Meet Caroline Waxler: Managing Editor of Mainstreet.com and the niece of legendary comedian and great lady, Joan Rivers. Caroline was lucky enough to be flown to L.A. to play Celebrity Family Feud, premiering tomorrow night, alongside Aunt Joan, first-cousin Melissa Rivers, and a slew of other famous folks and their relatives. What follows is a first-person account of Caroline’s day at the Family Feud set, replete with appearances by Ice-T, Coco, Raven Simon, Larry the Cable Guy, Mo’Nique and Wayne Newton, among others. And before you ask: Yes, there are pictures. And they are incredible. Here is her story.
I knew everything would be alright as soon as I saw Raven-SymonÃ©, walking toward me in white thigh high boots.
I had thought that we were playing The Judds and then leaving. I had no clue of the celebrity smorgasbord that lay before me. (The Judds were oddly not thereâ€”I guess they knew of the terror that was Team Rivers and thought the better of going up against us.) We, the Rivers family, consisted of me, my aunt Joan, cousin Melissa, brother Andy, and my â€œcousinâ€ Sabrina (aka Melissa and Joanâ€™s black assistant; it was on this historic episode of F. Feud that Joan will reveal to the world that she cheated and has an a black daughter.)
Family Feud does not play around. They put me deluxe style and flew me out first class. (They need their contestants to be fresh to match wits with Al Roker, the host of PRIMETIME Family Feud. Since we were â€œcelebsâ€ there would be no daytime for us. So my John Oâ€™Hurley fantasy meeting went right out the window.) Itâ€™s a whole other world out of coach, by the way. I had images of the Wedding Singer with Billy Idol. You can put all your bags on the floorâ€”apparently turbulence doesnâ€™t happen in the first classâ€”and talk on the phone until pretty much the plane is up in the air. They also give you â€œMission Impossibleâ€ style DVD players loaded with decent moviesâ€”no Kindergarten Cop or Baby Boom in thereâ€”and episodes of 30 Rock to watch while eating filet mignon and sundaes. Ridic. On the way back they gave me a free Sony eReader to take home.
So the next day we got all hair and makeuped ready at Melissaâ€™s house and practiced on some AOL version of Family Feud. Things were not looking good. Melissaâ€™s seven year old son was getting more right than we were. Apparently Joan didnâ€™t realize that things you were supposed to bring to the beach did not include â€œbutler.â€
To go on The Feud (as Iâ€™m calling it) I got all decked in my Ann Taylor Loft finestâ€”what I figured was appropriate game show wear. I didnâ€™t realize until I saw Coco (Mrs. Ice-T) that this was not the case. But more on that in a second.
AFTER THE JUMP: Caroline’s tale continues… more with Raven, Mo’Nique, Wayne Newton, Ice-T & COCO! With amazing pics…
We walked in to the studio, got all settled in our dressing rooms where we had gift baskets bigger than we wereâ€”all classâ€”and then got even more hair and makeup from the same group that brought you American Idol. (Both shows were produced by Freemantle.) They refused to give any gossip at all about any Davids.
Up in the green room was where the real action was, if you count Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall, Raven-SymonÃ©, and their families, with Moâ€™nique playing Vivica A. Fox (and their families) on the closed circuit TV as action, as I do. Larry was in his typical Cable Guy ensemble and gamely posed for random pictures. My favorite was the gem of a shot I got with him, Raves (as I call her), with me in the middle. Raves didnâ€™t seem to be interested when I offered to send her a copy, however.
I also pitched Moâ€™nique my screenplay idea, in which she beats up Osama — Osama Yo Mama — and she was like “I heard that!” Which I think is good.
The green room got even more surreal later when the Wayne Newtons and then Ice-T, Coco, his son Ice Marrow, Cocoâ€™s mom who looks like her sister, and Iceâ€™s pal (he was an orphan so his friend played on his team) walked in. Coco and I had a lovely discussion about real estate in New York and North Jersey and the office she works out of on the Law & Order set, helping manage Ice-Tâ€™s career. Coco was wearing a demureâ€”for Coco!â€”yellow sun dress, but still showed off all that is Coco. As Ice-T told us, â€œIf you buy a Ferrari, you donâ€™t drive it around all covered up.â€ Indeed!
We played two games. One against the Ice-T family and the other against the Raven-SymonÃ©s (a blended family of her real brother and her real mom as well as her tv show mom and dad from â€œThatâ€™s So Ravenâ€). Her TV dad, Rondell, is quite the ham. I will say this, before you go on you have to pose in a â€œfierceâ€ poseâ€”which I was pretty much terrible at. The rest of the Rivers clan wasnâ€™t much better. Apparently, weâ€™re not threatening, especially opposite the Ice-Ts. Ice-T employed some impressive gang (or what I thought was gang/ster) poses/stances that I can definitely use around the office. I now know how to â€œbrush off hatersâ€ and â€œpop my collarâ€ and something else implying that the â€œposerâ€ has facial hair. That one was very unclear, despite his multiple attempts to explain it to me further back in the green room.
I had some friends visit me on the set. My favorite part was when one walked in whilst I was talking to my new best pal and I was able to say, â€œHave you met Coco, Mrs. Ice-T.â€ Awesome?
Before we went down to our places we all had to freeze frame in our family area. It was all dark and I think we were kind of silhouetted. We were again told to pose â€œfierce.â€ Iâ€™m sure the jazz hands that Joan and I did on either end of the couch were terrifying.
Al! Al Roker was our host. And, it should be pointed out that he looks quite slim. He didnâ€™t make out with people a la Dawson but was quite the banterer nonetheless. He and Joan had a rapport that dare I say was electric.
The set was very futuristic. There was a runway which Al saucily walked down. Alâ€™s questions were all very Family Feud-esque, general questions that you pretty much already know the answers toâ€”or think you do. Letâ€™s just say that the way â€œAmericaâ€ answers questions is not what youâ€™d think.
The exec producer told us that we had to up the energy, especially when we were against the Raven-SymonÃ©s. They are a lot to keep up with! She is quite energetic, as you can imagine, in a way that we Rivers’ were not. We were told to throw out a lot of â€œgood answers!â€ and clap. No problem. I also threw in a lot of high fives, many of which I unfortunately missed. I think I may have gone a little overboard and embarrassed the family, but itâ€™s the Feud so who wouldnâ€™t get a little carried away? Also, Melissa was the brightest one on our team. If ever you go on the Feud, sheâ€™s the one you want in your family.
Again I canâ€™t say how we did, but Iâ€™ll let you in on this–The day was filled with a rollercoaster of F. Feud drama!
In true Jewish form, we finished our dramatic day with a dinner at a deli, Nate ‘n Als. (Thereâ€™s nothing that a knish wonâ€™t solve when that makeout from Roker is not forthcoming.)
“Celebrity Family Feud” premieres in July and airs weekly, starting July 1, Primetime on NBC. (8-9 p.m. ET) There apparently were a lot more families that taped besides the ones on Sunday. I heard something about the Kardashians and Kathie Lee Giffordâ€¦ stay tuned.