'The Not-So-Newlywed Game' travels to LI
If you and your spouse ever wanted to be contestants on "The Newlywed Game" but you're now past the honeymoon stage, here's your chance. Original host Bob Eubanks is taking the show on the road with "The Not-So-Newlywed Game," coming to Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on March 1.
Eubanks makes it clear that the show he's presenting is "similar to 'The Newlywed Game,' but not exactly the same." He begins by showing some game show clips and telling behind-the-scenes stories. Then Eubanks ventures into the crowd, searching for four couples to participate.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The object of the game is to show which married couples know each other the best. The husbands are gathered together and could be asked questions like "How old was your spouse when she got her first kiss?" or "What was the last book your wife read?" Once the men log their answers, the wives try to guess their husbands' responses. Then the roles are reversed.
"Every marriage is like a human being. They are all totally different," says Eubanks, 76, who's been married twice. "Chuck Barris, who developed the game, figured out very early that the funniest people in the world are John and Mary Jones. It was the first reality programming."
In the traveling version of the show, no couples are picked ahead of time to play, so every married couple in the audience has an equal opportunity to participate. "I find it fascinating what people will say when they are in front of a crowd. They generally want to be funny," Eubanks says. "Older people are fun because they can say things that young people can't. There's a confidence level that they have." When it comes to hosting, Eubanks says, he doesn't take the spotlight. "My job is to make the couples funny, it's not about me," he says. "A good host listens and then makes something out of it. Johnny Carson was the prime example. I learned so much from watching him."
ALL IN THE QUESTIONS
Although he describes himself as a "rascal," Eubanks focuses on keeping the game clean and family-friendly.
"If you get dirty, you have no place left to go but dirtier. We never got dirty," Eubanks says. "Perhaps we pushed the envelope with double entendres, but I never asked a dirty question."
"The Not-So-Newlywed Game" goes into areas that the original TV show didn't -- physical acts such as having a husband come out and perform his favorite song after his wife has to guess what he will sing.
Back in the mid-'60s, when the show began, Eubanks says he was unsure what approach to take.
"When I first started the show, I didn't know how to do it. I'd walk into the dressing room and there would be four couples sitting there waiting to bare their soul for a toaster. I say, 'I'll see you out there!' and I had nothing," he says. "But I learned how to make people talk. What I found out is that people don't want to know about you, they want you to know about them. The moment I realized that, the show changed."
After an intermission, Eubanks returns to the stage to show more clips and tell some tales before he picks another four couples to battle it out in a second round of the game.
"All couples can make good participants," Eubanks says. "Shy people are funny, outgoing people are sometimes obnoxious and funny. But they have to want to play. They can't sit there and give one-word answers."
The winners of the two rounds face off in a final matchup. The show closes with a big "surprise" that Eubanks won't spoil.
"All I can say is we give someone a chance to win $100,000," Eubanks says. "I pray to God they win. . . . I want them to win it!"
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. March 1, Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 E. Main St., Patchogue
INFO 631-207-1313, patchoguetheatre.com