It’s just because of the conventions that I go to and that’s where a lot of our crab is sold to different distributors. So I called them up and I said, ‘Well, I need crabs.’ And they said, ‘sure.’ They also donated money earlier in the show. And then they asked me what I was doing and they said, ‘you want anything else?’ and I said,’ of course, that would be fun.’ I never was able to tie the connection between the crab sales that I tried to get and Hooters. The idea happened so quick, we just kind of ran with it.

MJ: I was just going to say that you lost your cool for the first time when the bartenders arrived late. How late were they?

SH: I would say about 10 minutes. And I thought that those guys were bartenders, but they were… I think they were like interns or something for the production company. I had no idea. They were supposed to be some kids that were going to help and then, next thing you know, I was frantically trying to get stuff ready myself. I was stuck in the bar by myself. I had already started with that (because the bar was on the back of the stern) and then you had all these plastic cups to put together and whatnot. Also, my uniform didn’t fit, so I had to kind of size that myself.

So you’re getting kind of frantic. It’s early in the morning and then these guys show up with their hands in their pockets and I kind of just lost it. I suppose that I felt comfortable on the boat. I just felt like, ‘hey let’s get to work’ and they didn’t look like they were going to go work to me. But I misread the whole thing. I didn’t know they were just helpers and that you were supposed to just tell them what to do. I thought they were bartenders and I got pissed off!

MJ: What was it like working with Geraldo? You guys seemed to really hit it off, even though so many of the other celebrities seem to have a problem with him.

SH: He is an older guy. So I understand him. I think I understand him because he has been in this business for what, 40 years? So I get it. And he feels like he is the man’s man and he is.  He is his own person. I understand the mentality there. Older guy and all that. We did have a mutual respect for each other, I think it’s because he has been on the ocean. He has sailed around the world on his own boat and he has been all over the place.  He knows what it is to be a sailor. He knows what it is like to be at sea.  I think that he found me a little bit interesting as well. That was the connection there. I just understand him a little better. At the same time, he likes to control the direction of things for sure, which I understand that the other guys didn’t really care for too much.

MJ: When you lost the task, did you think there was any chance that Trump would fire anyone else or did you pretty much know that it was going to be you?

SH: I didn’t think I was going to get fired, number one! I haven’t seen the show. I have been up here [in Alaska] since the end of December, so I haven’t seen any of the episodes. But looking back, I didn’t think I was going to get fired. And so I didn’t really have anything planned in my head as to how to defend myself, because I didn’t think about it. Looking back I now know (and my wife told me this over the phone last night after she saw the episode) and remember what happened at the time. Like now I know Geraldo was doing a lot of speeches, plus my microphone was broken, so I didn’t have a chance to get on the mic.

Geraldo did the tour, and he is New York guy so he knows New York like the back of his hand. I trusted him with that. At the same time, he got into this terrorist thing and kind of went off-topic and then I heard afterwards that it turned off a lot of people. It would have been him or me I think. But I didn’t throw that information out there because I wasn’t really privy to it until after the fact.

MJ: With their fundraising power, do you think anyone aside from Ian and Geraldo has a chance to win?

SH: I think it’s going to come down to Ian and Geraldo or probably Leeza.  She is pretty sharp. She carries herself well, so I think she is still in it. I think it’s going to be one of those three. Here is something. The night before Trump split the teams, Ian and I were already bickering back and forth over who was going to be the team leader the next day. We had a hunch that it was going to be for the big money task. That’s why when Ian went over, I had an idea of what he had in his pocket as far as what he thought he could raise. He also had an idea of what I thought I could raise. I had a hell of a lot of extra money in the West Coast, which (if it would have come in)… I would have slaughtered him with. I just didn’t feel like I could go in there, half-assed without that extra dough that I thought I had coming. It really bugs me. It just bugs the s*** out of me right now because they look at you like you’re the blue collar fishing guy, but the reality is, I mean, some of these companies that we deal are worth in the hundreds of millions. And I had some big dough coming my way. It just couldn’t get there on time.

MJ: Team Vortex has now lost four tasks in a row. Why do you think Team Infinity has been so unstoppable since the teams were switched?

SH: I think that’s after Ian got on there, wasn’t it?

MJ: Yeah, it was when Ian and Leeza got together. So why do you think that Ian and Leeza’s team is dominating so much?

SH: Well, I’m sure they can communicate better. Geraldo definitely does like to steer the ship, put it that way.  I’m not throwing him under the bus, but he would definitely get an idea and then it was like tunnel vision. Once he got the idea, we all just kind of kept going with it. Even early on, a lot of the team members were kind of like ‘okay fine.’ I think a lot of it has to do with that. Also, Ian and Leeza… I’m sure that they work together really well. That doesn’t surprise me a bit. They are both very diplomatic.

MJ: What was the best part about doing The Celebrity Apprentice?

SH: The challenge man! It was fun! From the time you woke up in the morning to the time your head hit the pillow, you were working! It was very competitive and I didn’t want to leave. I was pissed! When Trump came down to wish me well, I’m like, ‘I don’t want to leave!’ and his comment was like ‘look at this guy… he already doesn’t want to leave!’ and I said, ‘hell no, I don’t want to go!’ I told him that I was just getting warmed up. [Laughs]

MJ: Can you tell me more about your charity, the U.S. Coast Guard?

SH: Most people don’t realize that the Coast Guard even has a charity because of the government deal. The fact is that the Coast Guard does need money and a lot of the guys from the Coast Guard are retired. The monies have gone to a lot of their families that are in need. They have even built playgrounds with some of the money and are helping out their neighborhoods and the community. I just thought it was time to let them shine for a little bit. To be honest, it was also part of my strategy. Look, I make my living on the ocean and they’re big part of it. They have saved a lot of people that I know and a lot of people are gone and probably gone because they weren’t there right? So they deserved that moment. But at the same time, strategically, they were a good fit for me because all of the industry that I know is marine-related. For me to solicit money from the guys that I know with deep pockets, they needed to know that it was going to the right place. When they could donate to causes that they already support, it was a good fit. You see what I’m saying? I couldn’t go to another fisherman and say, ‘hey, you want to give me some money for kids with bad teeth?’ Ain’t happening, but if I ask my fishermen or my other contacts to throw me some dough because it was going to the Coast Guard, of course they are going to open their wallet. Part of it was strategy.

MJ: And just for personal curiosity, Sig, where are you right now? This is probably one of the most interesting locations I’ve ever done an interview with somebody in, so where are you right now?

SH: Well right now, we are in the Bearing Sea. We’re fishing for opilio. It’s a snow crab or Opilio crab. And the original Discovery production is on board filming right now. We’re about, I don’t know, 300 miles out of Dutch Harbor, along the Alutian Chain. We’re up past the Pribilof Islands.  And it’s winter. It’s blowing 45 and it’s cold. I’m about half way through my Opilio season. So, it’s not pretty right here right now.

MJ: Are we going to see you at the finale?

SH: I’m hoping to do so. I’m really hoping to do so. For me to get outta here, I got to fly out of St. Paul Island, which is just off the Pribilof Islands. That’s the nearest place to get out. It only flies three days a week. If I can get out, I will. And then my brother can go for a trip. We’ll see. I’m going to try to get out of here. If I can finish up and if I can fly out, then I will. But here there is always is a snowstorm or a blizzard or it’s winds blowing or something.  You know what I mean? It’s the end of the world out here man.

MJ: Sig, thank you so much. I hope to see you. I hope we can talk on the red carpet at the finale. I’ll be the guy in the purple hat, so keep an eye out for me.

SH: Well, yeah, just remind me if I get there. It’s a slim chance, but I’m going to try. We’re just trapped like hell. We got a couple more trips. If we can do it and button this thing up, then my brother can take the boat back down to town and I can just fly out of there and then wrap it up. Hopefully we’ll see you. I’d like to go!

MJ: Awesome! Awesome! Great, I hope to see you there. Remember. Purple hat!

SH: Roger. Roger. Okay perfect. Thanks for taking the time.

MJ: Awesome! Thank you, Sig, have a good one, thank you so much. Have a good day.

The Celebrity Apprentice continues tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC

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