Catfish: The TV Show is the wildest ride on TV, and according to co-host Kamie Crawford, it’s only going to get crazier when new episodes return tomorrow.
Kamie hosts the MTV hit alongside Nev Schulman, looking to unite people with the online loves that they think they know—or do they? Every episode is a search for the truth, while discovering some pretty incredible lies and dishing out some much-needed relationship advice.
In our interview, Kamie explained to Hidden Remote how making Catfish isn’t as easy as you think, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the catfishing epidemic, and why the show “keeps getting weirder.” Learn more and watch new episodes starting tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.
Hidden Remote: You’ve been the permanent co-host on the show for a while now; what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned since stepping in full-time?
Kamie Crawford: Honestly, for this upcoming season, it just keeps getting weirder. Our first episode this season, starts with a couple that met on Pornhub. I didn’t even know you could meet people on Pornhub. Apparently you can connect with people, and they did. We’ll see what happens in this situation.
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is just roll with everything. The other lesson that Nev is teaching me [is] I love to talk, but sometimes when you’re silent, people start really expressing themselves and the truth starts coming out. I think that for a lot of these catfish, lying just has become so easy to do, that sometimes when they’re just sitting in quiet, or we might just give them time to ponder their behavior, they’ll eventually come forward and tell us what we want to know. You learn different lessons along the way, that’s for sure.
HR: There was a very clear dynamic between Nev and Max Joseph, your predecessor, where Max would be the “tough love” guy. How would you describe your approach to the show?
KC: I’m the oldest of six sisters. I think I naturally take on a very protective role, but also can give you that big sister advice that I think a lot of people need and want. We were filming an episode just yesterday, and I had to ask the person that we were helping, do you want my honest opinion, because I don’t want to skew the way that you see things, but I also want to keep it real with you, but only if you want it.
As we’re filming, we’re able to develop relationships with the people that we’re working with; even if it’s just with these virtual episodes [in] two days, we really get to know each other. I think that at this point, anyone who’s seen the show before trusts in me to give them the real. Sometimes you don’t like what you have to hear. Sometimes it’s hard to take accountability. Sometimes you want to just live in the fantasy, but sometimes, we need that person in our lives to shake us up and give us the reality that we so desperately need.
HR: Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected what you’re seeing on the show? Since it seems like people are more desperate to connect with someone else.
KC: I think now, more than ever, we can understand what people who are getting catfished and what people who are catfishing are going through, just the isolation part of it. We’re all experiencing it. As crazy as it is, you can understand if someone says like, “Oh, well I was going to meet up with them, but then they said that their mom got COVID,” or that they got sick, or that they didn’t feel comfortable traveling. I understand that. There’s so many excuses now, but with things opening up in the world, those excuses are going to become less and less believable.
Nev was actually saying earlier, “Can you imagine the episodes that we’re going to have after the pandemic is over?” When people who have been talking to these people online throughout this entire year finally [are] free to roam, and people are still making excuses. It’s going to cause a lot of people to be lik well, wait a minute, this can’t be right, where you were able to accept the excuses before. People are going to start asking questions, and time is running out.
HR: How has making Catfish: The TV Show fit into your life? Do you have time to prepare ahead of these cases, or what else don’t we see? Because things move pretty fast in each episode but there’s a lot more that goes into the show.
KC: There is zero preparation. (laughs) I love when I see things on Twitter, where people are like, “Kamie and Nev are so good with reading from their scripts.” I’m like, “What? Really? No, you can’t write this stuff.” There’s no script. There’s no knowing what could happen. We know as much as the viewers know. When we read the email for the first time, that’s our first time knowing anything about the situation. Most times as we read that email, we still don’t have all the details.
It takes a long time. Most of the time, when we’re talking to our hopeful for the first time, that’s a two and a half-hour conversation. Then we investigate, and that can take up to hours. Literally hours. It’s taken four hours before; it can take longer. Sometimes we work into the night. Sometimes we’re looking things up on our phones off-camera, and filming them on our little digital cameras. It does move a lot faster on the show, but at least for the virtual episodes, it takes us at least two days to film one episode that ends up being cut down into 45 minutes.
People think that everything happens so fast. They’re like oh, what are the odds that you send a text and then five seconds later [get] the first response. I’m like you don’t understand, we’ve been waiting for three hours. It’s a lot of waiting. Most of our job is helping people, but then the other half is fleeting, and we’re constantly waiting for somebody. We’re waiting for them to be ready to get on the Zoom. It looks like it happens really fast, but it really doesn’t.
HR: Have you learned anything personally from all the Catfish stories you’ve heard and advice you’ve been giving everyone else?
KC: I think it’s interesting watching this show, because you think that this can only happen with people that you meet online, but the reality is that you can meet people in real life and still not know anything about them. I think just asking basic questions and allowing people to get to know you, but also getting to know them and asking them things about their personal lives, is so important.
I’ve been in a relationship for going on five years, and I’ve never actually been in the online dating scene, but I have plenty of friends that are. I learn things from them and help them navigate through it from what I know and find out things that I maybe didn’t know before. I also started therapy during the pandemic, which has been amazing and eye-opening, and has helped me a lot with communicating. I thought that I was a great communicator before, but sometimes there are deeper questions that you can really get to know somebody with, and it’s important to ask them, if you’re curious and the relationship is at that point. It’s okay to ask deeper questions. It doesn’t just have to be surface-level.
HR: MTV has a similar investigative docuseries in Ghosted: Love Gone Missing with Travis Mills and Rachel Lindsay. Have you ever compared notes with them?
KC: I remember we started the pandemic episodes a little bit before them [and] I got to talk to Rachel, who’s so sweet. She was like, “How is it filming during the pandemic? How different is it?” because it was a new frontier for all of us. I assured her, “It’s great having access to the snacks in your fridge and your couch, whenever you need a little nap.” It’s just fun to watch. The episodes are great, but there have been times where we’ve talked to people who think that they’re being catfished, and they’re like, “Then I didn’t talk to the person for seven months, and they didn’t tell me why.” We’re like, “Okay. Yeah, there’s a show for that. We’ll refer you to Travis and Rachel [on] Ghosted, so you can get the answers that you need.”
At the end of the day, they’re completely different shows. There’s definitely some aspects that are similar, but it’s crazy how we’re able to have so many episodes of people who are getting deceived and catfished. Then some of the episodes are people who are just being ghosted. It’s crazy.
HR: Speaking of crazy episodes, what’s coming up that we particularly need to know about? Any really surprising Catfish: The TV Show stories?
KC: The episodes are weird. I don’t know how to describe it better than that…Without giving too much away, there is an episode where someone came on, and they had different intentions than what they made us to believe. At the end, karma got a hold of them. Sometimes you can set out to have one thing in mind and it’ll be something completely different. That’s why we say you have to expect the unexpected on the show. You can think you’re trying to fool us, but really you’re the one getting fooled the whole time.
When we’re trying to do our jobs, we take it seriously. Yes, it’s entertainment, but at the end of the day, Nev started this show after the documentary almost 11 years ago [and] the whole idea was to help people. When people come on with bad intentions, it sucks for us, because like I said, we get to know these people. We try to connect with them. To find out that you’ve been trying to fool with us this entire time, I don’t take that very well. I don’t deal with that very well.
HR: Do you have any personal Catfish: The TV Show goals? Anything you’re shooting for or that you hope audiences take away from watching?
KC: This is my personal goal, Catfish has never won an Emmy. It’s been out for so long, and this is such great work being done. We are nominated for an MTV Movie and TV Award in Unscripted for Best Real-Life Crime Mystery Series, which is so exciting, because our team has been working so hard. We’ve literally been filming non-stop for over a year now. We’re so proud to be able to put this show together.
Even if we don’t win an MTV Award, honestly, just being nominated means so much to all of us, because having a show that has lasted this long and is still bringing freshness and newness every single time, and having the best fans literally ever, it means so much. That’s my shameless plug to get us awarded for the work, and for our fans to get the benefits of being great fans, watching and tuning in. I can’t thank everybody enough.
New episodes of Catfish: The TV Show return Tuesday, May 4 on MTV at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.