Welcome to the fountain of knowledge where the unwashed masses are here
to challenge the purified masters of trivia as they vie for valuable
prizes...but ONLY if they can...
SHOW: Comedy Central's VS.
AIR DATES: May 31, 1999 to September 3, 1999
CREATOR: First Television/Comedy Partners, Bradley & Mack Anderson
HOST: Greg Proops
WATCH IT HERE:
Long before "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge" turned an
individual-based Japanese show into a "team battle" between "cops" and
"cons" or "educators" and "outdoorsmen", Comedy Central tried to keep
the "Win Ben Stein's Money" streak going by introducing us to ACTUAL
groups of people who are ACTUAL opposites to each other. The result was
"Comedy Central's VS.", where astronomers took on astrologers, beauty
queens battled goth queens and nudists took on Ron Jeremy and two other
porn stars (where the winning team actually went NUDE during the bonus
game)! Interesting enough...but the idea fell flat in practice.
HOW WAS IT PLAYED?
Two teams of three, made up of groups of people who were, allegedly,
polar opposites of each other.
ROUND 1 ("GENERAL KNOWLEDGE ROUND")
Four subjects are played with funny "WBSM-esque" categories. The winner
of a coin toss chooses which of the two to start with. A toss-up
question is asked for 100 dollars. If a wrong answer is given, the other
team gets a chance to answer. No penalty for a wrong answer. The one who
gives the last right answer chooses from the categories of the next
This time, the teams choose from categories specifically made for them
and the other team. The trailing team chooses first and a toss-up
question is asked. If a team gets a right answer in one of their OWN
categories, they get $200. If they get a right answer in the OPPOSITE
category, they get $400. They lose $200 for a wrong answer either way.
Once five categories are given on a particular side, the remaining
questions must come from the other side. The round ends when time
expires or all ten questions are asked.
ROUND 3 ("HEAD-TO-HEAD")
The teams play one-vs-one toss-up questions. The answer to each question
is one of three related choices, one each related to the teams and the
third unrelated (ex: for "Nudists vs. Porn Stars", they were "S&M",
"STD" or "SUV"). Each pair gets three rapid-fire questions which
SOMETIMES caused people to ring in early and guess the wrong one. Right
answers earned $250 for the team while wrong answer deducted $250. If
neither one buzzes-in, they BOTH lose $250. Each of the three in each
team is paired-up and the round ends when all nine questions are asked.
The team with the most money wins the game and keeps the cash. The
losers get a consolation prize.
BONUS ROUND ("GRAND FINALE")
The host gives the champions a choice of two categories (one looks
deliberately hard so the choice is easy). The host asks the question and
the champs are given ten seconds to confer before giving an answer. If
they're right, they earn an extra $1000. If they're wrong, the losing
team gets one chance to confer five more seconds, get the right answer
and steal the $1000.
Remember back with "Hot Potato" when I thought they couldn't get groups
of three together? Well, I guess I forgot about this show because I was
wrong. And finding VERY SPECIFIC threesomes gets them bonus points.
Who'd've thought they could wrangle up three Elvis impersonators to
battle three mall Santas? Or a trio of vegans to beat the meat outta a
triad of deli workers? Kudos, CC.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK?
Greg Proops looked like he was a) stoned, b) had clue zero what he was
doing or c) BOTH. It truly looked like he was sleepwalking through each
episode. It's like he was trying to be Ben Stein but forget that Ben
actually HAD some charisma. He's better at PLAYING improv "game shows"
than HOSTING them, I'm afraid.
It's obvious they were going for comedy above all else. Not that there's
anything WRONG with that - I mean, it is COMEDY Central, after all - but
it's obvious they didn't have the same writers as WBSM because the
categories looked much-less thought out.
The pace was almost snail-like. If this is supposed to be a battle
between "lifelong enemies", you'd THINK they would've spiced it up a
bit. Instead, the most given to the "rivalry" part of the show was a
gladiatorium-looking set...and a POOR one at that.
WOULD IT WORK TODAY?
Uhhhhh,....no. Look, I like a grudge match as much as the next
pro-wrestling fan, but it's obvious that a battle of intellect in this
day and age will only end up like many a Twitter-war, with one group
arguing about the right answer while the other group tells then to shut
up. It's just the world we live in, I'm afraid. Although,....that being
said, I kinda wished there had been a "Liberals VS. Conservatives"
episode...show how things have changed in the last 18 years. But, no.
"Nice try" bin again.
NEXT TIME: Electronic
bar trivia meets music videos...
Chris Wolvie's "VS." opponent would be...just about any so-called "sane"
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