How I Won $10,200 on Game Shows

by on December 22nd, 2010
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Can you spin a wheel, answer in the form of a question, or guess the price of a showcase without going over? If so, this is a fun way to earn some extra cash. Way back in the 1900s, I won $7,200 on Wheel of Fortune and $3,000 on the now-defunct DEBT. Being a contestant on game shows was fun and profitable. You can do it too!

was a trivia show hosted by Wink Martindale in 1996. This was a perfect fit because I have a flair for minutia and know everything that is not on the SAT. Being a stand-up comic, I wrote that line in my notebook. I went back to read it later: “I know everything that’s not on Saturday.” What the…?

In late 1997, I reprised my role of “Chip – The Game Show Contestant” on the grand-daddy of them all: Wheel of Fortune. Who’s cool now? Take that Ed Grimley. I was the big winner on my day, and made enough to be on that week’s Friday Show of Champions.

Individual results may vary, but I got on those shows by calling the “If you want to be a contest” number that ran at the end of the closing credits of every show. But these days, the internet is also your friend.

Once you get a chance to “audition” to be a contestant, you should treat it like you are actually on a broadcast of the game show. The producers are imagining how you would do on the show. Look your best, speak clearly and have something interesting to say when the producers ask you about yourself. It’s like going on a first date with America. I told Pat Sajak I was a haberdasher.

Bottom line: Would you wanna watch you on TV? This is no time to be a mumbling, meandering stiff.

After I was scheduled to appear on Wheel, they called a few days later to say I could not do it since their research showed I had been on another game show in the past 18 months. I had just appeared on Comedy Central’s Make Me Laugh. I’d come too far to give up now. I reasoned with them that I was a comedian on that show, not a contestant like I would be on Wheel.

I told them that no one would recognize me, because I am a man of many disguises – like The Jackal. They agreed to have me on Wheel. Whew. I still have some of that Turtle Wax. They weren’t kidding about “lifetime supply”.

Nowadays there are reality/game shows that require contestants have a certain talent like singing, modeling or cooking. These are TV shows first and are cast with personalities. In 2006, I participated in one: NBC’s Last Comic Standingwhere I was a semi-finalist.

The problem with reality shows is that you may be portrayed in a negative light. Are you prepared for that? That is the $64,000 question. If the answer is “No”, stick with the old school game shows.

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