Mister Gary: Behind the crown of St. Louis’ King of Hospitality
They say it’s good to be the king, but that’s much more than a saying for Gary Boyd. For the past eight years, Boyd has donned a crown and royal scepter as the host of “Them Yo People.” The show airs at 5:30 p.m. and midnight every Sunday on ABC 30 — and it is still going strong.
“When we say ‘Them, your people,’ it's all about family, it’s about the community,” Boyd said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “Most of all, we've got people who just want to be heard, want to be listened to.”
A native of University City, Boyd spent years in the hotel industry before embarking on a new mission: show business. Boyd would soon become “Mr. Gary,” and, in 2014, “Them Yo People” made its premiere.
Even though Boyd had yet to introduce his iconic crown, the premiere (which featured Boyd interviewing attendees at a Baptist convention in downtown St. Louis) set the standard for the episodes to come. In the segment, which you can see here, Boyd encourages his subjects to let their personalities shine — or, as he puts it, “to show up and show out.”
That first episode is still fresh in Boyd’s mind.
“What I remember most about it was all the people, all of the energy and the excitement,” he said. “It took that episode to realize — guess what? We got our people all over. And we got to go get the people.”
It wasn’t always easy to find guests for the show. At first, Boyd said he received criticism that its name sounded like “Ebonics,” which led some ministers and politicians to turn down interview requests.
“I had so many people who didn't want to come on the show, just because it was ‘Them Yo People,’” he said. “They couldn't understand it — they couldn't get past themselves.”
That’s no longer a problem for Mr. Gary. The costumed king has become a staple of St. Louis events, and his branded “Them Yo People” SUV is a common sight at city events, from restaurant openings to Mardi Gras. Now, he said, people call him, asking to be on the show.
And Boyd is loving his reign.
“It's the good things. It's the fun things, and it's the teachable moments,” he said. “That's what makes it ‘Them Yo People.’”
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Emily Woodbury, Kayla Drake, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.