Regular readers of this blog know that I like to appear as a contestant on TV game shows, but I am very "old school" when it comes to the types of shows I am willing to do. Basically, I like to do shows where I get to stand behind a podium or sit in a comfortable chair and answer fun pop culture questions.
That was the case recently when Iauditioned for a show called TOTAL BLACKOUT.
The casting department for that SyFy channel series had placed an ad on Craigs List looking for people who wanted to be for a fun game show that took place in darkness. I never watch Sy Fy Channel and I had never heard of TOTAL BLACKOUT.
It was a sunny Monday morning when we headed in to the offices of Freemantle, a company known for making game shows like THE PRICE IS RIGHT and LET’S MAKE A DEAL.
Freemantle isn’t known for doing gross-out shows so we figured we would be safe.
Trish and I were led in to a small room where we met the two casting directors who were conducting the audition. There were 3 sealed boxes on a table in front of us. Trish and I were told that the lights would be turned out, and we would be asked to open each box, one by one, stick our hands in it, and try to guess what was inside.
Trish and I could see nothing. We reached our hands into the first box. We felt something furry inside, but we couldn’t tell what it was. A teddy bear? The next box held something slimy -- maybe spaghetti?
Trish reached her hand into the third box. What she didn’t know was that there was hole in the bottom the box, and a hole in the table beneath the box as well. Beneath the table was a man waiting to grab her arm. Sure enough, Trish found a man’s hand grabbing her wrist in the dark, and she let out a high-pitched scream.
The lights went back on and we all had a good laugh.
Overall, I thought the audition went very well. I have a dry sense of humor and Trish is more emotional so we balanced each other out pretty well.
We were given some paperwork and told to fill it out ASAP if we wanted to be considered to be on the show. These were the standard forms -- a sheet where we would supply some background info about ourselves, and a waiver preventing us from suing over anything that might happen to us in the dark on the show.
The forms had the name of the show on them: TOTAL BLACKOUT. I was curious if the show was on the air yet. I decided to do some research online when I got home.
Sure enough, there were a couple episodes of TOTAL BLACKOUT available to watch on the Net.
I only needed to watch one. And I shut it off about hallway through. The episode I watched showed contestants trying to navigate an obstacle course in the dark. It looked pretty hard.
If that was all the contestants had to do, I might have had no objection to going on the show. It was what came next that had me disgusted.
Among the items in the glass boxes were: moldy old cheese, stinky sweat socks, and a man’s naked ass. That’s right, they actually had a man hiding in the box, exposing his bare ass. One by one, each contestant would stick his or her nose in the man’s ass and breathe in deep, trying to figure out that smell. (One woman actually guessed it.)
It was the type of thing that was funny to watch --as long as you’re not the one who has to do the sniffing.
Those hapless souls likely had no idea what to expect. They may have been the very first people to ever play the game, so there was no way they could have had known what to expect.
As soon as I saw that video online, I ripped up the contestant application. There was no way I was going to sign a release form, to let some TV producers abuse me like that. I called Trish and told her what I had seen. She agreed that it would be a bad idea to do the show, no matter what kind of money was at stake. (Contestants on TOTAL BLACKOUT compete for $25,000, but it is an elimination show which means that most of the contestants go home with nothing.)
A few weeks later, I found out that the old $25,000 PYRAMID show was coming back on, and I auditioned for that instead.
Now PYRAMID is my kind of show. You get to sit in a chair, partner up with a celebrity, and impress everyone with your charm and wit. I would much rather make 25 grand by guessing “Sounds You Hear on a Farm” rather than sticking my snout up some gross guy’s hairy butt.
I guess then lesson here is to try to find out as much information about a show before you try out. Decide what you’re willing to do and not do. And never sign a release form unless you’re willing to face the consequences.
Because you never know what might be waiting for you in the dark. It just might be a man’s naked ass!