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winter 2018

What it was like to be on ‘Let’s Make a Deal’

I was living in San Diego for five weeks this summer doing an internship with Campus Outreach San Diego, and one of the Campus Outreach staff that I was staying with got several of us tickets to the show. So, we went to Goodwill the day before the show and put together "nerd" costumes. It was all pretty last minute. To make my costume more authentic, I actually popped out the lens of my sunglasses while we were driving up to Los Angeles the morning of the show. (Later, when I was on the show, Wayne Brady took off my glasses and put them on his face. It was pretty funny.)

When we made it to the studio where the show is filmed, we had to wait in line outside for about two hours. Then we went through security and into an interview room where a woman asked us questions about ourselves and tried to get us really excited. From there we were seated in a waiting room with all of the other audience members for about an hour before finally getting to go on the set and sit in the audience.

In the waiting room they also talked to us about how to act and how to not act if we were called down to be on the show. Then, when we got to the set, Let's Make A Deal staff gave everyone in the audience assigned seats. Basically, the Let’s Make A Deal staff had been watching us the whole time to see who had the most "energy and personality." Based on how we acted they chose who Wayne Brady would call down to be on the show. They wanted the contestants to come from different places in the crowd, thus the assigned seats.

The whole time, from being in line outside to sitting in the waiting room, everyone is going crazy! There's constant dancing and laughing and cheering and smiling... it was actually pretty draining! I caught myself thinking, who am I right now? I don't act this hyper! So once we were on the set they had music playing and everyone was just standing in front of their seats and dancing. For about an hour we were working up a sweat trying to show that they were energetic and fun.

When the show started, we were all given cues of when to clap and when not to. During one of the "commercial breaks" one of the Let's Make A Deal staff said, "Wayne Brady could call on anyone, it doesn't matter where you are sitting. See that girl in the far back corner?" And then he pointed at me and said, "She could even be called." So I had a feeling I was going to be called down to be on the show and sure enough I was.

When Wayne Brady called me down to the front, he asked me a few questions about myself. Then I had to pick out names from a list of Peanuts characters. I had never seen Charlie Brown... and I was on television... so I was definitely nervous! I think I guessed one right, so I was given 10 seconds to play a game to try to win a car or cash prizes. Before I played the game Wayne Brady told me that if I walked away without playing the game he would give me $400 (or maybe it was $500) cash right on the spot. I guess I had too much confidence in my hand-eye coordination though because I skipped out on the cash and tried to play the game to win the car. I lost the game, but it was still a really fun and different experience.

by Kiersten Ellsworth ’15