At 96 years of age Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project is by far the oldest guest we've ever been fortunate enough to host on London Real. He was helped up our front stairs by myself and his long time assistant Roxanne Meadows and we had to carefully place the headphones so that his hearing aid could pick up the conversation. But once we banished his entourage from our studio for filming (standard practice for London Real) the amazing mind of Jacque Fresco emerged and produced those witty anecdotes and bold philosophies born from a full century of experience.
I first heard of Jacque Fresco from Myles Dyer, an early guest of ours on the episode "Saving the Human Race." Myles spoke fondly of Jacque and had even made the pilgrimage to The Venus Project in Venus, Florida to hear him speak. We subsequently hosted Ben McLeish of The Zeitgeist Movement and I learned a bit more about Jacque's relationship with Zeitgeist founder Peter Joseph and I was further intrigued.
I was contacted out of the blue a few weeks later by Jacque's long time partner Roxanne Meadows requesting his appearance on the show on a visit to London en route to a conference in Serbia. Needless to say I was flattered and amazed. It's quite a rare occasion when high profile guests contact me as opposed to the other way around.
I offered to pick Jacque up from Waterloo station (another rarity) so I embarked with future co-host Paul G with camera in hand to record the meeting for posterity. When I brushed off a London Special Olympics volunteer telling us we couldn't film in the station I found myself surrounded by 4 police officers demanding an explanation. Apparently the volunteer was an off-duty Waterloo Station employee and he was very pissed off with my attitude. Not the first time this has happened.
With a telescopic boom microphone blatantly taped on top of our video camera I calmly explained that we were only "taking pictures" and that I was there to meet my "Grandpa" which, surprisingly, they seemed to buy. Unfortunately my buddy Paul G has a terrible history with police authority figures infringing on his rights and he was 10 seconds from Going Postal. This could get ugly and I still haven't met Jacque!
Wondering how I would explain our public arrest and beatdown to Jacque & Roxanne I calmly diffused the situation hoping that they wouldn't check up on my ancestral ties to Jacque which would make a seriously uncomfortable first impression. "Is this your Grandson?" Fortunately we found him and his entourage and whisked them towards the studio in two black cab taxis.
Like any guest on London Real I like to prepare first and this was no exception. My favourite clip of Jacque was from a Larry King interview in 1974, yes when I was 3 YEARS OLD! He is fiery, incorrigible, and dogged. Nic and I were both prepared for this and we also wanted to get him away from his often repeated anecdotes and further press him on his split with Peter Joseph and the Zeitgeist Movement. I figured people wanted answers.
But when I arrived Nic was waiting at the front door and as he watched us gingerly walk Jacque up those front steps his eyes completely dropped. No longer was this a vehement opponent but instead a man of 96 years who was physically frail if not mentally sharp.
What followed you can watch now. I was glad that Jacque could deliver some of his classic statements and anecdotes but still answer our spontaneous questions dynamically. He addressed the Peter Joseph situation but in my opinion didn't fully explain it. Regardless, I hope that when I'm 96 years old I can be as sharp and as articulate as Jacque Fresco.
On a side note, you can see Jacque periodically drift away from the table as his chair had wheels on the bottom. The next day I removed those in order to keep the guest in place during future interviews! (I often tell this story to guests who feel a bit restrained).
I would never have guessed that just over one year later this episode would have been viewed 200,000 times. This man is loved by so many. Many thanks to Jacque Fresco and to Roxanne Meadows for making this happen.
Two weeks later we were invited on the Joe Rogan Experience, but that's a different tale...