Sunday, August 30, 2015


Today is my daughter Annie's birthday. So as a salute I thought I would reprise something she wrote for the blog a few years ago. Thanks for being such a wonderful daughter. And for being funny. I love you.
My daughter Annie recently attended the taping of THE PRICE IS RIGHT and along with her writing partner, Jon Emerson files this account of it:

Recently, a friend of mine came to visit and wanted to do something “touristy” in the city. I happen to live very close to where they tape THE PRICE IS RIGHT and my dad happens to enjoy getting a day off from blogging, so it didn't take long to put two and two together...

We got in line around six in the morning and were already behind a half-dozen people praying for the chance to “come on down.” A regular Algonquin Round Table. (IKEA round table; actual retail price: $199.)

There was the married couple from Utah who drove ten hours literally just for this taping. As soon as it was over they were headed right back. I didn't ask how he chose which wife to bring, but I assume she was the one who does the grocery shopping.

And Scott, the entrepreneur, whose real goal was to get on SHARK TANK. His latest stroke of genius was a combination watch and stun gun. (Mederma Scar Cream; actual retail price: $20.)

As the line grew behind us, I began to realize we were dressed like complete idiots. In that we were the only ones not dressed like complete idiots. A rainbow of t-shirts covered in blood, sweat, and Puffy Paint. (Dimensional Puffy Fabric Paint; actual retail price: $9.99 for a pack of six.) Each shirt featured witty turns of phrase like “Sock It Drew Me” and “Just Drew It!” I almost Drew my brains out.

In line at six in the morning and we finally got through the CBS gates around nine. Much to our chagrin, we were just put into another line. Our newest line companion was Michael Polosky. This was Michael's thirty-seventh taping of THE PRICE IS RIGHT. He knew every single thing I could have ever wondered about the show except what made me think coming to it was a good idea.

At last we were given the iconic price tag name badges. The show requires you put your full legal first name on the badge, meaning I had to be Diana. Nobody ever calls me Diana, so for all I know, they did call me down and I just ignored it. That'll make for a fun blooper reel. (Game Show Moments Gone Bananas (DVD); actual retail price: $13.)

Everyone in line was divided up into groups of twelve to sixteen people. Each group was interviewed so that the producers could find contestants for this particular episode. Personally, I thought I nailed my interview. I was charming, I was funny, I was a sure-fire TV sensation.

I was seated in the very back row.

We would have been closer to the stage if I sat on my couch at home.

I will say this, though... I don't know if it was the psychedelic set, the allure of winning a trampoline, or what, but as soon as I sat in that metal folding chair, I went from mumbling “I hate this” to screaming “PICK THE KAYAK!” in sixty-seconds flat. (Mark 1 Economy Stopwatch; actual retail price: $8.)

Drew Carey came out, the place went nuts, and only six hours from the time we got in line, we finally heard: “It's the Price is Riiiiiight!”

THE PRICE IS RIGHT is currently involved in a $7.7 million lawsuit. I think the producers might be worried they'll have to pay out because one of the big prizes of the show was a BBQ shaped like a pickle. Sure, people won cars, but I don't remember the old PRICE IS RIGHT requiring you to return those cars to the nearest Enterprise location with the same amount of gas in the tank as when you got it.
For most of the audience (read: old women) the biggest draw of the show was the raw sexual magnetism of Drew Carey...'s male model assistant “Hot Rob.” “Hot Rob” is the first male model the show has ever had. From the looks of him, he gets paid per ab. (Total Gym XLS; actual retail price: $999.)

At one point, Drew read the contestant's bids incorrectly and called the wrong person up to the stage. The audience felt terrible for her as she danced her way up to Drew and then had to walk back to her podium. Then Hot Rob gave her a hug and the audience wanted to kill her.

After the taping, they had us all stay behind to do pick-ups. It was mostly contestants having to recreate their psychotic sprinting from their seats to the stage. Can you imagine? “I'm so sorry you didn't win that trip, that car, any of the furniture, and you got beaten in the Showcase Showdown by only a dollar... But, hey, at least you got that hot dog cooker. Now run down here again and put a little more enthusiasm into it.”

They let us all go home and I have to admit I was thrilled with the experience. Sure, I didn't get called up to be a contestant, but I buy everything with coupons anyway, so how good could I have done?

This particular episode airs tomorrow. I'll be the one way in the back trying to stop a 200 year-old woman from rushing the stage to get at Hot Rob. (Trojan condoms; actual retail price: $14.)

That's the end of this blog post. Thanks for reading and don't forget to have your pets spayed or neutered.

Thanks again to Jon & Diana... I mean Annie.


Peter said...

I didn't ask how he chose which wife to bring, but I assume she was the one who does the grocery shopping.

Brilliant! The comedy gene is clearly very strong in the Levine family.

I hope the Instant Mom you mentioned you were directing this week went well!

Bill Avena said...

As always, roped into this Price Is Right post by hopes of Anitra Ford pix, as always, SOL.

Mike said...

Comparing the ultra-competitive audience gymnastics of Soul Train with the forelorn audience shuffling of the UK's Top of the Pops, I feel the need to expose American game show audiences to the legend that was Bullseye with Jim Bowen.

As ever, the return of this blog affords you another opportunity to witness Drew Carey at the absolute pinnacle of his career.

Anonymous said...

Well hi, Ken, and a pleasant good morning to you, wherever you may be. Completely off today's blog topic but there's a column in this morning's Daily News that mentions you a possible replacement for Vin Scully when he flips off the mike after 2016. Don't be your usual self-effacing self but do a day's blog on the topic of who should get to call Dodger games in the future.

It'll be like following John Wooden or Chick Hearn, but people will stop hating the replacement after 2 or 3 years.


Anonymous said...

Please, *not* Bullseye with Jim Bowen.... Any non-UK readers will be wondering what that's about, any UK readers will be cringeing.

MikeK.Pa. said...

Still curious what the criteria is for the dozen or so people who do get picked to "come on down."

Corey said...

the comedy gene isn't very strong on this side of the Levine family. (read: I got Mom's sense of humor....)

Corey said...

The comedy gene isn't very strong on this side of the Levine family. (read: I got Mom's sense of humor....may she rest in peace)

Corey said...

The comedy gene isn't very strong on this side of the Levine family. (read: Fortunately for me, I got Mom's sense of humor!!!! Mom, I really miss you. May you rest in blessed peace)

Carole said...

Yeah, this is definitely a repeat. "Hot Rob" hasn't been on THE PRICE IS RIGHT for some time, having moved himself and his well-developed pecs first to ALL MY CHILDREN and later to DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

LouOCNY said...

Happy Birthday Diana/Porntrip/Annie!

EXPLANATION: Having read Ken's book, IT'S GONE....WAIT A MINUTE, I was confused when Ken talked about this daughter of his, Annie, as in the book he had a daughter named 'Diana'. So I asked a Friday question that wondered if there been a mid-grammar school switch of daughters or something. I was rewarded with a column written by the subject herself, in which she confided her real name used around the house was....Porntrip.

Annie should be doing a blog

Igor said...

Good stuff.

Plus, when I read this...

"He knew every single thing I could have ever wondered about the show except what made me think coming to it was a good idea."

... I laughed, and then grinned, "Yep, I think they're related."

VP81955 said...

A Facebook friend of mine has tickets for a "Price Is Right" taping later this month and hopes she'll be picked. It will help that she's a model (and fellow upstate New York native like me) who stands 6-foot-3 in her stocking feet and plans to wear high heels that probably will lift her past two meters tall (just below 6-foot-7).

Don K. said...

Here's a fun fact. Bill Maher's show Real Time is broadcast live from the very same studio where the Price is Right is taped.