…Get up ev’rybody and sing
Let’s travel back in time. Four years ago I sat in a cavernous hall in Rosemont with Michael and several nieces and nephews. Here we were, auditioning for “Family Feud.” You remember the show. Back in the mid 1970’s. Richard “Dickie” Dawson, Hogan’s Newkirk, hosting. Schmoozing with the gents and kissing all the ladies, America’s idea of what a proper Englishman should be. “Show me … carrots!” Lots of fun, with an occasional wink-wink from Dawson when an answer had a slightly naughty twist.
That was how I recalled the show. So when Barb heard about a local audition I thought it would be a great family bonding experience. We assembled a squad of five, all of us doctors or lawyers. With Barb as our cheerleader we came to give it a try. It was just like the audition scenes in “A Chorus Line.” Well, not quite. We sat in the audience through mock games played by team after team. White, Black or Hispanic, all the players had two things in common: they jumped up and down a lot, and they were NOT very bright. Asked to name a state with two words in its name, one family produced “Las Vegas,” “New Orleans,” and “Los Angeles” as answers. And they were among the better players. Even the mock announcer seemed a bit stunned at how the auditions were going.
Then came our turn. Five uptight professionals, aged 25 to 55, not a single bounce in our step. Though we aced out the competing family. we didn’t pull off a single high five or butt jiggle. We were duds, and we knew it. We were leaving the hall, heads down, when an assistant producer quietly approached us and asked us to come with her to a side room. We were each told to introduce ourselves into a video camera, and then, amazingly, we were told our family was just what the show was looking for. We signed our waivers and contracts. As we were leaving, I heard the camera man say “Steve will have sooo much fun with those guys!”
Yes, Steve Harvey, comedian, radio host and beleaugured Miss Universe Master of Ceremonies, is now the star of this version of “Family Feud.” And we were more than stiff enough to be a perfect foil for him. We would have been lambs at the slaughter. But over the next few weeks reality struck. It turned out that our jobs, call schedules and travel made it impossible for the producers to schedule us for a taping. We were spared Steve’s blade.
And now word is out. “Family Feud” has become the sleaziest game show on TV. The latest question to raise hackles? “Besides Hooters, what’s another word or words for ‘breasts’ that a bar might call itself.” You can imagine the responses the contestants gave! But I have trouble imagining my nephew, on national TV, saying “Show me ta-tas, Steve.” Maybe it is a good thing we never got to appear. Sometimes you win by losing!
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