“Some of those people on Match Game were drunk. With power” – Kenneth, 30 Rock
The 1970s were a crazy decade with a lot of even crazier game shows, but Match Game was their king. Contestants were provided with a cliché-ridden, often nonsensical “fill-in-the-blank” question, frequently one that encouraged risqué answers, and attempted to come up with an answer to match those given by a panel of six often drunk, over-the-top B-level celebrities. Richard Dawson, McLean Stevenson, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, and even Betty White were regular or semi-regular panelists who provided answers to the questions, sexual innuendo, and general misbehavior: the show has, of course, left a lasting cultural legacy.
Match Game DC takes the concept of the original show and makes it Fringe-worthy: a panel of DC celebrities, contestants chosen from the audience, and all the proceeds go to charity.Although none of the panelists appeared to be drunk, they made up for it in naughtiness; the FCC censors would have had their work cut out for them had last night’s game been broadcast on TV.
Match Game DC is absolutely laugh-out loud funny whether or not you know the original game show. Each night the show will feature a different panel of DC celebrities (the line-up can be seen on MatchGameDC.com), but on the night I attended, Arch Campbell, Tim Tate, Amy Austin, Joe Barber, Phillippa Hughes, and Councilman David Catania, and host Matt Stephan (whose adaptation of original TV host Gene Rayburn’s mannerisms was impressive and fun) seemed to be having just as much fun as the audience, trading barbs and embracing the increasingly off-color nature of the game.
During the “commercial breaks” several fabulous gift packages were auctioned off to benefit the three charities Match Game DC is supporting: The DC Film Alliance, Food & Friends, and The Washington Literacy Council.
Go see Match Game DC, no matter how you feel about game shows, DC celebrities, or improv-based, audience participation-filled semi-theater, because in the end, it supports three really important causes.
This is one of the most interesting and (hopefully!) successful fundraising ideas I have ever encountered, and I hope to see a lot more like it.
Match Game DC has 4 more performances in the Mead Theatre at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th Street NW, Washington, DC.