When it comes to game shows, some people enjoy the intellectual challenge of Jeopardy. Others like the adlibbed outbursts on The Family Feud. I can’t resist the eccentric contestants and lowest-common-denominator appeal of my favorite game show: The Price is Right.
Few things make a human happier than free stuff. As such, The Price is Right is one of our most important cultural records of pure human elation. Where else will you see a person scream at the top of their lungs, run around in circles, then collapse on the floor praising God just for the opportunity to win a dinette set? There’s no other show like it.
But that’s just one example of a small pleasure afforded by The Price is Right. Because while guessing the price of a bottle of dish soap isn’t terribly exciting, watching people agonize over the cost of it with thousands of dollars at stake is actually pretty fun. And some of these people—the ones that truly revel in their few brief moments with Bob (or Drew)—are quite entertaining.
Purposefully or not, these average people create spontaneous performances that delight millions of bored housewives, kids on summer vacation, and me. Here are five of these contestants at their very best:
1. Kenny. The thing I like about Kenny is that he keeps it 100% real. He’s having fun and staying cool—rare on this show. While one of my favorite moments is his puzzling bird call at :39, the best moment has got to be: “My-name-is-Kenny-I’ve-been-making-wrong-decisions-my-whole-life-I’ma-go-with the-grill.”
That would be a perfect sound bite for a rap album interlude. It could be right before the track “Who Want What?”
2. 420 Guy. If you’re completely out of touch with drug culture, you might not know that “420” is slang for “smoke weed.” Why it means that, nobody precisely knows, although there’s speculation it has something to do with an old police code. But I digress. This chap decides to bid $420 (or $1420) at every opportunity, no matter how irrational. I’m guessing he’s into puffing grass.
On a side note, how creepy is it when Bob Barker refers to the women presenters as “his beauties?” It’s not like they’re a prized pack of Neapolitan Mastiffs or killer sharks with laser beams attached to their heads. He sounds like a James Bond villain.
3. Aliaya. Buckle up—this clip comes in hot. As if the guttural screams weren’t enough, Ailiaya brazenly rips the wig right off her head as she gives Drew a big bear hug. You’ve got to respect her passion.
After revealing to us that she’s employed in law enforcement, Drew cracks a quip about her doing some undercover work (:59) that he has great difficulty recovering from. Thank goodness his co-host saves him with the wig pun.
4. Jose. This poor guy just thinks motorcycles are really expensive. Can you blame him? They are pretty cool. The way the air gets sucked out of the room when Jose drops that quarter-mil bid is pretty awesome. A six-figure bid doesn’t actually even fit on the showcase showdown display. Still, Gay didn’t need to rub it in by bidding a dollar. Be nice and bid something like $10,000. What’s wrong with you, Gay?
5. Joy. Joy’s Youtube video is called “One of the Worst The Price is Right Players Ever.” I’d argue she’s one of the best. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt—she was probably nervous, and this game requires a Mensa-level intellect by Price is Right standards. Having to remember five numbers and write them legibly on a dry-erase board in different combinations? Drew Carey would never impose such an arduous task.
You may as well fast forward to about 2:50 when the action really starts getting good. Bob’s impatience here is uncomfortable to say the least—but the way he has to sit down and gather himself after Joy nearly gives him a heart attack…priceless.