I won nearly $40,000 on the Price is Right in 2018. Unexpectedly, the experience was almost tantric in its sensuality. The hours-long, anticipatory wait in line, furtive glances at strangers nearby, and sweat (so, so much sweat) as we stood in handmade shirts waiting for the chance to caress Drew Carey in a public forum… it was almost too much.
Interestingly, we weren’t all there for the same reason. Not all of us planned to actually ‘come on down.’ Sure, the vast majority of the hundreds of us who gathered for one of two tapings per day at CBS Studios committed to an afternoon of entertainment. There were California regulars who considered it completely normal to wait to see a live game show once or twice a year, but had low expectations for anything other than maybe seeing someone embarrass themselves on their way up to the stage. There were also the folks you’re probably thinking of, who were at various stages of desperation, trying for the umpteenth time to be selected. This elderly man at my taping nearly brought me to tears. He hobbled up to a producer with a sparkly cane and shirt that said, “This is my 27th show! Pick me!” If anyone deserved a shot, it was him.
As for my mother and I (and two family friends we were visiting in Los Angeles), we sought only to stretch our vocal cords and act a bit more unhinged than usual to attract a producer’s eye. I planned on trying to sit in an obvious place in the studio audience and wave frantically so I could point myself out during my five seconds of fame as the show aired. I mean, I flew all the way from North Carolina but my husband was spending the day in Malibu because he thought my endeavor was a complete waste of time. That quick screen capture of my screaming would show him.
They took our phones shortly after check-in and ushered us into a brightly lit, super loud studio with cameras the size of smart cars. I promptly had to pee, and this is where I partially blacked out from utter adrenaline. The clips are on YouTube, so both you and I can eternally witness the most public parts of my humiliation. But if nothing else, here are the takeaways you came for.