Tonight, the country is focused on the East Coast. And that’s as it should be. The storm that hit (and continues to pummel) has devastated parts of that region and left an incredible mess for lots of people to try and clean up. Some of the images bring to mind the tsunami that struck Japan not quite two years ago. So tonight, we’ll do a little bit of homage to the Big Apple.
Let’s talk about Ben Bailey and Cash Cab, since its home is New York City.
Now when you first think of game shows, your mind’s eye might conjure up images of a fancy set with a pretty hostess. Maybe there’s a wheel that gets spun by some contestants, or maybe there are prizes on which people bid. We might hear Johnny yell, “Come on down!!” Or maybe it’s doors and deals that flash before you. You can name that tune in just seven notes. You want big bucks and no whammies. You can be a millionaire. What you see is a high-dollar production.
Cash Cab takes place in a taxi. It’s a minivan taxi and its high-dollar production is limited to a series of small cameras placed throughout the taxi’s interior, a “video bonus” monitor, and a cool light panel mounted in the roof.
And game shows always have a host. It’s usually a guy with a coat and tie.
Cash Cab has Ben Bailey. Bailey, who was born on October 30, 1970, is a stand-up comedian turned game-show host extraordinaire. He wears a shirt and jeans and looks to be the farthest thing from a traditional host.
Unsuspecting people climb into his cab, which then explodes with lights and music and Ben saying, “Welcome to the Cash Cab…it’s a game show that takes place right here in my taxi.” The show is really just a very up-to-date (and very entertaining) version of Trivial Pursuit. As contestants are driven to their destination, Ben asks trivia questions. Every correct answer wins the group money. Incorrect answers earn a strike. If a question or two is particularly challenging, contestants can either phone a friend for help or use a “street shout-out”, where a person on the street has the ability to help. But be careful!…three strikes and Ben pulls the cab over and kicks everybody to the curb.
There is also the fun “red-light challenge”. If the Cash Cab reaches its destination, the contestants can either take their winnings or risk it all on a single double-or-nothing video bonus question.
The premise is simple, but it’s incredibly entertaining to watch. Ben Bailey is charming, witty, and really gracious with the folks that get in his cab, expecting nothing more than a ride.
Cash Cab is a great trivia show built on a totally unsuspecting premise (a cab ride), and Ben Bailey is the perfect host. Kudos to the Discovery Channel for running with the idea.
Happy Birthday, Ben Bailey!!