Marki Costello isn’t one to be ignored. If the famous last name doesn’t get you — grandpa is the late, great Lou Costello — her tough talking advice will.
Known as the “hosting guru,” Costello has been running her intensely legendary boot camps for people who want to be TV personalities for almost 20 years. Translation: before it was cool.
“I take you from zero to 100,’’ boasts Costello, who is holding a two-day boot camp at the W Fort Lauderdale this weekend. “With all the reality TV stars now, hosting is a natural progression to parlay their 15 minutes.”
Past and present on-air clients include E!’s Jason Kennedy, game-show personality Todd Newton, and singer Cee Lo Green. The Voice judge wasn’t necessarily a shoe-in to have a show.
“Cee Lo was a funny kind of character,’’ Costello says of the Forget You singer who turned to Marki for his Fuse TV series, Talking to Strangers. “He came in with an entourage.”
Though Green is a huge presence, his weakness was complimenting the stars he was interviewing.
“I told him. ‘The problem is that all you’re going to get back is a thank you,’ ’’ Costello recounts. “Where do you go from there?”
Right. Hosting isn’t as easy as it seems.
“So many people say, ‘Oh, I’ll just read the teleprompter and look good,’ then they get nervous and scared, and it becomes all about them.”
Natural-born talent isn’t a must: “You just need a strong sense of self and to make the audience more important than you are.”
Oprah Winfrey knew this early on, opines Costello, who commends the talk-show diva’s choice to have a studio audience. “She got it 25 years ago — who in fact she was talking to — and became a star.”
Rachael Ray is also impressive.
“Look at her, starting with a little show called 30 Minute Meals. She turned it into a huge empire.”
Despite the fact that there are more opportunities to be the face of your own show, thanks to the Internet and cable TV, chances are still slim. “For some they’d have a better chance of being struck by lightning,” Costello says.
If you really want fame but are lacking in the charisma department, put in the hours.
“I’ve seen individuals who do webisodes, blogs, Tweet their butts off and create a brand who are now making $1 million a year.’’
It won’t be easy.
“I don’t know if it’s this instant-gratification generation, but don’t think if you graduate USC Sunday, you’ll be running IBM by Thursday,” she says.
Speaking of major talent: Marki never met her famous Gramps, who died at age 52 in 1959, but she feels like she has.
“He’s known as the chubby, funny one [of comedy team Abbott & Costello], but he was the businessman,’’ says Marki. “He really was the brains of the duo.”
The mother of two sons sees her youngest may have inherited the funny bone.
“I really feel like my 3-year-old is Lou Costello reincarnated,’’ says the Hollywood native. “We were at a bar mitzvah, and he grabbed the DJ’s mike and warmed up the crowd ... fearless.”
Boot camp info: 10-5 Saturday, 10-3 Sunday. Call 954-850-1021 to reserve a spot; BecomeAHost.com, $750.