‘Hot Ones' host Sean Evans relives Chicago River tour days, wild Conan O'Brien interview

Evans has hosted the show since 2015, interviewing some of the biggest stars in the entertainment world

He’s made a career out of eating spicy wings and interviewing some of the biggest names in entertainment, but “Hot Ones” host Sean Evans says that a job in Chicago helped him prepare for his launch to stardom.

Speaking to Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on “TODAY,” Evans said that his work as a tour guide on a Chicago River architectural tour helped him to hone his skills.

“That was an amazing job,” he said. “Besides my current job, it’s my favorite job I’ve ever had. You do these five-to-six tours a day, you have a boat full of 150 people, and I do think being out there and doing those tours every day, I think that it did more for me than anything I did in the lead-up, including the broadcast journalism degree.”

Evans said performing five-to-six times per day was an immersive experience that taught him the value of hitting key beats and adjusting on the fly to entertain an audience.

It’s always a focus group looking back at you. You can see the points in the tour where their eyes light up, and think ‘I have to build on the eyes light up moments,’” he said.

Evans, born in Evanston, attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign prior to his ascent to internet stardom. “Hot Ones” made its debut in 2015, and has played host to a slew of big-time stars, including Idris Elba, Paul Rudd and Jack Black, among others.

It was a recent episode with legendary late-night host Conan O’Brien that vaulted the show to even greater heights, with the comedian bathing in hot sauce and taunting Evans throughout the episode, which has already garnered nearly 10 million views.

“I tried to stop him,” Evans said. “For my generation, he’s the GOAT talk show host, and to have him come into the studio was such an honor and privilege to shoot with him.”

The new season of ‘Hot Ones’ premiered on Friday, with action star Chris Hemsworth taking on “The Wings of Death,” as the show refers to its signature food offering. Each guest is asked to eat 10 wings of increasing spiciness, with guests asked a series of questions by Evans, who also eats wings of his own.

The show debuts new episodes each Friday via the First We Feast YouTube channel.

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