I can't watch live TV. There are things I've seen that have haunted me for years. I don't like talking about it.
There was one case--and this wasn't live TV, but it was live on tape. It was an episode of Family Feud. The question was, what's the first things husband asks the doctor after his wife has given birth. There were two possible answers. The first one was "How is the baby?"
The grandfather had to give the second answer. It was pretty obvious what it was. But he said, "How soon can I have sex?"
There was an awkward silence. Then, well, of course the answer was wrong. The other family won, and the family with the idiot grandfather left in disgrace. There was money involved, and you know that everyone those people knew were watching the show.
I thought maybe the guy was making a joke figuring he could change his answer. Like people who stage UFO hoaxes thinking they can pull it off then reveal that it was all a joke---they quickly realize that they're in too deep and there's no way out.
Now I read that this has become the norm on Family Feud.
The question: "Name the first part of a woman you touch to get her in the mood."
"That would be the lower front or the vagina," the contestant said.
Viewers are increasingly annoyed as well they should be.
I'll tell you one other thing that bothered me for years. I saw it as a child. The Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon---Jerry Lewis would periodically wade into the studio audience with a bucket to collect money. Once, a woman tried to embrace him and he said in a funny voice, "Get your hands off me, you oversexed broad," which I thought was funny when I was ten.
But then Jerry had just done this, just waded into the crowd collecting money. Then he was speaking to the camera, making some heartfelt statement, when a young man with a beard standing near him said, "Excuse me." He said that he just gave him some money, and it was money his father had given him, so could he have it back?
Jerry was aghast. I'm trying to entertain all these people, he said. No, you can't have your money back!
At the time, I imagined that this idiot really needed that money, that he was caught up in the moment and gave it away, but, realizing what he had done, he acted out of sheer desperation, feeling he had no choice but to humiliate himself in front of millions of viewers.Like I said, I must have been about 10. I thought Jerry should have given him his money back, although how would anyone know how much the guy stuck in a bucket?
Now, of course, I think he was just stupid, that he mentioned that his father gave him the money to make it sound like it had sentimental value.
It's also possible that the guy just saw his chance to make his time in a studio audience even more memorable. He'd be in his 60s now. He may be bragging about it to his grandchildren.
And there was this other time. A local TV station would show movies and they had an old guy I never heard of hosting it. A local business sponsored it one time and the old guy interviewed the employees on live TV. One guy, the son of the owner, was extremely nervous. He could barely speak, but the old guy kept talking to him anyway. He finally moved on to the other employees. Then he turned back to the nervous guy and asked him how many Valium he took a day.
"Uhhh---uhhhh," the poor guy said.
He was young and I realize he would live with that memory for the rest of his life.
Why is anything on live TV? Videotape is cheap and plentiful. The potential for disaster is so great. What's the point?
By the way---I always give people this advice. If you're being interviewed either live or on tape for TV or radio and it's going badly, just start swearing so they can't use it.