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TV Interview

Storage Hunters' Jesse McClure: 'A UK version would be fantastic'

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Storage Hunters has quickly grown into one of the UK's biggest guilty pleasures on TV right now.

Chances are, at some point you have tuned in to Dave and caught a group of American auctioneers fighting (sometimes literally) it out to win storage containers, or 'bins', that have missed payments.

The TruTV series has become one of Dave's biggest shows with some impressive ratings. With its fourth season coming to a close tonight (May 6), Digital Spy had a chat with one of the programme's biggest stars, Jesse McClure, about rivalries, the future of Storage Hunters, and possible UK spinoffs.

Storage Hunters star Jesse McClure meets Digital Spy

© Twitter / Digital Spy / Tom Eames


Hi Jesse! How are you finding time in the UK since you've been here?
"It's great. It's super fast-paced, I'm doing a million things at once but it's been amazing. It really truly has been amazing. Everyone here is so warm and welcoming and I couldn't ask for anything better. Transportation I'm still trying to figure out.

"Being from LA, I've only ridden the bus once because our transportation system is such a mess but everyone's been friendly, fans and non-fans alike. Everyone's just been so warm and welcoming so it's good to be here."

Were you aware of Storage Hunters' popularity in the UK?
"Oh yeah. The show's big back at home and it's played in many other countries across the world, but the way the UK fans have appreciated it and just enjoyed it is just a whole other level. I think they truly get the comedy behind it and I think it fits real well with my personality, they know why I do things. It's not because I'm genuinely a bad guy, but more so that it's funny to push people's buttons just for the sake of doing it."


Compared with more serious shows like Storage Wars, the show's humour has gone down well with UK audiences. Do you think the character element helps that?
"Yeah, I mean filming and not filming I still have that same personality, I like entertaining myself at the expense of others. So yeah, there's a difference where you see these other storage shows that are just way more serious.

"This is about the characters and interaction and also what's inside [the bins], so if you're down for that kind of serious thing, there's another channel. But here it's all about good-natured fun and that's what I'm all about."

Had you met any of the other hunters on the show before the show started?
"No, no I hadn't. Everyone, the first time I met them, I wish I had known them earlier. Well, most of them, some of them I wish to not meet ever again or at all. We're not going to mention the B-word, we're not going to say the B-word here."

I was going to ask! Is that rivalry [with Brandon and Lori Bernier, or Brandori] real?
"Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. It's as real as it can get. It's probably worse off than on the show, but I think that's what shows, is people always ask that question because they really see the tension. We get into little spats and butting heads when I'm dealing with T-Money or Papa Bear, or even Sean on occasion when things don't go my way. That's just a one and done in the moment kind of thing. But this hatred is for life."

Brandon and Lori Bernier
Storage Hunters

Jesse's rivals Brandon and Lori Bernier


They seem to take it quite seriously?
"Yeah that's the thing, that's why I love pushing their buttons so much. They take things so seriously, they're too serious, they're way over-emotional and I feel like he has little-man syndrome. It works well in my favour, I enjoy it."

What are the interactions like with T-Money and Papa Bear? Do you get on?
"Yeah. T-Money is a great guy. He came from Detroit, one of our cities that got hit hard by the recession, so he's always had that low-man-on-the-totem-pole kind of feel. Still fun-loving and caring, really funny guy, he also does stand-up comedy. He's the kind of guy that's really down to earth, not to mention T-Money loves the ladies. You can't help but admire that.

"Papa Bear, he's my homeboy. He lives in Whittier with all his homies and the low-riders. Every time I talk to him or we do anything on camera he's always got to give a shout out to Low Down and Dirty Steve, Big Joker and Little Spider, that kind of mentality. And Sean is all business, he's a funny guy too, a comedian, but he's all business and that's the kind of guy I like to be around."

Were you doing 'storage hunting' as a profession before the show?
"Yeah. My back-story is that my family owns an antique mall back in LA, so I've been a part of the whole re-sale game, whether I liked it or not, since I was 12 years old. So storage auctions was naturally fitting into the whole re-sale game itself, so not only have I been doing storage auctions but also garage sales, estate sales, swap meets - aka car boot sales - and every other auction in between, so it's a natural fit, and with the knowledge that I've learned in the last 15 years seeing junk, priceless treasures. It's really been beneficial for me to be successful when it comes to storage auctions."

You seem to like the mystery element sometimes, like sometimes there will be a safe but you still don't know what's in thereā€¦
"Yeah, and that usually works against me more than for me, that doesn't necessarily have to do with storage auctions, more so that it has to do with me having a gambling problem. So the storage auction thing naturally fits into, 'Uh, it's worth a gamble'. You can win big or you can lose, and I'm the kind of guy that will be on anything if odds are crazy enough. So it's just an extra added flavour that works out for me and that's why I enjoy it so much."


What would you say is the craziest thing you've found?
"I don't know how to answer that with one specific thing because in every new storage unit there is something new. You always get the adult special toys, and once you see them or accidentally touch them it's horrible. And then of course you get things that have to deal with death, whether it's an urn or something that could be an urn but just has sand in it. I'm not a big fan of the whole dying thing, I don't think most people are, but that's another thing that's crazy for me. There's a bunch of random stuff you could find in every bin, each one is a whole new adventure."

A lot of the time storage bins are going to belong to people who have passed away or they're going to be from people who couldn't afford them anymore. Is it a mixture of that?
"Yeah, it certainly is a mixture of that, especially with the way the economy is, that's what happens. People can't pay the bills and they lose all their stuff. Back in the states you legally have to auction it off so that's exactly what happens. Or you have the other case, its 50/50 where someone dies and has a storage unit and the family members don't realise they actually have a storage unit and by the time they figure it out, the unit is already gone, it's sold to somebody else."

Has there ever been anything you've found that you feel should have gone back to the family?
"Absolutely. The majority of the time it's paperwork or family photos. I'm not usually one to snoop but you can see when you're looking at pictures and at family history, the importance of, 'If I can find these people and return these items how important that will be to them', and that is not worth the price of selling those kinds of items. It weighs too heavy on my conscious to not return those items."

Are the final shows we see each week exactly what occurs or is there much more work involved?
"That's the thing. The closest thing I can compare it to is poker. When you're watching the World Series of Poker on television and you're watching Storage Hunters, you're watching the greatest hits of that day. When you're watching the World Series of Poker championship, you're not seeing the other 14 hours of horrible cards you're getting along the way. It's the same kind of effect.

Jesse on Storage Hunters

"Once the camera stops, you don't see the hours of labour you have to do to get it up in the truck, get it home, go to the trash and throw away all the bad stuff. Then start pricing it for appropriate locations, whether it's the antique mall or online, on eBay, to the swap meets, to charity or just tossing it."

We have things like Antiques Roadshow, which are quite sedate in comparison. Do you think it would work if you were to do a UK edition?
"Yeah, certainly. The banter would totally translate even more here. I think the idea of having a US and UK intermixed, so you have Brits and Americans going at each other, it would add even more because you have that pride for your country, that pride about where you come from and the pride of, 'I know more than you do', so it's going to amp it up even more so. I think that would be a fantastic idea that I definitely would want to be a part of."

Would you ever be interested in doing a solo spin-off?
"Oh yeah, absolutely. Not only for my own benefit and to bring my own speciality knowledge, but to bring my own history with the antique mall and also my family with my wife, because we do our own thing together which would bring in a whole new aspect of the Storage Hunters concept. I think that's the other great thing, us being Americans coming into a brand new country, it adds a whole new suspense level of, 'We have no idea where we're going, we have no idea what we're going to find'."

Storage Hunters concludes its fourth season on Dave in the UK tonight (May 6) at 8pm. A fifth season will begin shooting later in 2014.

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