Mike Rowe Gets a Real Prostate Exam, on Camera, From His Real Doctor in This Amusing PSA

A real stripped-down spot from Erich & Kallman

Mike Rowe has witnessed a lot of people performing dirty jobs over the years. But it turns out he's an expert in having them performed on himself, too. 

The TV host undergoes an actual prostate exam from his actual doctor, as the cameras roll, in this plainspoken and lighthearted PSA from agency Erich & Kallman for ZERO, a nonprofit dedicated to prostate cancer education, testing, patient support, research and advocacy. 

The video was shot in the offices of Rowe's physician, Dr. Jordan Shlain, in Menlo Park, California. Check it out here: 

Mike Rowe Gets His Prostate Checked

Eric Kallman, co-founder and creative director of Erich & Kallman, tells Muse that he had the idea for the spot after reading an article about Ben Stiller having to deal with prostate cancer over a year ago. Stiller declined to work on such an ad, but the idea survived. 

"I was telling my friend, director Andrew Laurich, about the idea, and he happened to be friends with Mike Rowe, and the idea seemed even better suited for him," Kallman says. "It turns out when we approached Mike, he had a good friend who was dealing with prostate cancer, and he liked the idea, so he agreed." 

In the end, the shoot wasn't that awkward, Kallman insists. 

"We rehearsed a few times until everyone had it down, then on the take that you see, the doctor actually performed the exam," he says. "Both Mike and his doctor's performance were so good that we decided to continue to roll after the director called cut so we could share that footage, too. Without it, I was afraid people wouldn't think the exam really happened. Trust me, it did." 

The PSA will run on YouTube. It will be shared by ZERO and by Rowe to his large network of social media followers. There is no media buy planned.

"Like most men, my first prostate exam came a few weeks after a dear friend was diagnosed," Rowe said in a statement. "His name was Jeff Wilson. Happily, it still is. Jeff is alive and well today because a routine exam revealed an anomaly when he was just 47 years old. It was cancer. They didn't catch it early, but they caught it in time. Jeff had his prostate removed, and lived to tell the tale." 

Rowe added: "Jeff Wilson is the reason I agreed to get my prostate examined on camera. I wanted men to see—for real—just how fast and simple the process is, and just how critically important early detection can be. But men don't need a lecture, and the world doesn't need another PSA filled with sad faces and cello music because lectures, sad faces, and cello music don't work. What works is authenticity, and this is quite possibly the most authentic thing I've ever filmed. With a little help from my actual doctor, his actual finger, and my actual rectum, I'm hopeful we can save some actual lives."

Agency: Erich & Kallman
Production Company: ContagiousLA
Director: Andrew Laurich
DP: Scott Uhlfelder 
EP: Natalie Sakai
Producer: Hannah Rome
Colorist: Stephen Derluguian
Audio Mix: Barking Owl
Mixer: Matt Keith
Music: Haystack Music
Track: "Your Smile is the Sun" by Andrew Sherman
Music Supervisor: Ryan Alons
Executive Producer: Ian Jeffreys

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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