Brian Dunkleman was the subject of a pointlessly mean joke delivered by Ryan Seacrest, who used his former co-host as part of his campaign to become the universe’s biggest dick.
But Dunkleman has already proven he has a sense of humor about his decision to quit the show, which he blamed on the show’s cruelty. And Dunkleman even has multiple, actually humorous references to Seacrest in the trailer for his proposed series. But they aren’t mean; they’re self-deprecating, and because of that, don’t make Dunkleman look like an asshole.
Anyway, he’s also responded well to Seacrest’s comment. Asked if he “think[s] Seacrest intended it as a slight, Dunkleman told TV.com:
“Yeah, I think so, sure–but it was a joke. Well, it was an attempt at a joke. But unfortunately for Ryan, instead of a laugh, he got applause. That’s never really been his strong suit. But it was a joke, and whether it was mean-spirited or not is irrelevant. A joke’s a joke; you can either take it or you can’t. And quite honestly, once you’ve had Jimmy Kimmel say in a monologue that you should be punched in the face, and at this point you’d probably be receptive to a knife in the gut, I think what Seacrest said was pretty tame.”
In the rest of the interview, Dunkleman does a good job of not seeming obsessed about this–he casually reveals he doesn’t watch the show by saying, “From what I hear, Seacrest was acting really off-the-wall that night. Is that right? I’ve been reading about it online…”
But Dunkleman also goes just a bit further and offers a theory, which seems accurate but isn’t quite the high-road approach (not that I blame him, but still). He said, “That’s why the timing doesn’t surprise me. Dancing with the Stars has replaced Idol as the number one show for, what, the last two weeks? I’m sure that’s sending Seacrest into a panic. It’s not surprising that he would act crazy to get attention, or throw my name out there–he’s done things like this before.”