Skip to content

Burt Reynolds and Marc Summers Almost Fought Each Other on '90s Talk Show

A clip of the actor and the Nickelodeon host clashing during a taping just resurfaced.

In 1994, Marc Summers was most famous with kids, as the host of the Nickelodeon shows Double DareFamily Double Dare, and What Would You Do? Around the same time, the late Burt Reynolds, who was known for playing tough guys in the movies, was starring on the CBS sitcom Evening Shade and had just released a memoir. It's unlikely that their paths would have crossed if it weren't for The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, which booked them both as guests on the same episode. Given how different their careers were, nobody would have expected that Summers and Reynolds would clash so badly during the taping that things got physical.

The clip of the awkward moment, which host Jay Leno tries unsuccessfully to defuse and involves both mugs of water and cream pies, has resurfaced on Twitter again and has been making the rounds. Read on to find out what happened between the kids' show host and the actor, why we know it was totally unscripted, and what Summers said about it years later.

RELATED: Rare New Update on Richard Simmons, Who Hasn't Been Seen in 10 Years.

Reynolds gets upset that Summers is facing away from him.

The segment starts off friendly enough, with Summers, who was the second guest, shaking hands with Reynolds, who was the first, and had moved to the seat further from the desk. Commenting on a clip from What Would You Do?, Leno asks Summers if he likes "doing the messy stuff," to which Summers replies, "No, it's very strange, because I am Felix Unger. I am a neatness fanatic, so it's just kind of weird that for the last nine years I've been doing that kind of TV." (He was later diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD.)

As Summers continues to chat with Leno, Reynolds makes a comment about a particular challenge on his show. Then, he cuts in again and says, "Who told you you were a neatness freak? I just say that because your back is to me, and I was just talking to a back." Summers responds, "No, no, I can talk to you too, Burt," and angles his body so he's facing out to the audience.

RELATED: Oliver Stone Said Working With Richard Dreyfuss Was "The Single Worst Experience" of His Career.

Reynolds dumps his water on Summers' lap.

Burt Reynolds dumping water on Marc Summers on The Tonight Show

Reynolds repeats his question about who called Summer "a neatness freak," and the host puts a hand on Reynolds' shoulder and replies, "My wife tells me that often … I'm still married, as a matter of fact." The Smokey and the Bandit star had just split from wife Loni Anderson after both of them reportedly cheated. Understanding that Summers made a joke at Reynolds' expense, the audience reacts loudly. Then, Reynolds picks up his mug of water and dumps it in Summers' lap as the audience gasps.

The Double Dare host picks up his mug to toss his water on Reynolds in retaliation, but the actor blocks it, splashing it back on Summers. "You're not a neatness freak anymore," he remarks. Summers laughs throughout the interaction, but Reynolds does not.

"This is what's known as losing control of the program, ladies and gentlemen," Leno says to the camera.

"Burt Reynolds just threw water on me, did you notice that, folks?" Summers asks. Reynolds pats his hand and says, "And you'll treasure it later." Summers shoots back, "Don't touch me."

The encounter ends with a pie fight.

Burt Reynolds, Marc Summers, and Jay Leno on The Tonight Show

Summers points out that he appeared on Win, Lose or Draw, the game show Reynolds co-created, a few times. "That's funny, I don't remember," Reynolds jabs. Summers tries to get back to discussing his own show with Leno, when someone off-stage throws them some towels to clean up. Reynolds finally laughs, and while he's distracted, Summers dumps his water on him. "You know, I don't mind that," the actor says, "because I deserved it … that's the kind of guy I am. I was saying to your wife the other night…"

The Nickelodeon say then starts listing all the talk shows he had seen Reynolds on in which he seemed "like a nice guy." Reynolds responds, "It's easy to be nice to nice people." The sniping continues until someone from the crew produces two cream pies. In the spirit of Summers' game shows, the two stars get up, stand back to back, and then smash pie into each other's faces.

For more celebrity throwbacks sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Summers confirmed that nothing about it was planned.

Marc Summers in 2018
Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

During a Q&A at a Chicago comedy club in 2017, Summers looked back on the incident. "I never saw [Reynolds] after that. It was just one of those weird things. Everyone thought it was set up, as you can tell, I'm not that good of an actor."

Then, during a 2018 interview on Running Late With Scott Rogowsky, the host explained that he had been supposed to be on The Tonight Show for a year before that but had kept getting bumped. "I started off as a stand-up comic, and you know, you wait to be on The Tonight Show your whole life. I'm not going to let this guy [expletive] it up for me."

It doesn't seem that Reynolds, who died in 2018, ever commented on their awkward encounter.

RELATED: 8 '90s Hit Songs That Are Offensive by Today's Standards.

The clip just went viral on Twitter again.

Todd Spence's tweet about Marc Summers and Burt Reynolds on The Tonight Show
© Todd_Spence/Twitter

Every few years, the clip starts circulating again. Most recently, on Aug. 9, it was posted to Twitter by @Todd_Spence, who called it "possibly the most awkward encounter between guests ever."

The video has been reposted hundreds of times, with many social media users sharing their surprise that they'd never heard about the altercation before. Others pointed out that late-night TV used to be more unpredictable and less scripted. "We don't throw pie in faces enough anymore. I saw a pie in the face daily in my youth," one Twitter user joked. And some commenters praised Summers for not backing down from Reynolds' attitude. "wow. This was great. I have never seen this before but you have to give Marc Summers props for standing up for himself. I have seen too many people let big time celebrities' [sic] just run over them," another user said.

Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
Filed Under