Remember 'American Idol' host Brian Dunkleman? Here's what he's up to now

Let your mind travel back to 2002. Flared jeans! Eminem's "Lose Yourself"! Brian Dunkleman!

Yes, we're of course talking about the Brian Dunkleman of "American Idol" Season 1. He co-hosted the show, then in its total infancy, with a bleach-tipped Ryan Seacrest. They both had spiky hair, and... um, that might be all there is to remember about their stint as co-hosts. Dunkleman quit the show, unfortunately not capitalizing on the opportunity to coin "Dunkleman -- out" before Seacrest could snag it.

Here's the duo with a young Kelly Clarkson:

"American Idol" Season 1 Finale - Results Show
"American Idol" Season 1 Finale - Results Show

So what's he been up to since? Dunkleman has given various reasons for leaving the show, which went on to run for an impressive fifteen seasons: He wanted to focus on stand-up comedy and acting. He didn't like how the producers treated contestants. He was about to be fired and beat FOX to it.

The real answer? Dunkleman said it best himself, in a 2016 piece for for Variety: "All these years later, I still don't know for sure."

He continued, "Fifteen years later ... it almost doesn't seem real. Like it happened to someone else. Considering the mental and emotional state I was in, it's incredible I even made it through that whole first season. It's such a blur now."

In his time post-"Idol," Dunkleman has been remarkably transparent about his odd journey in and out of Hollywood. He doesn't mind poking fun of himself -- he even pitched a TV show which "follows the fictional Dunkleman as he tries to work his way back to the television industry, embarrassing himself and disappointing his friends while constantly being reminded that he 'could have been a millionaire' had he stuck with Idol."

You've also gotta love this self-deprecating post-Super Bowl tweet:

Today, Dunkleman regularly performs stand-up in LA and New York, and he sometimes hosts "Family Feud Live" in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. He's married and has a son. In 2016, he was invited back as a special guest at the "American Idol" finale:

FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season - Press Room
FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season - Press Room
FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season - Show
FOX's 'American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season - Show


"Do I regret not remaining on the show now that it's coming to an end? Yes. Especially when I open my bank statements," Dunkleman wrote. "But without the benefit of hindsight, I would have done the exact same thing."

RELATED: See photos from the "American Idol" finale: