I'm a designer / host who's been lucky enough to use his creativity to make a difference in the world. My new show, ON THE MENU, premieres tonight on TNT at 8 PM and of course, it's with Emeril Lagasse. It's like no other cooking show out there because for the first time instead of just seeing the dish, you can actually smell and taste it...

Here at reddit NYC - AMA!

retweet: https://twitter.com/reddit_AMA/status/518062469039005696

Edit Thanks for talking with me! I love good Q&As, and clearly, I love people with senses of humor. But I'll tell you what, I'm excited about this new show on TNT - not only is it a lot of fun, it's an emotional roller coaster with a happy ending and why it's so happy is that we can ALL share the winning prize! I hope to see you guys tonight at 8 PM - if not, I'll meet you at Chili's.

Comments: 171 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

richardwrinkle150 karma

HUGE fan here! I have a home improvement question. Is it true that if I cut the grass around my deck, that it will make my deck look bigger?

TyPennington194 karma

Yes. It will. And it sounds like you're the kind of person who really wants to show off their deck. So be careful of what can stain it, and remember - polishing it doesn't actually prolong the life of it.

Jux_91 karma

Should I worry if my deck kind of curves to the left of my house?

TyPennington189 karma

Don't be ashamed of your curvy deck. A curvy deck just sometimes means there's more deck to go around.

candleboy9571 karma

Have you seen the episode of Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia where the gang tries to do their own Extreme Makeover? What’d you think of it?

TyPennington99 karma

I did. And it's funny -they wanted me to be on it, and I couldn't because of my schedule, and then when I saw it, I fell down laughing. I think my favorite part is when they hold the family hostage, it's just so genius. But I'm glad, you know, I inspired them to want to be like me.

Medicine737 karma

Did you like Dennis's shorts?

TyPennington62 karma

Hahaha! Yes. I'm really hoping those come back as a fashion trend. And I've noticed it - men's shorts are getting shorter, and sleeves are getting shorter.

It is the season of the tank!

Besides, who doesn't love Dennis in short shorts?

Medicine723 karma

You could be the guy to bring them back! Thanks for your response and keep being extreme!

TyPennington39 karma

What you really need to look for is cuffed jolts.

SleepyBrain34 karma

Do you plan on carrying over any of the lines you're known for from EMHE to On the Menu? Something like: "Waiter, remove that lid!!"

TyPennington35 karma

Funny! Yes, I think everyone needs a good catchphrase. And my new one is: "Tonight's winner... is tomorrow's dinner!"

SleepyBrain14 karma

That could be a catchphrase in a cooking show or a horror movie. Since you're primarily known for being a handyman/designer, are you worried about how you'll be received on the show? Maybe it would help if you wore a tool belt. Food it too rough? Break out the power sander!

TyPennington15 karma

No, because I've always been really quick with my hands! And already I've shown Emeril some ideas of how to use tools in the kitchen - and he was in awe.

Jux_34 karma

Do you cry as much as we do?

TyPennington90 karma

I'm crying right now.

ninjabarbie7931 karma

Hi Ty. There was quite a bit of controversy about the Extreme Home being fake. Do you feel that most of the families were legitimately needing the makeovers? Also, do you keep in contact with any of the families still?

TyPennington55 karma

Yeah, I actually exchange Christmas cards with a lot of the families every Christmas, and to be honest with you, Extreme was the realest thing I've ever been part of. I think that what makes it so special is that the stories are real. I can guarantee you that what those families were going through was absolutely real. And the emotion you felt when that bus moved was absolutely real.

russiandressing24 karma

Ty, have you ever built a treehouse? Will you come to my house and build me a treehouse?

TyPennington50 karma

Yes, I have built tree houses. The first project I ever did was a 3 story treehouse in my backyard when I was 9, and I didn't have any tools, I pulled a Tom Sawyer and talked the neighborhood kids into doing it and traded comic books for their labor! Who would have guessed that it would foreshadow... anyway, it really happened.

Short answer: YES, I will build you a treehouse. But it will probably have to be a small one.

howdidigethere8923 karma

First off, I've got to say, you awakened my love of DIY back in your Trading Spaces days. My friends and I had pictures of you up on our walls and everything. If there was some sort of Ty Pennington fandom... we were definitely the top rank!

My question is: Which designer's projects were the craziest on Trading Spaces? (my bet is on Hildi, but I suspect Doug was a close second...)

TyPennington30 karma

Well, your guess is pretty good. Doug was more of a nightmare (to work with - huh), but Hildi - she brought crazy like... let's just say, she put the WHY? in crazy!

inkabinka2323 karma

Hi Big fan. What tool is totally necessary in everyone's toolbox. ?

TyPennington36 karma

Tape measure.

TyPennington28 karma

You can't do anything without one. Tape measure, and a pencil.

khaleezey18 karma

Hello Ty! I was a huge Trading Spaces fan back in the day (up until you and Paige left, obviously). Thanks for doing this!

I feel like I've now mastered assembling Ikea furniture and may now be ready to actually build something. What would be a good project for a beginner like me?

TyPennington37 karma

I think you could go with a coffee table. And here's why...

Make a coffee table out of an old used palette. It's simple, it's easy, it's rustic and if you screw it up- you can throw it out!

Frajer15 karma

Was it ever hard to remain upbeat on Extreme Makeover Home Edition when people had such sad stories? What story stuck with you the most?

TyPennington22 karma

Yes, I mean, that was probably the toughest part of the show. And yeah, the thing about those stories is that they become part of you, and sometimes those people you got to know are no longer with us, because they couldn't beat the battle they were fighting. But I think what was amazing is that the family allowed us to go along on their journey, and it makes you realize that we all go through tough things in life, but sometimes it's the support of the community you're in that helps you get through.

steinermommy314 karma

I have a home improvement question: We have blue/gray tile in our kitchen and are planning on painting our cabinets white. We don't have a huge kitchen, but I was considering painting our walls grey. Do you think that it would make it appear to dark in there and close the walls in?

TyPennington43 karma

Two things: you may want to go with, I would suggest going with what I call a "smoke" color which is a very light gray, but if you are going to paint your cabinets white, think about spending the money to get them powder coated, because then you can actually clean them. Powder coating is automotive paint. Because there is nothing like seeing brush strokes on a damn kitchen cabinet...

richardwrinkle13 karma

When you yell "MOVE THAT BUS" on Extreme Home Makeover, is it the same bus driver every time?

TyPennington36 karma

Yes, except once when it was Kermit.

TyPennington35 karma

Actually, I felt bad, because the bus driver's name was Brian. But no one would have known "Move that bus, Brian!"

lmanders3212 karma

I always imagine this really old and cranky bus driver behind the wheel when you yell "move that bus" and everytime that you do it he's surprises him like it was the first time it ever happened. Man i love that. What's your favorite clothing item?

TyPennington16 karma

My favorite clothing item? It's that old man's sweater... no, it's simple, the pair of Levi's Jeans I've had since... my god... let's just say, forever.

poohspiglet8 karma

How is it to work with Emeril, and do you like pork fat as much as he does?

TyPennington21 karma

Emeril is awesome to work with. His sense of humor is hilarious, we're kind of like Bert and Ernie. And do I like pork fat? It's not just the pork fat - when you're around Emeril, everything tastes good.

poohspiglet8 karma

Bert and Ernie, that's funny! I do like both your humor, and that's partly why I'll probably watch the show!

Have you ever had any complications from your appendix removal? And if I remember right, you ADD. Do you still take meds for that? (Apologies if that's too personal).

TyPennington18 karma

I think you can tell that EMHE was real when, in the middle of the show, I'm having my appendix taken out! I think that's the beauty of life, is unexpected things happen, and honestly, I remember that day like it was yesterday because it was so funny - I came out of an operation, and no joke, I let my producer know I was going in, and I came out of the OR and they had cameras and a mic in my face, and I said "oh my god, I had this dream, and you were there, and you were there...."

I'm sorry, I haven't answered the question! Actually, you should keep typing, and then say "oh, I've rambled on again, I've got ADHD."

I'm in great health. And in fact, Emeril's been really keeping me healthy and eating right.

Duff_Bart8 karma

When doing an extreme home make over, what is the most disgusting thing you, or your crew, has come across?

TyPennington31 karma

Paulie in the bathroom of the bus.

sw3378 karma

Good morning Ty. I have been a fan since you were on Trading Spaces and I found out you and I share a birthday. What are you doing for your birthday this year?

TyPennington12 karma

Well, I'm going to try and do everything on my bucket list in one day. OR I'll just take a day off. One or the other. But since it's 50, I really can go either way, which is what's so great about the number 50 - you can go 50/50! The one thing I'm doing - I'm actually launching this thing that is sharing all the things i want to do on my bucket list with other people, and I'm opening up to other people to share too. You'll see it when it goes live probably on YouTube.

courtiebabe4208 karma


TyPennington16 karma

I think my favorite project to work on would probably have to be EMHE, because we worked on so many projects & we met and helped change so many lives, and in the process, our own. I think the most challenging, I would say, would be myself building a house because it's taking a lot longer than 7 days.

PM_ME_UR_KNEE8 karma

Why must you make me feel so many emotions?

TyPennington30 karma

quizzical face

Look, I feel the same way. Emotion's not something I normally show on a daily basis myself. That's why it's really awkward that I get to share it with thousands of people. But trust me, it's even worse to see YOURSELF crying after you've cried, and then you're crying AGAIN seeing yourself crying from when you cried before.

I would still rather laugh than cry.

NotRelevantQuestion7 karma

If you could obtain any animal imaginable as a pet to be your loyal companion, what animal would it be?

TyPennington21 karma

The Honey Badger. Because it's fearless.

catttdog6 karma

What is the biggest takeaway you have gotten from an Extreme Makeover?

TyPennington20 karma

Spend time, don't just save it.

YEAH_D0G6 karma

My buddy who worked in Northern Michigan at a park said you and your crew partied really hard. So my question is, how do I get in on this action?

TyPennington11 karma

Yes, my crew were very special! And they worked really, really hard. Once we finished the project, they certainly played pretty hard, and it sounds like they had a pretty good time in Michigan. The good news is: I may be coming that way... in the dead of winter!

bobbyflay866 karma

Hey Ty!

Thanks for doing this AMA and I've really been a fan for years. What is more exciting for you . . . building houses or beautiful dishes of food?

Also, what do you love about NYC? What borough do you belong to?

TyPennington5 karma

I'm trying to get a combination here... great question...the most exciting thing about all of that is a beautiful tasty dish in a brand-new dining room for a family who's never had one.

What I love about NYC is the energy, the pace, and the creativity. You can't beat it, anywhere. Also: THE FOOD. And what borough do I belong to? Lower East Side where all groundhogs and rodents belong.

soundofreason5 karma

Do you have any cool behind the scenes stories from EMHE? Good luck with your new show!

TyPennington25 karma

Yes. One of my favorite moments was when we knocked on the wrong door. We ran next door, to the right one. The look of confusion was like "What's wrong with me?!"

Cait45674 karma

Hey Ty! I'm a HUGE fan since your Trading Spaces days! I have a really important question to ask you --- Do you like M&Ms or Turkish Delights? (Because my office has both and is down the hall from you!)

TyPennington6 karma

I'm a huge fan of Turkish M&MS!

clayHarvest3 karma

Favorite tool of all time to use? I personally love to use a jigsaw and also I drove a underground camera for work so it's a tool in a way.

TyPennington7 karma

It used to be the belt sander, because you can actually have races across the floor with them! But now, it really is my camera, because I use it every day, and it captures ideas that turn into befores & afters.

kniny3 karma

Hey Ty, got any good jokes?

TyPennington9 karma


long pause

No, I don't. Do YOU?

hot_bologna2 karma

What qualifications do you think you bring to a cooking show like The Menu? After all, you've become known as much for being a TV personality as you were an accomplished contractor which appear to have little or nothing to do with cooking.

I've liked your work since Trading Spaces, BTW.

TyPennington2 karma

Well, I'm by no means a "top chef" - however, I do like making dreams come true, and for these everyday home cooks, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity where you really get to see the passion and creativity that they put into the art form that is cooking. And for me, I'm one of them - I learn every single day. But the great thing bout this show is we ALL win, because we can finally all taste it!

richardwrinkle1 karma

What are your thoughts on juicing fruits and vegetables?

TyPennington4 karma

Well, I say the juicier the better!

dular271 karma

Hi, big fan here! Thanks for doing the AMA! How long have you been interested in home design/construction?

TyPennington8 karma

Well, I started with de-construction of my mom's living room at the age of 7, which led to construction of a 3 story treehouse around the age of 8, because i was banned from the home. So it started early.

Beasts_at_the_Throne1 karma

What's your favorite Extreme Makeover?

TyPennington12 karma

That's impossible for me to answer. It's like saying "Who's your favorite kid?"

However, I think one of the best we've ever done- and clearly is our watermark - would be 7 houses in 7 days in Joplin, Missouri. I mean, what?!?

ABebout1 karma

Hi Ty! I've been a huge fan of EMHE for years. When I was 10, I would watch it every time a new episode would come on with my mother and she adores you. What life lessons have you learned from EMHE?

TyPennington7 karma

I've learned that no matter what life throws at you, even though sometimes it feels like it, you don't have to face it alone.

YesIownGuns0 karma

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

TyPennington6 karma

My favorite flavor of ice cream... I'm gonna have to be so, I don't want to be vanilla, but I'm gonna be butter pecan.