Johnny Bananas comments on returning to The Challenge: ‘My focus is on other things’

johnny bananas on the challenge total madness
Johnny Bananas last appeared on The Challenge: Total Madness season in 2020. Pic credit: MTV

With The Challenge: Double Agents approaching the final and an All Stars spinoff about to premiere, one of the all-time greats is noticeably absent from both shows.

Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio has been on a bit of a break since winning Total Madness in 2020, and has been putting his attention into other media ventures.

With Bananas off the show, it’s had many fans wanting to see the seven-time winner return to The Challenge. He recently commented on his future with the reality competition series and teased his eventual return.

Johnny Bananas speaks about his Challenge future

Johnny Bananas made a name for himself on MTV’s Real World and The Challenge, but now he’s been working on making a name for himself as a show host.

He’s been part of the NBC show 1st Look, which aired after Saturday Night Live on NBC and featured Bananas traveling to various places to try all sorts of new things. He will soon host the show Celebrity Sleepover, which premieres on April 3 on NBC, also after SNL. The new gig will have Bananas interviewing a variety of celebrities from his living room.

Among the celebs that will appear on the new show will be cast members from The Real World Homecoming: New York and The Challenge: All Stars spinoff season.

In addition, he’s been performing co-host duties on Sports on Prime video shorts online, alongside Spice Adams. The duo talks about some of the greatest moments in sports movie history.

With so many projects going on, it would seem that Bananas has moved on from his career of appearing on, and usually winning, The Challenge. However, according to his comments on US Weekly’s March 31 Watch With Us: Challenge Edition podcast, he’s not officially done.

“I’m not somebody who’s going to sit here and be like, ‘I’m retired,’ and do that whole thing. But I will say right now, my focus is on other things,” Bananas told US Weekly’s Emily Longeretta.

“The Challenge has been such an amazing, incredible part of my life. I had the ability to grow up watching myself on MTV and The Challenge provided me with an incredible platform to create my brand,” he added.

Bananas didn’t give US Weekly an official return timeframe for appearing on MTV’s reality series in the future. He didn’t rule out a return either, though.

“This isn’t goodbye. This is — hopefully — I’ll see you later,” he said with regards to returning to The Challenge.

Bananas shares what made The Challenge ‘amazing’ back in the day

With 20 seasons of The Challenge on his resume, Bananas has certainly seen and been through a lot. The seven-time winner has his fair share of memorable moments, including his infamous “take all the money” move. That’s where he claimed all the first-place prize money for himself on Rivals III season, leaving partner Sarah Rice with nothing.

Nonetheless, Bananas believes things were better back in the earlier days of his Challenge appearances. He elaborated on that during the podcast interview.

“What made The Challenge back in the day so amazing was more of the fun, party environment that was created within the show. You’re obviously there to play the game, but the game was also almost, like, in addition to this party environment that we’re in,” he said of the previous installments.

In newer seasons, competitors haven’t had it quite as fun. On the Total Madness season, where Bananas was the first-place male competitor, the cast members lived together in a bunker, which made for some unpleasant times.

“I think that’s what used to make The Challenge so much fun was showing up and being in this awesome, circus environment where you just got to have all the fun in the world,” Bananas said.

In terms of how to make the experience fun like it used to be, Bananas suggested reconstructing The Challenge to be like those earlier days.

“Take some of the seriousness out of the show and take some of that mind-numbing stress away and the isolation and make it more of a fun experience as opposed to, you know, prison,” he commented.

Bananas has conquered all sorts of conditions and environments on The Challenge, so it seems as if he may have done just about everything. However, he’ll be talking to members of The Challenge: All Stars on his Celebrity Sleepover program. Quite possibly, that will reignite his competitive fire and bring the seven-time champ to appear on one of The Challenge shows in the near future.

The Challenge: Double Agents airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV. The Challenge: All Stars premieres Thursday, April 1 on Paramount Plus.

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