For the longest time the answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was “a game show host.” I think it was Wink Martindale and Tic Tac Dough that was my first real “wow, that’s cool moment.” Richard Dawson, Gene Rayburn, Dick Clark, Alex Trebek, I’ve wanted to be all of them.
The closest I’ve ever come was an audition to be the host of Canadian Idol. Didn’t happen. I have, however, played a few game shows as a contestant. And while I think I could be a good host, I’m a terrible contestant.
Back in the late 90s, my family had a chance to be on the Canadian game show 2nd Honeymoon hosted by Wayne Cox. Think of The Newlywed Game, but with kids and parents trying to match answers. The grand prize? A second honeymoon for Mom and Dad.
Our family came last.Today, I played Family Feud Live on stage at The Calgary Stampede. Sitting in the audience, I saw the producers walking around during the warm-up comedian. I put on my biggest most animated smile, and as he was walking by I just happened to be showing Zacharie how to do ‘the wave’ as it went around the arena. He asked me if I watched the show, if I knew how to play, and if my family would cheer loudly if I played. I answered yes to all and was ushered off backstage, while my family moved to the front row.
Caroline Rhea hosted this live, traveling version of the show that puts audience members together as “families” competing for a share in $1000 in cash prizes. I was cast as the mock husband, and after a pep talk we were all introduced on stage as “The Calgary Family” competing against “The Stampede Family.”
The first question was “what’s something people do on a sunny day?” Our team won the fast question and we chose to play. I was second up… Caroline asked me some questions about who I came to the show with. I pointed out Zacharie, and Charlie and then said “well, I came with my wife, but I don’t know if I’m leaving with her. W Brett Wilson just sat behind her.” The audience giggled, and Jen played along, turning around and hopping right on his lap. Brett played along.
Back to the question. “Eat ice cream,” I blurted.
Ehhhhhhh! The buzzer sounded, our first X. After some right answers, and another wrong, it rolled back to me again.
“Go to the park,” I guessed. Ehhhh! Third strike. The Stampede Family tried to steal, but blew it.Now it’s my turn for the fast question. “Name something office workers need a key for,” Caroline asked. I was fast to that buzzer, my name is Buzz after all, she joked.
“A supply room,” was my choice. 5th on the list out of 6. The other team guessed the #4 answer and then went on a run before ending up with 3 strikes. It was our chance to steal, and while one person had suggested “desk” as an answer, my suggestion of “parkade” somehow became our guess.
Ehhhhhh! The Stampede Family got the points.
The next question was “name a food item you wash before eating,” and The Stampede Family won the fast break, and then buzzed out with only one answer left on the board. If we stole the points, we’d win. Buzz out and we lose. I kept my mouth shut in the huddle, and “potatoes” was our answer.
Ding! The Calgary Family wins!!! Wooooo!
Backstage we each won $100 cash, and some certificates for food at the Stampede. We took pictures with Caroline Rhea, and W Brett Wilson showed up and joked with Jen some more.
It was a blast. Caroline Rhea was a pro, the producers ran a tight energetic ship, my team picked up my dropped balls, and I promise I won’t try to be on another game show again – unless I’m hosting.