David Hasselhoff: 'I Didn't Invent The Hoff'

David Hasselhoff (Getty Images)
David Hasselhoff (Getty Images)

David Hasselhoff is a lot of things to a lot of people. You might know him as The Hoff. Or Knight Rider. Or Mitch Buchannon. Or perhaps for the incredibly cheesy video in which he covers "Hooked on a Feeling." The man's been working in Hollywood since the '70s.

But now, for a few people at least, David Hasselhoff might be most remembered for the day he came to clean their house.

Hasselhoff has teamed up with Clorox for a series of Vine ads to promote their line of cleaning products. He also took part in Hassle-Off Day, in which Clorox and Homejoy — essentially Uber for home cleaning — teamed up to send three lucky New Yorkers a very special maid: The Hoff himself.

As self-derogation has become such a popular source of comedy for the uber-famous, Hasselhoff, who's had a sense of humor about himself for years, stands out as a sort of pioneer in the art. Hasselhoff spoke to Yahoo about his latest gig, not taking yourself too seriously, and, really, whatever else he wanted to talk about. [Author's note: This interview sort of got away from me. David Hasselhoff is like a freight train, you cannot control it, but only hope to use its surplus of energy for good.]

I was hoping you could explain this partnership with Clorox a little bit to me.
The tone of this thing is a lot of fun. You know, my name is Hasselhoff, so I took the "hassel" out of the "hoff," and I [became] The Hoff. Now I'm taking the hassle out of cleaning and it’s a way to kind of interact with my fans and get in people’s faces in a fun way. There's has a new platform called Homejoy where you can actually order a maid. Actually, you can order topless maids out here in Hollywood, but they won’t let me do that. They sent me their ideas for the commercials and they’re kind of stupidly funny and overly crazy like my character The Hoff is. They don’t make any sense but they’re funny.

A lot of celebrities are doing the self-deprecating thing, but I feel like you were one of the first people who was willing to joke about yourself.
When stuff comes out about you that sometimes can be devastating to your career, you either take it seriously or you slough it off and laugh at it and move forward. And I laughed at it because, 'Oh my God, they’re making this into such a big deal. Well, I’m going to make it into a big deal,' and so then it just spirals out of control. It’s like The Hoff, I didn’t invent The Hoff, The Hoff was invented by some secretaries in Australia and then they made all these jokes about, you know, Hasselhoff and "Hoffalicious" and "Hoff-crazy." And so I went down to Australia and they thought I would be offended and I wore a T-shirt that said "Don’t Hassle The Hoff." Bam! This brand has just taken off.

Now are you really going to be cleaning people's homes?
Yeah, I think that’s hysterical. I’ve done this before where I just knock on people's doors and they open the door and I go, "Hi! It's The Hoff! I’m here to help you clean. You want some help?" It's just really fun. I’ve been doing that basically all my life. I actually started when I was literally jogging in the Bahamas. A lady came out to get her mail and she said, "Oh, it's Knight Rider!" I said, "How are you? Got anything to drink in there? It's so hot here in the Bahamas." "Come on in, Knight Rider. Come on in!" Next thing I know, I’m in their house, her whole family comes home, the kids come home from school, it's just the loveliest family from the Bahamas and I ended up [going out that night] with the daughter to the blackest club ever. You know, I can get myself into any situation.

Are you going to sing while you scrub?
That's not a bad idea...

Yeah, give them a little jingle or something. That might make it fun.
Maybe I can create the new Clorox jingle. [singing] Take the hassle out of cleaning when you pump and clean.

David Hasselhoff cleans a lucky winner's home (Getty Images)
David Hasselhoff cleans a lucky winner's home (Getty Images)

And then there are the royalties, so you'll be good to go for years.
The royalties aren't important. The one thing in life I don't need are the royalties. The reason I do these things is because they’re fun, they’re entertaining, and they reach a wide audience. It’s funny, videos now, honest to God, I don’t think I’ve done any network videos. I’ve done now like 32 or 33 Internet ones and they just go wacko.

It's the future right?
It's also the future of television. I have a film coming out called Killing Hasselhoff and that’ll probably go to Netflix and I have a TV series called Hoff the Record, it’s all going to be on the Internet and that’s what I want because then you can take your telephone, plug it into any television set around the world, and that's it. I live off my telephone, watching television series on the airplane.

If you could spring clean anything out of your career, what would it be?
Well, there’s a lot of things I'd like to spring clean out of my personal life that have to do with women, but out of my career, no. I’ve made some notoriously bad choices that have always turned into hits. My last manager, I think we fired each other over [my decision to do] Piranha 3DD. I thought it was a hysterically bad movie and I said, "I have to be in this, it's so bad." And it turned out to be this huge hit. I got so many kids from Comic-Con going, "Man, I love that movie. I’ve watched it like five times." There's an audience out there for everything.

[Hollywood] wanted me to change the name Hasselhoff, but I kept the name because I took so much crap for it in high school and now Hasselhoff has made me a fortune. It’s just amazing that I kept it and, honest to God, I kept it because I thought, No, my mom and dad gave me this name, I’m not going to change my name, and I think I’ve gained a little payback now.

Related: David Hasselhoff on Sharknado 3: "I've Never Had More Fun"

This interview has been edited and condensed.