Jack Osbourne on reality TV, AOL chat rooms, and hunting ghosts for a living

“I became the cliche pot-smoking, heavy metal-listening, black eyeliner-wearing, angsty teen.”

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Who ya gonna call? Jack Osbourne.

Yes, that’s correct. The 35-year-old TV personality best known for being the son of rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, and, of course, part of the cast of MTV’s groundbreaking reality series The Osbournes, has been making a name for himself as a paranormal investigator over the past few years.

“My 15-year-old self would laugh his ass off at the fact that 35-year-old me gets paid to look for ghosts,” Osbourne tells Inverse.

That’s exactly what he does on Discovery+’s Portals to Hell. The program finds Osbourne and co-host Katrina Weidman traveling the country to investigate the most haunted locales to see if they may actually be a, well, portal to hell.

Osbourne, who celebrated his 18th year of sobriety earlier this year, isn’t the same kid MTV audiences were introduced to nearly two decades ago — although, we weren’t able to confirm how he presently feels about McDonald’s McRib Sandwich. Regardless, it’s still easy to see the connective tissue between his heavy-metal-infused formative years and the path he finds himself on now.

Sure, it’s easy to scoff at his current project and lump it in with other paranormal programs of a similar ilk. But there’s a labor-of-love component to what Osbourne and Weidman are doing with Portals to Hell that makes it feel surprisingly authentic.

That may be a weird thing to say, but considering how each episode of the discovery+ series is infused with a deep curiosity, a passion for exploring a locale’s history, and a sort of gorilla-style indie-filmmaking aesthetic to what they’re doing, that all marks the program as a stand-out in the genre.

To commemorate the premiere of the second half of Season 2 of Portals to Hell, which dropped Saturday, March 20 (and is now streaming on discovery+), Osbourne spoke with Inverse about what makes him tick: from his childhood love of the band Tool to his time on The Osbournes to, as he puts it, getting “paid to look for ghosts.”

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

What kind of kid were you?

I went through many phases. Was very nerdy for a time and a bit of a mommy’s boy. When I was a teenager, I became the cliche pot-smoking, heavy metal-listening, black eyeliner-wearing angsty teen.

What was your favorite band when you were 15?

It was Tool.

What piece of clothing did you wear too often in high school?

My Tool t-shirt.

What is your first memory of the internet?

Being in an AOL chat room and realizing at a young age that you can talk shit to people anonymously and have zero repercussions.

What is the truth about love you believed when you were 15?

I didn’t think about love at 15. I was more interested in music and going to parties.

What high school teacher did you like the most? And why?

Next question.

What do you consider your first professional big break? And why?

Umm...I mean it’s kind of a no-brainer. It was The Osbournes.

What was your first professional failure?

Oh man, I’ve had many. I’d probably say the biggest failure was The Osbournes: Reloaded on FOX. It was canceled after one episode because ad sales pulled out of it. They said it was too risky for TV. Hah.

What is your cant-miss prediction for 2030? And why?

Oh wow, I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I have stopped making predictions because the world is so f*cked up in this day and age. Whatever 2030 is going to look like, it feels like it’ll be worse than what 2021 is. Things only seem to be going in one direction these days.

What would your 15-year-old self say about your latest project?

My 15-year-old self would laugh his ass off at the fact that 35-year-old me gets paid to look for ghosts.

AWKWARD PHASE is an Inverse series with interesting people talking about the most relatable period in their life. The interview above has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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