COME ON DOWN: An Insider’s Guide To Visiting The Price Is Right

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Last month, a friend called me with an offer that would change my life, much like Cameron Diaz in The Box, a movie which I’ve never seen but which I imagine was about a phone call that changed lives (and a box). Comedian and friend Sara Jo Allocco was visiting Los Angeles, and wanted to know if I’d like to accompany her and her cousin to a taping of…. The Price Is Right.

My obsession with The Price Is Right is no secret here. Like many, I’ve watched it since I was little, and threw a fit when Bob Barker was swapped with Cleveland’s own Drew Carey. But time has passed, and let’s face it: Even if Hitler was hosting, I’d still want to try my luck at winning a PT Loser Cruiser. So I said the word “Yes” for 9 straight minutes while doing the Russian Kick Dance around my apartment.

For those of you who have never had the privilege of attending the show, I’ll try to boil the experience down to a few densely-worded paragraphs. We got to the studios at 6 AM to pick up our tickets, went home, put on matching jeweltoned tees, and thought we’d be supes-original by wearing Drew Carey-esque glasses. That is until we got back to the studio at 10, and were in a f*cking Being John Malkovich convention of bespectacled Midwesterners. Errrbody had the glasses on, and in addition, custom made t-shirts with silk-screened long microphones on them, or 30th Birthday Party messages, or hand-drawing of people bl*wing Drew in exchange for a Raymond Weil watch. There was a lot of thought put into their shirts. Our Old Navy tees were total bullshirt in comparison.

Because we were on 4 hours sleep, we were acting like tewtal assh*les. There was a mini-CBS store on the premises, where we gleefully tried on each and every Survivor hat and Two And A Half Men bomber jacket while the cashier gave us an Oscar-worth side-eye. We also didn’t think it necessary to buy any food, as our bellies were full with the promise of prize-winning. This would prove to be a fatal mistake.

Ahead, we meet Cydney, who is 99. And a video compilation of all the times we appeared on camera in the episode!! I am Manic 2 Tha Max.

They began lining us up, and to our surprise, we ended up directly next to a man who had already gained some notoriety: Cydney, a 99 year old man with a plan. To win. Cyd may have been just shy of 100, and was probably 4’10″ tall on a good day, but man, you could have sworn the guy was 18. Such life he had!! He was there with his younger wife and awesome family, and the longer we sat next to him, the closer we became. Muh-literally. I believe he leaned in at one point and whispered in my ear something extremely sexual that I can’t remember for the life of me because I buried it into my “never mention again” file. Later on, his wife thought it the right time to tell me what an animal he was in the sack. It’s possible I may have turned down the threesome of a lifetime (literally).

Roughly 187 hours later, now starving, they lined us up 10 at a time for our interviews. The big interview. Word on the street had it that if you were an actor or performer of any kind, you were almost certainly nixed. So we had lies. Sara Jo would be an interior designer, and I would say I worked in retail. But a little thing you should know about me: I suck at lying on the spot. I panic. I’m horrendous. So when the bubbly producer stood in front of me and said “And what do you do?” I stretched both arms out in front of me, daintily placed my hands on some railing, and said “Aspiring talk show host!” I got the Guinness Record Holder for “World’s Tiniest Laugh” and was immediately dropped into a human trash compactor.

However I still kept up hope! The year was 2035, and finally the producers lined us up to enter the studio. We were cold, hungry, now robots and tired. But we weren’t giving up. As we shuffled in to the studio, I turned around to my now BFF Cydney and said “Look alive!” Look. Alive. Which is probably the worst thing you can say to a man who is 99 year old. And yet, I managed.

The long walk into the studio started. And I lost. My. Sh*t. Here I was. In The Price Is Right studio!!! I could not believe it. It looked exactly as you would expect, only smaller, and sans any ghost of Bob Barker. An audience warm-up guy came out (he was funny actually) and then Drew, who is one Atkins diet away of dying from starvashies. The guy is little! And talks a lot about smoking. He was very charming with the crowd. Lacking the debonair grace of Barker, but definitely smooth and funny and I kind of “get” it now.

I could keep telling you about the show and whether or not I got called onto the stage. But why tell you when you can watch it. My episode aired this week, and our video editor Pete Schultz combined every moment I was on camera. Understand that I am on 2 hours sleep and 9 calories, and see if you can notice my enthusiasm draining out of my person as the episode carried on. Oh, see if you can spot the Celebrity Cameo! *It’s Cydney.

As the show wore on, so did our patience. By the end, neither Sara Jo, her cousin or I could even muster the enthusiasm to get on our feet. We were Weekend At Bernies-ing our way through it. And afterwards, we did what any normal group of starving people do: We went to the Cheesecake Factory and ate like animals.

My personal favorite moment from the episode, which was not captured here, was when the lovely Fred was called to the stage to play Cliffhangers. When asked the price of a wine opener, he guessed $70 (it only cost $19). And as the iconic mountain climber made his fateful way up the side of the mountain, I overheard a member of his family yell “He gonna fall of that bridge.” Spoiler alert: He did.

Planning on going to The Price Is Right and want some expert (me) tips? Here are the ones I can offer you:

1. Bring food.
2. Be from the Midwest.
3. Have zero interest in show biz.
4. Have a “gimmick.” Some of the gimmicks we saw work were “Hipster Canadian” and “99 Years Old.”
5. Pay thousands for your t-shirt. They matter.
6. The harder your bangs, the better your chances are to make it on stage.
7. Think about becoming Asian.
8. Appear to be or actually be terrible with numbers.

Yes, I have lived the dream. And I don’t plan on reliving it any time for the rest of my life.

Also a special hello to Liana Hoffman, who was in the audience that day and is also a blog reader. Bullsh*t that neither of us made it onto the stage.

Have you ever gone to The Price Is Right? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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