A little while ago, I wrote about my many, many, many, many, many, many, MANY attempts at trying to get on a game show…The ultimate result is that I haven’t as of yet. In doing so, and thanks to switching from Ginko pills to Ginko liquid, I completely forgot to mention probably my favorite experience in rejection. Ergo, here’s my experience with “The Chase”.
For those who are unfamiliar, it might be a little more familiar if you’re from (what remains of) the UK. “The Chase”–as hosted by former Footballer Bradley Walsh–was/still is a high-speed quiz where ordinary people try to build a bank of vast riches. All the while, they are being “chased” by one of 4 (Later 5) Nuclear Powered Geniuses who make it their mission to stop contestants from winning a dime–or schilling. Here’s a Clip that just happens to be one of my favorite game show bloopers; American, British or otherwise…
I’m not going to waste time explaining ALL the rules of the game (Bless you, St. Wikipedia! Also, pay attention to these rules, they come in play a little later), so I’ll cut to a different kind of chase. In 2011, producers from GSN (aka “Game Show Network”) decided to bring the show to the states; and along with the show, one of its biggest brains…
This is Mark Labbett, alias “The Beast”; the main “villain” of the show. He has high-level credentials from the University of Exeter, the University of South Wales, as well as a little place called Oxford. He then took his talents to various UK quiz shows such as “Mastermind”, “Countdown”, and the Original “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” scoring big wherever he went. He (along with Shaun Wallace: “The Dark Destroyer”, Anne Hegerty: “The Governess”, Paul Sinah: “The Sinnerman”, and later on Jenny Ryan: “the Vixen”) would become a part of the UK’s biggest collection of brains ever to take down potential prize winners. Thing is, The Beast did it so frequently in the UK, that he–and he alone–would be the chaser that American TV Producers would bank on to become an international star. The show was set to premiere in 2013, but they needed contestants first…That’s where I come in.
In reference to the previous stories, this happened before the “Million Second Human Rights Disaster of 2013”, so I still had the game show bug inside me. The audition was actually a lot more informal than I remember. Taking place in a high-rise hotel just off of Broadway, I was surrounded by average joes and a few TV Game show heavyweights…including THIS guy, but we didn’t get to talk–everybody in the room was here to fight. The audition (IIRC) happened in several parts; first part was a crowd of about 30 people answering a number of questions by holding up “A, B or C” cards. Not quite what the game was, but at least it laid some foundation down. Then we get to EVERYBODY’s favorite part–the interview. It should be noted at this point in my life, I had recently returned to college after being unceremoniously dumped by a previous place of employment through no fault of my own…but that’s a different story for a different day. There was ONE good thing about experience that I could use to my advantage here–a good old fashioned “Queen for a Day-ish” sob story minus the sobbing. I pretty much laid it on thick that I was looking to get back on my feet again, that going back to school was a big part of it, and that the future was unknown for me. All three of those things Were true at the time, but at most I thought my problems were the ultimate hail mary in terms of being “personal” in front of producers…Several hours after I left the audition, “The Chase” producers were the Gerard Phelan to my Doug Flutie when they told me to come back to the hotel the next day for a run-through of the game.
Cut to the next day, we play a mock game of “The Chase”, and I thought it went rather well. In the “Not!Cash Builder” round, I managed to get Every Single Question Right, all the while maintaining cool comfortability that was made possible by the laid-back nature of everybody in the room. The producers also encouraged us to come up with our best (but not too nasty) quip/insult we could dish out at The Beast if we made it for real. IIRC, I said something along the lines of “You may be ‘The Beast’, but I’M the ‘Red Menace’!”…shut up, I thought it was good–Also, for those who want to know what look like w/o my putting up any pictures, CLUE 1: I have Red Hair. Anyway, after that, me & 3 other players get to play a simulation of “The Final Chase”, which despite getting only 2 Questions wrong, I also thought went pretty well. After that, we say our goodbyes, I hear the standard “we’ll be in contact” spiel I’ve been hearing for years now, and I went about my business……3 weeks later, rejection #953 shows up in my e-mail, but they encourage me to try again in the future.
Thinking about that, and how this story fits in with all the others, this was actually my Favorite defeat. Yes, I failed to get on TV again, but the fact that everything about this experience was actually fun, relaxed, free of pressure, and a whole bunch of other superlatives, It almost didn’t matter that I didn’t make it that time. It just felt like playing an intense party game with a bunch of strangers, and I couldn’t care less what the outcome was. It was a welcome distraction at the time I needed a lot of distracting…but that’s ANOTHER story.