Who Wants to be a LeeZardaire?
©2010 by LeeZard
“A million isn’t what it used to be,” I replied, “but it’s a good start.” So, Wende sent me the link. Which is why my alarm went off at four this morning and at 5:30, triple viente 1% extra foamy latte in hand, Leezard was #123 in line to audition for the TV game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” The popular show was holding auditions in Seattle today, the crew’s third city this week (Las Vegas on Wednesday, Cleveland on Monday).
The doors would open at 6 AM and at 7 we would go in to take two trivia tests, one for general knowledge and one for a special Netflix promotion on movies. We were lined up outside the Bell Harbor Conference Center on Seattle’s lovely waterfront. A huge – and I mean HUGE – cruise ship was sitting at the adjacent cruise terminal dock. It was like standing next to a skyscraper, with level after level of stateroom terraces looking out over the several hundred hopeful millionaire-to-be. Would someone please tell that guy with his bare beer gut hanging over the terrace on the fourth level that we are not voyeurs!
With at least 90-minutes to kill, I began taking stock of my “competition.” There was no rhyme or rhythm to the crowd. It was an amazing and diverse mix of people with every physical description from every walk of life. They ranged from those dressed for success to those who didn’t seem to care and right on down to the middle aged woman with her multi-colored hair up in rollers. YOIKS!
Precisely at six the doors opened and we began filing in, more than 400 hopeful contestants with dollar signs dancing in their heads. We found ourselves in a “holding area,” snaked in lines up and down until the lobby outside a large auditorium was packed. These folks have it down to a science. With one hour to go in the holding area they organized a series of small expeditions to the rest rooms. They knew their java lovin’ Seattle audience.
Following the bathroom breaks they gave us our instructions and an idea of how the rest of the morning would go. Pretty straight ahead stuff – two 30-question, multiple choice trivia tests, one on general knowledge and a movie test for a Netflix-sponsored series of special shows. They gave us each a “collectible” fridge magnet with the show’s logo on the front and a unique identifying number on the back.
Shortly after seven, we filed into the auditorium, received the test envelopes and took our seats. Another young, borderline perky crewmember gave the next set of instructions; don’t open the envelope until the test begins, fill out the answer scan sheet with your name and identifying number, etc. The spiel was peppered with many uses of the word “awesome.” My next seat neighbor and I counted at least 15.
The first test was general trivia and I dove right in. The questions ranged from easy (depending upon your generation), such as, “Henry Kissinger served as Secretary of State for what two presidents?” to challenging: “After Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet, which planet became the furthest from the sun?” to downright ridiculous, “Which three birthstones are in the correct monthly order?” At the end of the 10-minutes my next seat neighbor muttered, “Well, that was humiliating.” I didn’t feel that discouraged. I knew I had at least 20 right while guessing at the other ten. They wouldn’t tell us the passing grade.
The movie test was next and I breezed through the first 15 questions. It was downhill from there as the questions became progressively more difficult and obscure. “Well,” I thought at the end, “that was humiliating.” To ease the tension while we waited for results, the crew tossed logo’d T-shirts into the crowd. LeeZard is wearing his as he blogs.
After about 15-minutes, another crewmember returned with the scores and an edgy silence filled the hall. Number 123 (LeeZard!!) came up third on the “pass” list in general trivia; I’d be back for an afternoon interview. It was 9:30 AM and I’d been up for five hours but I wasn’t tired. I had a 12:30 callback so I drove home, puttered around for a couple of hours and headed back to the city.
I also had to fill out the contestant application before returning and it clearly sought an insight into LeeZard’s personality – the basis for the interview, I figured:
· What makes you unique?
o I’d like to say my sense of humor but there are those who would argue otherwise and,
o My ability to view life through LeeZard-colored glasses and write about it
· What’s the one thing you do that makes people laugh?
o Only one??
· What is one thing people don’t know about you?
o I went to the original Woodstock – in a suit(!) – and didn’t hear a lick of music.
· Is there a movie you obsess over? How many times have you seen it?
o Any Mel Brooks film – too many times to count and,
o “The Great Escape – “ more than 50 times.
· Your friends would say you are the best at? Most likely to?
o Best at being moi. Most likely to take a risk.
Application in hand, I arrived back at the auditorium promptly at 12:30 and took my seat. Of the initial 400-500 hopefuls, about 150 joined me now. My name came up third and I walked to the front of the hall and took a seat across a small table from a very pleasant young woman who briefly glanced at my application. “Congratulations,” she began, “how did you hear about the audition?” I told her of the brief exchange between TWBGF and moi. “Awesome,” she said.
After one or two more questions it was over. The interview took less than two minutes and I never got to use my quasi-rehearsed, high-energy and witty rejoinders. “Thanks very much,” my interviewer concluded, “we’ll send you a postcard in a couple of weeks.”
“Did I pass the interview?” I asked. “Awesome,” she laughed.
I figured I did well; She took copious notes for such a short session and threw in six “awesomes.”
(*The World’s Best GirlFriend)