This week’s Aw NHL Naw lets the playoffs speak for itself. Instead of playoff talk, let’s stumble into the magical world of game show auditiondom.
Yesterday, I auditioned to be a contestant on Match Game. The glamour! The prestige! The glamstige! Auditions are neat. I’ve auditioned for four things in my life. 1) A school musical (My song choice for the audition? “Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.) 2) An open casting call for Renegade Press (Holy shit did I not get the part. I was asked to come back to audition the next day for a new show called Corner Gas. I think I was reading for Hank. Did not get the part.) 3) To be a MuchMusic VJ at some point in the mid aughts. What kid doesn’t dream of being the next Bradford How? 4) To be a Match Game contestant and all the glamour that comes with it.
Before doing the in-person audition, you have to submit an online form. It’s a mix of personal info (name, phone number, how many times you’ve been arrested, etc.), job interview-y type questions (what’s your best quality, what’s your worst) and a spot where you send in a photo of yourself. Here’s the one I sent in. (Yes, that’s actually the one I sent in.)
I got a callback a couple days later to see if I wanted to do an in-person audition. I was totally onboard for such a thing (WHO SEZ NO TO BEING ON THE TV?) and began making plans to cram in as many old episodes of Match Game as I could before trying out for the show. It mostly just veered into watching old Snatch Game clips.
I popped out to the studio to soak in majesty of television production. In my mind, all studios are the Animaniacs version of the Warner lot, so I was unreasonably excited to see the inner workings of the Canadian entertainment industrial complex. I got to the studio and was instructed by a sign (a fancy printed out sign) to sit in the lobby and that I’d be collected at the appropriate time. The studio lobby was the most awesomely dead mallesque place I’ve ever been to. Dead mall tile, dead mall paint job, dead mall weird stylized window wall and a hub in the middle that was a collection of eight dying plants underneath a skylight that may have been stolen from a 1980s A&W. I thought it was neat. The walls were lined with movie posters for films that were either completely forgotten (Cold Creek Manor, Murder at 1600) or were just full on disasters (Blues Brothers 2000, The Stupids, Bogus). Occasionally, you’d see a poster for something like The Others, but it’d be kinda tucked away like it was some sort of secret shame. There were also a lot of posters for the 2007 version of Hairspray and a weird wall with banner-style posters highlighting each winner of So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
The lobby was also filled with other potential contestants. Who among these people (that are alarmingly free at 5PM on a Wednesday) will be deemed worthy to soak in the glory of being a Canadian game show contestant? What if someone here was on Clips or Kidstreet or Talk About? I could be going up against savvy game show vets. Maybe they’re needing the money for surgery and they have extra fire? So much intrigue! (I’m hoping to be on the show because I think it’d be fun and I could use the money to help pay for my upcoming wedding. Heroin cake for everybody!)
After a lil’ bit of waiting, two very nice women took us from the lobby (So long, poster for The Tuxedo!) into a room for the audition. It was a general office boardroom, the sort of thing you sit in when you’re going through orientation for a minimum wage job. We had our pictures taken and sat down at a big ol’ table (No buzzers or Sean Cullens?) for a cheery runthrough of the game and a lot of talking about ourselves.
We went around the table (there were about 12 people at this particular audition, with another group set to come in an hour later) and were asked to say a little something about ourselves. For all the shit game show contestants get for being dull in the “tell us about yourself” portion of the show, it’s a weird thing to try to and explain who you are in a short burst. “I LIKE PIZZA AND I AM HAUNTED BY THE PROSPECT OF DYING ALONE!” I barfed out a quick “I like candy bars, soda pop and Jason Statham movies” when it came around to me. The group was mostly youngish folks (university students) and everyone was relatively perky.
Next up was “playing” the game. We went through the game round by round, essentially playing a points/money-free version of Match Game. In the first round, we played the classic Match Game portion of game. The job was to fill in the blank. (Sample question from the Match Game website: “At the Calgary Stampede, Debra was very impressed when she saw the horse’s _____. ” You’d fill it in and try to fill in the ____ and match it with the celebrity contestants.) If you’re good at Match Game, you’ll know what the most popular answer would be. In the room, Lady A would ask a question, we’d write our answer on a piece of paper and we’d see if our answer matched up with Lady B’s answer. I didn’t get a single one right. I think I was the only person that got every question wrong. This is because my brain’s weird or because I’m just plain dumb.
This is one of the (paraphrased) questions that came up: “Prince Periwinkle got so drunk at the bar last night, that when he was leaving he tried to kiss his ____.”
The celebrity (read: Lady B) answer was: “mother”. Everyone at the table was essentially in the neighbourhood of the a match, answering with “relative”, “cousin”, “mother” or “sister”. As for me, I put “sponsor” as my answer. I had to explain what it was. I wasn’t just out of the neighbourhood I was in an area that had me doing a panicked search for Block Parent signs. I got closer on some other questions, but was still way off in general.
Next up: the “on the same wavelength” round. Here’s the description of the rules of the round from the show’s website:
This game is played in Act 3 each contestant plays with a celebrity panelist of their choosing (they must each choose a different one). Then they play a parallel game to make as many matches as they can in 45 seconds. They are presented with a series of two phrases and must choose one .For each answer that matches the contestant gets 25 points.
Eg. American Beauty, Cream of Mushroom, Michelle Williams
American Pie, Cream of Wheat, Michelle Obama
Tie breaker is a best of five additional phrases. The lowest scoring Contestant is eliminated after this round.
I did okay in this round. Having a 50/50 shot at each question does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. WATCH OUT, I’M A JUGGERNAUT OF MODERATELY FUNCTIONAL GUESSING!
After that, we played the Family Feud style pre-final round portion of the game.
This game concludes Act Three, and is played by the remaining contestant. In this game a Keyword with an accompanying blank is shown to the contestant and panel. The contestant chooses three panelists to supply a word to fill in the blank. The contestant chooses which answer they think is best and it is compared to audience survey answers for the same word and blank. There are three top audience answers assigned to money values in ascending order. If a match is made the contestant wins the amount of money in the corresponding position.
e.g. Original Clue : Traffic _______
Panelist answers: Light, Jam and Pollution
Contestant chooses: Light (as the best answer)
Host reveals Audience survey answers
$100 Traffic Cop
$300 Traffic Jam
$500 Traffic Light
Contestant wins $500
I was okayish at this too. My answers tended to be $300 level answers and gave me a glimmer of hope that I might be a quasi eligible candidate for the show. The final round is essentially a higher stakes version of the first round (and there’s a wheel involved) so we skipped that portion. Boom! With all the rounds complete, our group was officially Match Gamed up at a professional level.
With the game over, we were asked a few more friendly questions about ourselves. We went around the table again, with each prospective contestant giving a few more tidbits about their lives and their personality traits. Everyone was asked what their best and worst qualities were. Everyone at the table said their best quality was essentially a mixture of “I’m really nice and helpful and kind and oh so fun to be around”. I answered that my best quality was that I was not a racist. I think my answer was easily the best one. There was a bit more variety in what the worst qualities at the table were. All the “worst qualities’ were answered in a job interviewy sorta way. “My worst quality? I’m far too trusting.” came up a bit, same with “I’d have to say my worst quality is that I’m too nice to people.” My worst quality was that I was incompetent with anything to do with physical labour and it was causing an unfair burden on my fiance who has a severe disease that limits her ability to handle those sorts of tasks.
We were also asked to talk about a crazy situation we’ve been in. That was loads more fun. There were some neat stories about operating rooms and magic shows and snake collecting. If you ever get the opportunity to hear strangers talk about crazy life experiences in a cramped conference room, you take it. My crazy life story seemed to bum people out. I talked about how I used to work at JPay, a money transfer service that works exclusively with prisons and prisoners. The room went from smiley and perky to uncomfortable and alarmingly quiet in an instant. Tremendous.
With all the necessary information gathered, we were sent back out into the world to wait on an email (scheduled to arrive at some point in the future) letting know if we made it as a contestant or if we’d be better suited to being in the studio audience. The glamour of television!
I look forward to finding out if Match Game found me to be a _______.
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