Made in Montreal: Comedy Network's "Match Game" premieres Monday; interviews with comedians Darrin Rose, Tom Green, Debra DiGiovanni, Mark Little and Robin Dunne
The latest English language revival of the 1960's comedy game show, "Match Game," premieres Monday on Comedy Network. Thw show is produced by Zone 3 - the same company that makes the popular local French version - and stars comedian Darrin Rose as the affable host and partner in puns of some of Canada's finest including Caroline Rhea and Colin Mochrie. The day I went to the Montreal set, I interviewed Rose and the regular show panelists, as well as that week's invited guests, including Tom Green, Mark Little and Robin Dunne about Tom Green's favourite place for poutine, Organized Rhyme, booze on set and Jeopardy versus the Price is Right. Here are the interviews:
The schtick, in the words of host Darrin Rose:
"There are four rounds. The first two are fill-in-the-blanks. So they get a clue that usually involves some sort of innuendo. It'll be something like, "The girl in the front row has the biggest __________ ." And all the panelists fill out their answers, and then the contestant says theirs, and if they say "head" and everyone else says "boobs" they get no matches. The contestants are just trying to come up with an answer that makes sense and then hoping that the panel doesn't ruin it for them, which the panel does. They're not intentionally trying to screw you over, but in the first rounds they're a little less interested in helping the contestants win.
The third round is called match-ups, where the contestants are matched with one panelist of their choice. It's a lightening round. And then we break for 40 minutes to fix the computers...Then the last round is the super match, like family feud - 'Survey says...' which is actually where Family Feud came from. And then if you get the $2000 answer then you gamble $2000 when you spin the wheel and you land on somebody's name. And that's your partner. Then I read one clue and you have to have an exact match. And you can win $4000."
Whew! Quite the shtick. Are you lost? I was too. So I sat in the studio audience for a live taping. I clapped as part of the clap track. I laughed as part of the laugh track. First they did a practice round, which one contestant won, and then they actually played the game and taped live, and the other contestant won. But only one gets money. Ah, games of chance. And it was too bad Robin Dunne's jokes from the practice round won't make it to air.
Interview with Debra DiGiovanni:
But really, say both Rose and Debra DiGiovanni, the show is about the booze. What you don't see behind the panelist's chairs are the beers and shots they take over the course of the 8-hour taping, from about 4pm to midnight or later. They record a week's worth of shows in one go. And get drunker as the shows progress. So if they seem sober on Monday's show, they may seem a little drunk on Friday's show. In fact, watchers are encouraged to turn the show into a drinking game, and drink along as the week progresses. Do so at your own risk. If you start taking shots Monday, Friday might be a rough day.
Mark Little on myths and "Match Game" drunken legends and midnight poutine:
And here I threaten Robin Dunne with my handheld recorder, then we come to an agreement over traditional midnight poutine:
Match Game premieres Monday, October 15 at 8pm on the Comedy Network. It's on every weeknight.