Double Dare: Marc Summers reflects on 32 years of slime and the Super Bowl special


For over 30 years, Double Dare has made messy, crazy fun entertaining for multiple generations. Marc Summers has a theory about the show’s longevity.

Double Dare was and is must-watch television on Nickelodeon. When the show first premiered in 1986, people didn’t quite know what to think, but kids loved the messy, silly fun.

In an episode, kids saw contestants that looked like themselves doing some crazy things. Whether it was shoving their hand up a gigantic nose or busting a water balloon over a parent’s head, this show let kids’ imaginations come to life. No one was telling them to stop, calm down or sit still. The louder, the weirder and the zanier were celebrated to its fullest.

Even now, after 32 years, Double Dare still captivates viewers. The original show host, Marc Summers, recently chatted with us during press week at Super Bowl LIII. During this conversation, Summers shared his thoughts about the longevity of this now iconic series, an upcoming Double Dare Live tour and the special Super Bowl Sunday episode featuring some NFL players.

Growing up, Double Dare was a must-see show. Deep down, the obstacle course at the end of each episode was a child-like fantasy. After all those times of being told “don’t make a mess” or “behave appropriately” and a slew of other phrases, these kids were not just allowed but encouraged to throw caution to the wind. It almost didn’t seem possible.

With the Double Dare reboot and Double Dare Live Tour, the show has captured that part of many people’s childhood. Summers sees that idea firsthand. He said specifically the “fun aspect” of the show makes it wildly entertaining.

Summers noted that Double Dare is “on its second generation” of fans. “Parents who grew up watching the show are now watching the show with their kids.” It turns watching the show into a family experience.

While the show at its heart is the same, it continues to evolve. The current television version features Liza Koshy as the host. The digital creator and actress is well known to the younger generation of fans. With Summers as a color commentator, older fans have a connection to their generation, too.

Since Double Dare always included kids and parents in a team, that family watching experience is key to its popularity and longevity. Finding a program that appeals to a multi-generational audience can be difficult. Parents can be bored with simplistic stories and kids want to fast-paced, action-packed fun. With this show, families share an experience of watching the stunts together (and maybe wondering if their own family could achieve Double Dare glory).

That shared experience fuels the success of the Double Dare Live Tour. For 2019, Double Dare Live will head out to 60 appearances and potentially more stops to come. As the host of Double Dare Live, Summers sees how the show has resonated with people. For some reason, people can’t wait to get covered in slime.

This type of live tour only solidifies the fan connection to this iconic show. When fans can experience that challenge or obstacle course that they see on television, they feel a deeper connection to the show. After spending years watching and waiting, they get to know how that truly gross that slime might feel.

Summer sees his role in this Double Dare world as the person to bring the entertainment to the fans. As the host, he said that it isn’t about being nice, it is about the fun. In his words, “the messier the better” is a theme for any of these shows.

Going into the Super Bowl LIII Double Dare special, fans of both the Nickelodeon show and the NFL will get to see some football greats get messy. Airing on Sunday, Feb. 3 at noon, the special will see NFL legends like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson take on some iconic challenges. In this football themed episode, could these football greats be as agile in an obstacle course as they are on the field?

While Double Dare might not be the most mentally challenging contest or have a complicated setting, the sense of fun in each episode is something that more people could embrace in today’s difficult world. During the conversation with Summers, he shared his thoughts on his longevity in the industry.

Having only worked in the broadcasting industry, Summers feels that he is very fortunate and has a charmed life. From his work with Nickelodeon and the Food Network, many of his signature programs have become iconic parts of the pop culture collective. More importantly, he feels a sense of gratitude and even responsibility within the industry.

Specifically, Summers has been very transparent with many various aspects of his life. He was asked why he values transparency and his thoughts on the ideology of transparency. Summers encouraged everyone “to just tell the truth” and “be honest.” He said that he tries to live his life by the Golden Rule and treat others how he would want to be treated.

In today’s tumultuous world, that straightforward philosophy is quite refreshing. Too often comments are spun, crafted, and retooled to create a particular perception. It is commendable that Summers is willing and open to state his beliefs and encourage others to act similarly.

With so many trying moments in today’s world, a good, hearty belly laugh from watching a person get pied can be good for everyone, too. That sense of lighthearted fun is a major component of why Double Dare has and will continue to be so popular.

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Would you be willing to shove your hand up a gigantic nose or dive into a pool of slime? Double Dare Live could be coming to your city — and that opportunity is waiting!

Find upcoming Double Dare Live Tour dates here.