‘Dirty Jobs’: Mike Rowe Explains How a ‘Mistake’ and His Grandfather Were Inspiration for Show

by Quentin Blount

Do you know the story behind how Mike Rowe actually got started on Dirty Jobs? Luckily, the star himself shared that information with a little girl named Emmy.

Rowe sat down with little Emmy for her segment called “7 Questions with Emmy” just a couple of days ago. Each week, Emmy sits down with various interesting people across the world to ask them questions. And Mike Rowe fits perfectly into that category of fascinating people. The segment is sponsored by Idaho Falls Pediatrics.

We all know and love Mike Rowe for his work on the Discovery Channel series, Dirty Jobs. The popular show follows Rowe as he travels around the United States, performing various jobs that are difficult and sometimes just plain disgusting. He is usually working with the men and women that do these jobs for a living. Rowe also starred in the CNN series Somebody’s Gotta Do It. But on Thursday, he was just Mike as he sat down with Emmy on her show.

“I was so excited to talk with my guest today,” Emmy says. “Mike Rowe is a TV host, writer, narrorator, producer, actor, podcaster, and spokesman.”

‘Dirty Jobs’ Got Its Start by Mistake

Mike Rowe spoke to Emmy and told her that Dirty Jobs actually got started by accident. He went into detail about the background of his show when Emmy asked him what his inspiration was in starting it up.

“Oh, well, ‘Dirty Jobs’ was actually a mistake,” Rowe admitted. “I was working on a lot of other programs about 20 years ago. And my grandfather was 91 years old at the time, and he was kind of my hero. I don’t know if your dad can do this, but my pop could take apart anything and put it back together. Without reading the instructions, he could build anything and he could fix anything.”

The Discovery Channel star always wanted a to make a show that starred the people like his grandpa. The ones who could do the dirty work.

“I thought it would be nice to do a TV show that celebrated people like him,” Rowe explained to East Idaho News. “A TV show about work, where people got to build things and fix things and I got to help them out.”

As a result, Rowe quickly began recording episodes. But he started to get letters from people all over the world. They wanted Rowe to come and meet the special people in their lives. Turns out there are people all over the world just like Rowe’s grandfather.

“Then I started getting all sorts of letters from people who said, ‘Mike, you should meet my grandfather, my uncle, my brother, my cousin, my sister, my mom, my dad. Wait til you see what they do.’ And that’s how ‘Dirty Jobs’ got started 20 years ago.”