Hello reddit! My name is Phil Keoghan and you probably know me best as the host of The Amazing Race on CBS. I've been to over 100 countries around the world as host, producer, author, motivational speaker and cyclist. I'm here to take your questions, so really, ask me anything!

PROOF: https://twitter.com/PhilKeoghan/status/436969276646256641

Get to know this season's All-Star cast before watching the premiere on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 8/7c or catch up on last season with full episodes.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to come ask me questions. I hope you all enjoy this new season of The Amazing Race and I do hope to come back to reddit again soon! And now…here’s an exclusive sneak peek of the premiere!

Thank you all again!

Comments: 527 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

nok0000127 karma

How does the camera crew get tickets on flights that are 'fully booked'? Do you buy tickets on many random flights or do you purchase tickets ahead of time for the teams to use and pretend that they are buying tickets from the airlines?

PhilKeoghan221 karma

The teams are responsible for purchasing tickets for their crew and if they don't have enough tickets for themselves, and their crew, then they can't go!

WildFan9165 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

Have you had any teams you were secretly rooting for over the course of the show?

Also what are some locations that you wanted to visit on The Amazing Race, but for some reason can't/won't?

PhilKeoghan205 karma

Yes, I'm always wanting some teams to do better than others. Sometimes just because I know that if they won, winning would have a really dramatic impact on their lives. It breaks my heart sometimes to have to eliminate a team and then there are other times I'm not that unhappy about it at all.

SoCaFroal60 karma

Hi! Huge fan of the show. I just have two simple questions for you.

  • Will you or the producers consider doing a behind the scenes episode on the making of The Amazing Race?
  • Also, do you have a favorite meal that you've eaten at any of the locations?

edit: Formatting

PhilKeoghan72 karma

I don't know how pretty a behind the scenes show about the race would be...or how entertaining for that matter. Trust me, I think the more entertaining part of what we do is what we share with you every week. There's a lot of process sitting around and logistical nightmares to deal with that I just don't think will make for good TV.

Favorite meal would probably be when we were in Italy and we had a great gnocchi dish in Venice. I'm not a huge gnocchi fan but someone recommended I try it and I couldn't believe how good it tasted!

lula248855 karma

  • Out of all the places you have visited, which would you recommend to visit?

  • What have been the best and worst experiences from the show?

  • Do you have ever have a team that you want to win during filiming or do you try to remain neutral?

PhilKeoghan104 karma

I'm going to say that overall for many reasons, that Italy has it all in terms of a vacation destination. Culture, food, warm people, relaxed atmosphere, incredible history, magnificent mountains, warm inviting beaches, spectacular cities, did I say food? Well let me say that again and add red wine...and olive oil.

feather_moon52 karma

Hi Phil, thanks so much for doing this!

I'm a long-time fan of The Amazing Race, and I've always been so appreciative of its educational value in addition to its entertainment value as a television show (and a reality show at that!). It's certainly what's kept me watching every season, and I can truly say that there are things about the world that I only know because of The Amazing Race! Thank you for continuing to be its wonderful host.

What is it about The Amazing Race for you that's kept you coming back as the host season after season? Will there ever be a point that you say, "Enough is enough," or do you see yourself doing this until the end of its run?

Do you get the chance to really have a conversation with each country's greeter on the mat? If so, is there a particular greeter that sticks out in your mind as really memorable (good or bad)?

Are there any countries that you hope The Amazing Race will travel to in the future that it hasn't reached yet?

Do you have a favorite season, whether its for its teams and/or its locations?

Thank you so much, and have a great day!

PhilKeoghan60 karma

Firstly, your question is the most in-depth I've ever been asked!

Yes - sometimes it's really one of the highlights, being able to hang out with the greeters. They're really such interesting people and one of my great loves in life is meeting new people. There's an expression "you can't receive when you're transmitting" so I love taking a break from doing my race transmission and listen to somebody else talk about something interesting!

gotshadowbanned45 karma

What is the worst/dumbest thing that you’ve seen done by a team, that couldn’t even get on air?

PhilKeoghan103 karma

Trust me, if there is anything interesting that a team is doing, we want to share it with the audience.

pfalstad45 karma

When each team arrives on the mat, you already know about what penalties they've incurred (like when they've taken a taxi instead of traveling on foot, etc.). How do you know that? I would think the crew that travels with each team would be too busy to get messages to you about what happened, without tipping off the team that they did something wrong.

PhilKeoghan124 karma

People often ask me what I'm doing when I'm at the pit stop. Apart from briefing the greeter about how the show works and shooting the intro's I need to do at the pit stop, 99% of my time is spent holding my phone and furiously writing down story notes about what's happening with the teams. The information is coming from all those in production who learn anything new about what's going on. If we didn't have the ability to text on the show and sometimes make phone calls, it would be almost impossible for us to make the show. There are time where we are in such remote locations that I don't get information beforehand and in those cases, I have to debrief the teams on the mat to get to the bottom of what's happened. In addition, some production people have to physically bring me the information to me at the mat so I can administer the penalty. Of course, this is not my first choice, I would much rather know ahead of time.

hollyism40 karma

One of the funniest things I've ever seen on TAR was the frat boy trying to march... I still get a case of giggles when I think of it! What have you found the funniest?

PhilKeoghan69 karma

That moment in Russia, I think it was Dan and Andrew, is without doubt, one of the funniest! But who would ever forget watching locals howl with laughter as they watched 50 pound wheels of cheese roll down a hill in Switzerland, narrowly avoiding racers! That moment is one I hear about from fans pretty much every day!

Leviathan2337 karma

Is there a story behind your neck piece? I've seen you wear it for most (all?) seasons, and would love to know its origin.

PhilKeoghan82 karma

I have worn it on every season. It is an indigenous necklace from New Zealand which was given to me as a way of providing safety over water. It's origins come from the Maori people of New Zealand. It's actually a decorative fish hook. For the most part, they are carved out of bone or green stone.

WorldTravelBucket35 karma

Do guards at border crossings get annoyed at trying to find an open space in your passport to place the stamp?

PhilKeoghan55 karma

ha! We have to leave with a number of passport pages free before we hit the road.

notlonelysmtowngirl34 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, my dad and I have been watching the show together for years. If you were to run in the Amazing Race, who would be your partner? Also, do you make predictions at the start of each race as to who will finish first?

PhilKeoghan65 karma

Well I have no desire at all to run the amazing race - let me just make that clear. However, if I was to run the race, my first choice would be my father. He's one of the smartest people I know and we are extremely compatible traveling together. I first started traveling with him when I was 3 and in recent times we've gone on lots of great adventures together and our combination and personality just works for travel!

girlinaustin33 karma

I'm curious: how are the greeters at the pit stops chosen? There have been some really fascinating figures!

PhilKeoghan59 karma

The picking of the greeters is done in many different ways. Sometimes, it's from local facilitators that make a suggestion, sometimes from our scout when we initially go to a new location. The great thing is that they're interesting people everywhere so it's not hard to choose. You're right about fascinating figures! Do you remember the world's tallest man standing next to me in China?

WorldTravelBucket31 karma

Thanks for all the work you do with the National MS Society. Do you have a personal connection with the disease that has encouraged you to do so much fundraising for it?

PhilKeoghan39 karma

Initially, I did not have a personal connection to MS when I first started working for the cause in 2007. However, I have since found out that MS is in my family and I have now made so many friends in the MS community that the personal connections I have are a huge part as to why I continue to be involved.

the_winner28 karma

How often do you get to talk with the teams outside of when they finish a leg? Is it brief or do they allow you time to get to know the teams?

PhilKeoghan72 karma

The show happens very quickly and time is always a challenge for us. Many people don't realize that we shoot all 12 episodes in just 21 days. If you factor in all the international travel and the other travel that we do to get from place to place, there's not a huge amount of time to be hanging out. That said, I do record in-depth interviews with the teams when they check-in and that's really the time I get to connect with them.

gotshadowbanned27 karma

Aside from the time racing, how much pre/post prep do you have to do for the show?

PhilKeoghan56 karma

We start researching the show months in advance and then I start working on my scripts about a month out. The key is to give the audience some takeaway about what we're going and the things we'll be doing. So I work hard on interesting factoids since I know people love learning about the world which watching the amazing race. I love that the show not only entertains but also informs.

MONKSFTW27 karma

Hey Phil One question

  • Do you have any favourite moments of hosting The Amazing Race?

Thank you for taking time out of your day for this AMA !

PhilKeoghan79 karma

One of the moments that people talk about a lot is when Margie and Luke won the first leg of season 14 and I managed to learn how to sign to them that they had won. That's definitely one of the favorites for people who watch the show. This season, we start the show with the UCLA marching band (sorry USC fans) and we have them playing the amazing race theme music to the teams before they head off to China. Everybody had goosebumps so pretty cool to have a band like that play our theme song.

seebs27 karma

Hi Phil, I'd imagine "The Amazing Race" must have some equally amazing behind-the-scenes logistics nightmares. Any famous stories that stand out?

PhilKeoghan56 karma

There's lot of things that come to mind but I guess arriving in the middle of the night in Ukraine and not having the right Visa to get into the country and consequently being held overnight at the airport trying to get comfortable on some hard plastic seats and then stressing everyone about on whether I'd make it to the pit stop on time was definitely a logistical strain!

derf8226 karma

Any plans to bring back the Elimination Station?

PhilKeoghan47 karma

You know, that's a very good question. I'm not sure what happened there, actually. I agree, it would be kind of fun to bring back!

marcm624626 karma

Hey Phil! First off you rock and are my favourite host of any TV show by far.

I have a couple of questions.

My first question is: Why doesn't the amazing race visit Canada much?

The second one is: How bad have mosquitoes and other annoying bugs been on the amazing race? Namely last season at the leg 2 pitstop in a rainforest and the finish line in a bug infested Alaska?

Looking forward to the season 24 premiere. Keep on keeping on Mr. Keoghan.

Edit: Misspelled Keoghan, sorry Phil!!

PhilKeoghan37 karma

Firstly, let me say that I love Canada and I think per capita, of all the 100 countries that Amazing Race is broadcast, there are more people per capita that love Amazing Race than any other country in the world. I actually lived in Ontario for 4 years when I was a kid so nothing would please me more than to come to Canada. That said, our show is about going around the world and going to places that offer a contrast, a very distinct contrast to what they might find at home. I say that respectfully because I know Canada has a tremendous amount to offer.

The bugs in Alaska were relentless and right up there with annoying bugs that we've experienced in Australia and one very long miserable night in Zanzibar when 8 of us tried to seek shelter on the amazing race mat, waiting for teams to arrive. Sometimes, bug spray is just not enough and I wish I had one of those Australian hats with corks that dangle around the brim.

TioG23 karma


PhilKeoghan66 karma

  1. Bring a sense of humor
  2. High level of fitness if possible
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Passport - we know some teams forget that, don't we!
  5. An open heart

don't bring the ugly American tourist mentality, a heavy backpack, extra pounds of body weight or flip flops

Kismekate20 karma

Hi, Phil! Big fan! My Husband and I always wondered what happens when a team (other than the first) is hours away from checking in at the Pit Stop. I can't imagine you and the greeter stand there the entire time waiting for them. Do you retreat back to your hotel and wait for a call or does the crew have a nearby waiting area for you both?

PhilKeoghan44 karma

As per my earlier answer, I am married to my cell phone for information about what's going on. I don't leave the pit stop. This is not the kind of show where there's time to just hang out at a hotel. We spend our time working on logistics when we know that teams are going to be super late because we know we're going to miss flights, which will have a domino affect on the rest of our incredibly tight 12 shows in 21 days schedule. There's always the chance that a team may come to the mat accidentally before they've completed the course so, once again, I stay at the mat no matter what. One time, I was at the mat in Poland season 11 for 19 hours straight.

sconce260020 karma

What is one country you would like the race to go to that it has never been to?

PhilKeoghan38 karma

I keep hoping that we will get to Nepal at some point. It's been on my life list for as long as I can remember.

cal_bears20 karma

In your opinion, what was the most challenging fast forward challenge?

PhilKeoghan62 karma

Psychologically, the fast forwarding challenge where they had to shave their head, was in my opinion the most impactful. As you know, some teams outright refused to do it, and in the case of Uchenna and Joyce, they made the very difficult decision to shave their hair off and consequently went on to win the race. Which makes sense, considering that the clue stated, shaving your head would give you good fortune.

rail1618 karma

Are there any plans for a UK version?

My wife and are huge fans and watch it here in Scotland. I'm from the states and my wife is Scottish. We loved it when we were back in the US and have shared it with friends here.

Just hope there's a UK version in the future.

PhilKeoghan30 karma

I really think that the people in the UK would LOVE Amazing Race and it's always surprised me that there hasn't been a UK version or that networks haven't shared our version with their viewers.

winnersclub18 karma

Phil, I'm a great fan of your show! When A.R. team films in different countries, do you get sponsored by it's Tourism Boards? I figured, they would sponsor your show to get advertisements in U.S. media.

PhilKeoghan26 karma

We are constantly approached by tourism offices but we work independently - that's not to say that we don't pick up on some of their ideas as far as challenges go.

Bloody_Khan_Man17 karma

Hello Phil!, HUGE FAN!!! I love the destinations that the show brings to us viewers. Most people will probably ask you about your favorite place you've been to but I want to make it interesting.

My question is:

What destination in the show has had the WORST experience for you personally?

PhilKeoghan50 karma

I had a really challenging time going to the local market in Madagascar when I saw that camel was a part of their diet. For the most part, I try to be very open and accepting of going to new places and experience other people's culture. It's important to remember that we are guests and that just because we like things a certain way, doesn't mean that everybody else has to as well.

gogojack17 karma

Did you get a hug yet from Caroline and Jennifer? They sure are flirty...

PhilKeoghan25 karma

Yes, they're very flirty, bubbly and fun to be around. They have great energy and infectious laughs. They surprised everybody and themselves the last time they were on finishing 4th. I think a lot of that cutesy behavior is a bit of a disguise or perhaps a way of making the other teams think that they're just blondes and don't think too much but they are competitors.

gotshadowbanned17 karma

Do you ever have enough time to give the tasks a go for fun?

PhilKeoghan29 karma

There are many challenges that I would love to do for fun. But again, 12 shows, 21 days doesn't allow time for me to enjoy myself that way. Still, I'm not complaining because I've had an entire career trying new and different things in front of a camera whether it's breaking a world record bungee jump or diving the world's longest underwater cave. I get many chances to try new things and on the race I get a real kick of watching others take on life changing challenges including some things I have suggested and done before.

rv49er15 karma

How many air miles do you have?

Credit to /u/WorldTravelBucket

PhilKeoghan31 karma

In total, I believe in the 24 seasons that we've done, we are fast approaching 1 million miles! I travel anywhere up to 100,000 miles a year for Amazing Race but in my own personal life, about 150,000 miles more on top of that. One year, 2004, I did 467,000 miles. As much as I like collecting frequent flyer miles, there are many airlines that I simply don't want to fly again. My favorite is Air New Zealand. I see that plane taking off every day from LAX going home and when I get on board, I feel like I'm halfway there.

beardednowimnotbutam14 karma

Hi Phil.

How many more seasons do you think TAR will be around for? Do you ever plan on letting someone else host? (I hope not)

Thanks for doing this!

PhilKeoghan39 karma

Well your guess is as good as mine on that! And I promise to keep on hosting as long as they want me!

thebiglibrarian13 karma

What's your favorite book and why?

PhilKeoghan29 karma

I think probably Longitude is one of my favorite books. It's about an inventor who came up with the first clock who can keep accurate time at sea and consequently help explorers work the longitude around the world. I love stories about underdogs and this amazing man Harrison, was a carpenter who solved one of the greatest puzzles of his time. He was shunned by so-called scientists but ultimately he's the only one that figured it out.

PancakeIpsum13 karma

Hi Phil, thanks for doing the AMA! In your opinion, what is the most rewarding part of hosting TAR?

PhilKeoghan21 karma

The most rewarding part is knowing that we've had a positive impact on the lives of all of those who share this adventure with us. It's closely connected with my own personal philosophy No Opportunity Wasted (NOW for short) which is focused on living each day as if it were your last. The fact that I get to share an opportunity with so many incredible people is extremely rewarding on a personal level.

Ali_Parker1711 karma

boxers or briefs? beach or mountains? Coffee or tea? socks or barefoot? mani or pedi?

PhilKeoghan25 karma

boxer briefs - combination. Beach. Tea. Barefeet. If I HAD to have one, manicure.

julio_and_i11 karma

What's the best advice you can give to someone who wants to get on the show?

PhilKeoghan26 karma

Firstly, You always want to be yourself. When we're sitting in auditioning, we can tell straight away if somebody is trying to be something that they're not, trying to anticipate what we want or not being completely honest about who they are. It's impossible to say what exactly we're looking for in a team because no team has been like any other. If you have a unique story and are a captivating character that people would want to tune in and watch every week, those are certainly the ingredients we may look at when being chosen.

RueDBaga10 karma

Hi Phil! What is one of your favorite memories from "Breakfast Time"? I loved the show and still miss it.

PhilKeoghan14 karma

Wow - I'm so impressed that you remember that show! I had the best time working on "Breakfast Time." It was a great time to be in television. I remember TIME magazine wrote the show up as the most innovative show on television. I started working on that show 20 years ago and went on to cover almost 1,000 stories on live television. I love that you remember the show! I worked on it with Tom Bergeron and we often reminisce about just how fun it was to work together. I think hand feeding wild sharks live underwater while Gladys Knight was singing to me in our studio/apartment in New York would have to be one of the best moments on the show and even in my career.

DaQuestionAsker9 karma

Hiya Phil! Thanks for doing this. Two Questions:

• Where are you from, originally? We can't figure out your accent, Phil!

• Why do you always wear a Panama hat?

PhilKeoghan22 karma

I'm from New Zealand originally however, I also spent time growing up in Canada, the Caribbean and Australia. I wear a hat, specifically a panama hat because after a lifetime in the sun, I feel that I need to make sure I protect myself from further sun exposure.

WorldTravelBucket8 karma

I saw "The Ride" and was really amazed by how much dedication you have to biking for a great cause. I also noticed that you recreated the 1928 Tour de France. When will your film "Le Ride" be coming out?

PhilKeoghan11 karma

Right now the plan is to release in conjunction with next fall television season.

Woby6 karma

Hey Phil fellow kiwi cyclist here. Where are some of the best places you have cycled?

PhilKeoghan7 karma

The trip I did around France last summer, retracing the 1928 course of the Tour de France would have to go down as the most memorable ride I've ever been on. There's something incredibly inspiring knowing you're rolling up the mountains like the Tourmalet which have been ridden by the world's best since 1903. At the end of the day, I always think a good ride is about the people you're with. Check out this [link]: (http://philkeoghanleride.com/)

[deleted]5 karma


PhilKeoghan13 karma

I am ticklish - under my arms...but not a foot tickling issue, or a fetish for that matter!