Mo Mandel is giving some of America's smallest and quirkiest towns a chance to speak for themselves in Discovery's new series, Small Town Throwdown. The comedian, who himself hails from the tiny town of Boonville, California, opened up to PopCulture.com about his adventure to prove wrong some of the worst town reputations in the country ahead of the series premiere Wednesday, May 20.
"I was absolutely trying to prove a point," Mandel explained of the idea that sparked Small Town Throwdown, saying that his "often misunderstood" hometown taught him that every small corner of the country has something truly fantastic to offer. "That was the inspiration for the show," he continued, "wanting to shine a light on communities that have been insulted and misunderstood."
Traveling to places like Lubbock, Texas, named "The Most Boring Town in America" and Appleton, Wisconsin, named "The Drunkest Town," Mandel wanted to encourage people to think skeptically past the clickbait nicknames often given to places based on easily-swayed statistics and a lack of personal knowledge. "Let's go and let these communities show off for themselves," he said.
Taking on some of the most unique local flavor — from meat judging and rodeo clowning to a frigid polar plunge — Mandel recalled the people who showed him the ropes being "very excited" for the chance to show off the things they're proud of in the town they call home.
"Particularly in regard to Lubbock, people who I talked to didn't seem to find it boring at all," Mandel noted. "They really had so much fun there. People appreciate a different kind of fun ... and it can only help everybody if we appreciated what everyone is doing."
Tuning into Small Town Throwdown, Mandel hopes that people who haven't had the experience of living outside the metropolitan hustle and bustle can realize that it's not the only good choice in location when it comes to building a fulfilling life. Drawing from his own time as an adult living in the entertainment capital of the world, Mandel explained, "I think that something people who live in cities ... seem to think is that people in small towns feel like they're missing out; they're living a second-class way of life."
For Mandel, it's "the opposite," with smaller towns providing a "much more authentic" way of living. "Life is kind of what you make it," he said. "Maybe you don't know what you’re missing out on." Small Town Throwdown premieres on Discovery Wednesday, May 20 at 10 p.m. ET. For more on Discovery's latest programming from PopCulture, click here.