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Thanks to dumb people and Daniel Baldwin, truTV's 'World's Dumbest' keeps going strong

February 16, 2011 |  3:29 pm

TruTV's "World's Dumbest" series will never run out of a material. As long as humans exist, they will do dumb things. And "World's Dumbest" has been there to mock them with a pithy joke, a sidelong glance and a healthy dollop of sarcasm for 100 episodes, a milestone it celebrates with a special Thursday night at 9 p.m. on truTV.

Whether it's a would-be thief or an old man on the beach struggling to put on his shirt (because they're actually his pants), the crew of commentators — comedians, actors, Tanya Harding — are there to commentate.

For Daniel Baldwin, being a talking head on "World's Dumbest" has been a return to his roots. "Unbeknownst to a lot of people, I started as a stand-up comedian," the actor said.

"It's a strange scenario in the entertainment industry — you're remembered for the last thing you did," Baldwin said. He's had mostly serious roles, including a successful stint as a Baltimore detective in the 1990s NBC crime series "Homicide: Life on the Street," which has led people to consider him as a "dramatic, brooding Baldwin."

Danielbaldwin Not true, he countered. He's always had his funny side. He mentioned a onetime run as a comic at a friend's birthday party for an uptight crowd in Provo, Utah, while he was making a film on location. The club manager told him to watch his language and keep his act clean before he went on: "No efff, no sex, no drugs." Baldwin managed to break all three rules in his first sentence, and a chunk of the crowd stood up and walked out. (His friend loved it.)

He's also surfaced on reality television in recent years. In 2009, he appeared on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" The cast also included his brother Stephen, Heidi Montag and the wife of disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (Actor Lou Diamond Phillips won the competition.)

On "World's Dumbest," he plays a bit of a bully in his comments, he said, scoffing at how people respond in the most bizarre of situations. "I'm always, kind of, perplexed. I thought, I would have dropped the camera and helped."

Baldwin said you can often hear a person whining about injuries or how bad the situation has become. "Yeah," he said, "call 911, you jerk!"

Producers have expanded the show to include skits, a chance for him to flex his acting muscles and have fun at the same time. "We fly from the seat of our pants when we're doing the skits," Baldwin said. "And I really enjoy doing the skits."

Baldwin hopes the show will expand to allow him to go out into the field, talking to people at odd or dangerous events and seeing things firsthand. He said it's relatively cheap to produce and has an endless well of content. "This is one of those shows that's going to run for another 10 years," he said, because as long as their people doing dumb things — and it's being recorded — they'll have material.

— Rick Rojas

Photo: Daniel Baldwin. Photo credit: TruTV.