Friday, November 6, 2009

how to be a contestant on the price is right: part one

Have your cat or dog spayed or neutered.

Every weekday, six new Americans affix their names to a prestigious register reserved solely for the luckiest of all Americans. Legendary personalities of the past like Grannie Marie,

Cotton Candy,

and this girl,

stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their little-known proletariat counterparts and are enshrined for eternity in the cloaks of stardom, at least amid close friends and the elderly. Their backgrounds are diverse, their stories unique, but these citizens share the distinction reserved for the Chosen Elect. These champions are unique. They stood while others sat. They pushed forward while others returned to their seats. They risked picking $1 when others bid too high. And in the end, they are the ultimate winners.

Over the past thirty years, forty-two thousand people have heard their name called out followed by the unforgettable line, “You’re the next contestant on the Price is Right!” I am one of the select, a former contestant and winner of the Price is Right. This is my story and the information you need to know if you too want to be a contestant.

I went on a whim. My only experience watching the Price is Right was always in a waiting room, either while getting my oil changed or while waiting for a doctor or dentist. I would never sit down and watch. I didn’t have anything against Bob Barker or his Beauties, but I was in school and your future is going to be pretty bleak if you skip school to watch the Price is Right. Well, a bunch of my friends from college ordered group tickets and I agreed at the last minute to go with them. Road trip!

Despite having tickets to the show, we were college students and everything we did had to have some sort of over-night aspect to it. In this case, we decided we would show up at the studios at like 4:00 a.m. to ensure a place in the studio audience. It was a good thing we showed up when we did because the lines had already begun to form. We shivered until about 9:00 a.m. when the lines finally started moving.

Now, for any of you planning on appearing on the Price is Right, let me give you some advice. The show’s producers will briefly interview every audience member in order to determine who will become a contestant. Contrary to popular belief, they do not have a lottery system. It is not the luck of the draw. There is no wheel. You are selected, chosen. Just like any other show, the producers want contestants who will be memorable and someone viewers at home can cheer for. Think about it: how sad would the Price is Right be if the contestants were introverted and Bob or Drew had to ask people to speak up. The Price is Wrong Bob!

Now the producers ask every contestant the exact same three questions prior to filming the Price is Right. First, they ask your name. Second, they ask where you are from. Third, they ask what you do. As you can tell from the questions, there isn’t much room for creativity in your answers to the first two questions. Your fate rests solely on your answer to the third question. So be unique! These three producers interview like three hundred people every day for nine contestant positions. Say something they haven’t heard before. Try to get them to laugh. Make something up and be totally confident in yourself. I told them I was the reigning Mr. Mormon pageant winner and that I tour the country giving motivational speeches and playing the piano for charities. My girlfriend at the time who happens to be my wife, told them she was training to be an amateur gymnast. Have fun with it!

After everyone is interviewed, the audience is corralled into the auditorium of a deceivingly small studio. The show’s announcer, Rich Fields, is brought onto the stage to the wild cheers of eighty-year old women. I had no idea who the guy was but these ladies thought he was heaven-sent! He spends a couple of minutes explaining how the show was going to work and that the audience was supposed to act like rabid squirrels whenever the “cheer” lights turned on. Trust me; the audience knew exactly what he meant. The place was louder than any college basketball/football game I’ve ever attended. If Rich then had asked each audience member to turn to the person on their left and take a bite out of their arm, I’m about eighty-percent sure that at least seven people would in fact do it. 

The show starts. People are called up and the crowds cheer. Time flew and by the end I was cheering and screaming wild with the rest of them. During one of the breaks, Bob Barker asked the crowd for questions. For looking like that the “You have chosen poorly,” dude from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusades (you know that guy who drinks from the wrong cup and becomes Methuselah in like 5 seconds), Barker was hornier than a rhino. I swear every answer he gave involved some girl he slept with or some girl he wanted to sleep with. Very unprofessional and honestly, quite disgusting. Bob called on me as his last question, which caught me off guard although I had my hand raised. “Bob,” I asked. “You can’t do this forever. Can I have your job when you retire?” His answer was the only one that wasn’t gross. “No.” But you are going to pick Drew Carey? Puh-leeze.

This video is not intended for the weak or woozy. But check out the similarities at second marker 13.

We came back from commercial to the sound of my name being called to come on down, “You’re the next contestant on the Price is Right!”

The exciting conclusion of my adventures will continue Monday! Until then, have a great weekend! And if you or someone you know have been on the Price is Right, send me their story. I'd love to add your experience to the page!


  1. I had no idea you were on the price is right! That is pretty cool! Can't wait for the rest of the story! :)

  2. One of my good friends also made it onto stage. She played a game where you can win $1000, $5000 or $10000 dollars or, of course, nothing. When she had won $5000 she couldn't bring herself to risk it for $10000, so much to the audience's dismay, she took the money and left.

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