I Want to Be a Millionaire

Inspired by Jere’s recent post, I tried out yesterday for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. I applied online a couple of weeks ago and was scheduled for a tryout yesterday after work. I also received via email a list of open-ended questions to fill out, presumably in order to elicit interesting facts about me.

So I went to the ABC offices yesterday for my tryout. It was similar to Jere’s — a large group of people taking a 10-minute, 30-trivia-question multiple-choice Scantron test in an ABC cafeteria. The guy sitting next to me was a burly, middle-aged, gray-goateed man with a thick Boston accent who seemed like he’d do well on TV.

A portion of us passed the test, including me. Everyone who passed had a Polaroid picture taken and was ushered to another part of the cafeteria, where we sat at round tables to await a short interview with one of seven interviewers, who were lined up at seven adjacent two-person tables along one wall. We were told that some people might have second interviews but that that didn’t necessarily mean anything.

While waiting for my interview, I noticed that one woman was picked for a second interview, which was taped by a video camera. She was a smartly-dressed 30-something Asian-American woman with a very cute smile; I could hear her speak, and she sounded utterly charming, talking about how she watches the show every day and how when she told her four-year-old daughter that she was going to try out, her daughter said, “So you might get a chance to be in the hot seat?” She seemed like a very promising contestant. I knew I didn’t have half her charisma and I felt envious.

Eventually my name was called by one of the interviewers. The interviewer gave off a definite gay vibe. On my application I’d mentioned that I sing in a gay men’s chorus, and when the interviewer got to that part, he said, “What chorus do you sing with?” I told him which one, and he said he knew a particular person in the chorus. I asked him some questions to see if it was the same person, and it was. He even knew that this is a busy week of rehearsals for us. And then he said, “Well, this isn’t awkward at all, is it?” and got all flustered and remarked that his face was probably bright red. I said, “I can’t tell at all — it blends right into the red in the upholstery of the seat behind you!” I don’t know why he was nervous when I was the one trying out for a game show. Maybe he and the chorus member are dating? I don’t know.

Anyway, he told me I’d get a postcard in the mail in a couple of weeks informing me of whether I’d be entered into the contestant pool. I’m guessing probably not. No matter — it was at least fun to try out and prove to myself that I could pass the qualifying test.

Guess this means I have to pay off the rest of my student loan the old-fashioned way.