American life seems to be agreeing with Perth-born comedian turned Australian talk show star Rove McManus.
McManus moved to the US with Geraldton-raised wife Tasma Walton in late 2009 after his long-running show ended on Ten and he has made sporadic trips back to Australia for events such as last year's Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, where he appeared fit and tanned.
"Now I'm fat and miserable," the triple Gold Logie winner joked down the phone last week from his office at CBS Television City in Los Angeles.
McManus is in good company at CBS, where his new show for Foxtel, Rove LA, is being taped each Thursday for Monday night transmission on Fox8. Shows recorded in the vicinity include The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Bold and the Beautiful, Drew Carey's The Price is Right, American Idol and some of the Survivor specials.
"There is always something going on, there's plenty of hustle and bustle and we're doing a little show that is tucked away in the corner that no one here is ever going to see. We can talk about them behind their backs," McManus said.
Foxtel is calling the show "a supercharged comedy driven talk show in front of a live audience, talking to celebrities." Guests for the premiere episode are former Friends star Lisa Kudrow, Emmy-winning comedian Kathy Griffin and Entourage star Jerry "Turtle" Ferrara. Week two will feature Steve Carell, Hugh Jackman and Tim Gunn from Project Runway.
Americans might not get to see Rove LA but they have been getting acquainted with McManus through his quirky Rove Across America segment on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
"I'll go as far as they will send me, I have made it about three quarters of the way across," McManus said.
"I haven't made it all the way to the east coast. I seem to be ending up a lot around that mid-west area. As it has been described to me, there is Los Angeles, there is New York and America is everything else in between."
Rove LA promises to show Aussie viewers McManus' take on life in America and he says his most unusual experience so far happened not in a bizarre country town but at an LA club called Lucha VaVoom.
"Inside, every couple of months, they have a weird mix of cabaret, burlesque, Mexican Luchador wrestling with a live DJ, crowd interaction and commentary.
"Depending on the night, people like Drew Carey turn up to do commentary for it. It is the most bizarre experience. The entire audience is dressed up and it's like Halloween, everyone is in some weird costume. It was the greatest night of entertainment I have probably seen in my entire life."
Much has been written of McManus' desire to host a US talk show, with some saying he could still be in the mix to host Leno's show when he retires.
"I don't know about that. I can tell you one thing for sure, that man is one of the hardest-working men in showbusiness," he said.
"If you're living your life waiting for him to kind of finish up his job I think you might be waiting for a while.
"I am quite happy doing my own thing and what the future holds is completely out of my hands and I'll leave it that way.
"Whether that means I am in Australia or LA I don't know, or anywhere else on the planet.
"You might even see me ending up back in Perth.
"At the moment I am just really genuinely happily going with the flow and enjoying it, really, really enjoying it."
One thing is fairly certain: McManus won't miss his annual trip home to Perth for Christmas.
"I am just really genuinely happily going with the flow and enjoying it, really, really enjoying it."Rove LA airs Monday at 6.30pm on Fox8 and 8.30pm on Fox8+2
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