Classic Dishes...



From The Can’t Win For Losing Department

Some folks I know went to go see a game show taping the other day, a perfectly-awful-sounding new GSN offering called Starface. Unremarkable in and of itself, I realize, but stay with me.

Now, I know a few of The Four Of You know how these things go, but for the benefit of those who don’t: usually, there is some dead time between when a studio audience is seated for a taping of a television show and when the show begins, and more and more often, dead time when the show has to stop tape to do something like make a change to the set or redo a shot or something like that.

Anyhow, to fill that time and get (or keep) the audience hyped up and ready to applaud and hoot and holler wildly when the situation calls for it, the production will employ what is known in industry parlance as a “warm-up guy.” Often, and especially in the case of game shows, this is a second hat worn by the show’s announcer (when there is one; the traditional game show announcer is a dying breed these days, it seems), but just as often they will hire a separate person for this role, oftentimes a comedian looking to supplement their income between their standing gigs at Chortle’s Laugh Emporium and Guffaw’s Comedy Showcase.

In fact, on this day, they did have a “comedian” on hand to do the warm-up. I use the Finger Quotes Of Extreme Anal Chafing in the previous sentence because it was reported to me that apparently nobody told this particular “comedian” that it was his job to be, ya know, funny. The guy was flopping hardcore. To draw an analogy for The Two Of You among the Four who watch WWE wrestling, this guy was jobbing to the Brooklyn Brawler.

So, as the poor sap felt the rivulet of flop-sweat meander down the back of his neck, he decides to go to the tried-and-true bailout for comics whose material isn’t working: self-deprecation. Unfortunately, here is where he makes his fatal error:

He admits that he’s bombing, but that it’s par for the course, as he can’t win at anything. And now, since he doesn’t have any material on bombing, he goes to the comedian’s OTHER well: audience participation. He directs his mic to one of my associate’s associates, sitting in the front row. “Sir! Yes, you, sir, you’ve got to know where I’m coming from; what’s the biggest thing you’ve ever won?”

Normally, not a problem, except the person he pointed his microphone at happened to be Kevin Olmstead, who won $2,180,000 on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

Oops. Good night, everybody. Drive safely.

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