The Mayim Bialik "Comedic Dilemma"



Mayim Bialik has finally done the unthinkable! 


She got herself a one-way ticket out of the host spot of the most viewed game show in America!


Well, not yet, and hopefully she doesn't leave the most iconic game show to date.


That show, of course, is Jeopardy, and it first surfaced on television 58 years ago.


The famed game show was created by Merv Griffith, and after him came the hosts of the show. 


First came Art Fleming, who was the original host at the very start of the show's debut in 1964.


Fleming hosted the show until 1975, and for a short stem of time the show itself was pulled from television.


And that's where I wanted to start and see if Jeopardy was losing the attention of its viewers watching at home.


Jeopardy's Hard Knocks


And yes, that seemed to be the case for the long running game show.


Jeopardy had the right atmosphere, the ideal game show presence that reeled in millions of viewers on a weekly basis.


Merv Griffin had a real gem, a very shiny one that for him; was churning in the big bucks 24/7!


In total, he made hundreds of millions of dollars from his created show ideas and projects. 


Jeopardy was only one of the numerous projects he put time and effort into taking it to mainstream television.


Griffith's fortune kept building, and it got to a point where he made more than enough revenue from his shows.


So, he sold his company Merv Griffin Enterprises to Coca-Cola in 1986 for a staggering $250 million!

 

Hosts of Jeopardy: Did they have to be funny?

Very interesting question indeed, and yes, to some degree the hosts of Jeopardy had to have some comedic chemistry.


Now, that didn't mean they had to act in a Don Wrinkles, or a Rodney Dangerfield type of funny way.


They only had to be good enough to put a mere smirk on the faces of the viewing audience.


In retrospect, that will always be the go-to thing for any show host. 


He or she has to be able to tickle the funny bones of the contestants and the audience.


And I'm sure this is why viewers are calling for the removal of the show's present host Mayim Bialik. 


I watched her as host of the show only once.


Although, I didn't find anything off of the way she hosted the show.


But that was only one show I saw you see; and it's a different story for regular viewers who tune in every week.


So, I'm thinking of the following things that are dragging down the show's ratings centered around Bialik:

  • Is she funny enough?  
  • Does she interact with the audience enough? You know, things such as cracking a joke or two to lighten the mood.
  • Does she have a level of enthusiasm as the presenter of the show? 
  • Does she display friendly facial expressions?   
  • Are there any issues she has to contend with backstage?

These are just basic questions to consider, and the reason for that is to determine if that person is truly a good fit for the show.


Because the one thing you can't fake as a host, or as an actor or actress, is the heart you put into your performance.


Cameras can't cover that up, they will only show it for what it is then and there in front of the viewers:

  • They'll know if you're lacking interest as the star or host of a show.
  • They'll suspect fakery if your persona comes off too rigid and crappy, especially if they lack substance and a joke fails to crack them up.
  • And it's not only them who will start to notice it.
  • The show's producers will call you out for that later on!
  • They tell you to either Shape Up, or Ship Out, because they know everything is riding on YOU!

All of which comes down to two-key things.


RATINGS & REVENUE!


Bialik is chiefly known for the character she played in Blossom, and she played the part great!


Even so, that show has come and gone; but that chemistry still lives within her. 


If she has the will to draw off from what worked back then, then that could help her to firmly establish herself as the rightful hostess of Jeopardy now. 


And that leads me to my last point.


The Marketability of previous Game and Talk Show Hosts

So, what was the one thing previous hosts of Jeopardy had in common?

  • They had chemistry (as mentioned before). 
  • They possessed the ability to hold the audience's attention.
  • They dealt in the world of comedy.

And that last one, is the main one!


Nine times out of ten, a host or hostess has dabbled in the world of comedic cinema.


I can throw out a few big names here and now!

  • Johnny Carson
  • Joan Rivers
  • Carol Burnett
  • Chuck Barris
  • Alex Trebek
  • Pat Sajak
  • The "Original SNL" Cast


Johnny Carson - Had to be the craziest talk show host I ever saw, and I saw his show as a kid then.

It wasn't uncommon for a kid to sit down to watch a Carson Show episode in those days.


Although, the reason why I would watch Carson, was because he was a complete nutcase!


He was pretty damn good at making people laugh, and that's what drew millions of viewers in.


The networks love it, because they're making money hand of fist.


Carson DEFINITELY loved it, because he was making tens of millions every year!


What kept the show going, came down to the chemistry Carson had with his audience and his forever-expanding fanbase.


It’s the fans that keep his legacy alive!


Chuck Barris - I mean, just the fact that he hosted a show where you can openly act a complete fool on stage, with no one to criticize you for doing so…

YEAH, IT WAS BEYOND CLASSIC AND VERY DIFFERENT!


The oddball skit segments displayed on Barris’s Gong Show, were just way out there PLAIN AND SIMPLE!


Besides the many Hollywood guests that premiered on the show, the performers were iconic even sometimes otherworldly.


Some performances were quite illicit, like the Popsicle Twins skit which I was surprised never got deleted from the show’s archives.


But it managed to find its way into a gong episode.


The most noted was Gene, Gene, The Dancing Machine; and Barris would follow suit with the dance gimmick.


Barris would participate by dancing with items such as a lamp shade over his head, or sometimes a pale or bucket.


The other performers followed suit with their off-the-wall gimmicks as well.


The “Chuckster” will be dearly missed!  


Joan Rivers - She cracked me up!

And yet, she did it in a reserved way as if she was holding back barrels of laughing ammunition for the perfect moment!


She would unleash most of that at the end of the Tonight Show.


People still couldn't believe that she hosted Carson's show from time to time.


Well, now you know that she did! 


When Carson needed someone to fill in for him, she was at the top of the list!


She was a great comedic success, who will never be forgotten.



Carol Burnett - Another great comedian, and this girl would pull out all of the stops that would have anyone doubled over in laughter! 


Her short skit scenes of her show worked well, and she was DEFINITELY able to cultivate the audience.


This went double for the times she did skits with Tim Conway, they worked very well together in the comedic scenes they starred in.


The networks were very generous to her, and the layout of her show reflects how much they appreciate her.


And I wonder if she still does any performances today, I'll have to check deeper into that when I get a moment.


Alex Trebek - Now, I really wouldn't consider him as a full-blown comedian.

Even so, he was crafty enough with his words, and could pull a few giggles out of the contestants and the audience.


I see him as a "moderate jokester" in terms of having some resemblance of a comedian locked away deep within him. 


Although, there were episodes where he seemed kinda rigid and restrained. 


But he was generally ok enough to pull a laugh or two out of the audience.


Sometimes, he would just come out of nowhere and shock the **** out of the audience and viewers alike.


Rest easy Alex, you earned it man!


Pat Sajak - With Sajak, it’s hard to find an outlandish moment that will have you cracking up for the latter part of 3 minutes.

Although, there would be crazy puzzle-solving answers given by the contestants that would even cause Pat to break character for a few chuckles.


Usually, he’s strait-laced, and he sometimes will inject some humor into the heat of the moment.


But, to really get a look at some of the situations that would arise on Wheel of Fortune, one would have to sample a few odd predicaments online.


And you can do so by clicking on the blue Wheel of Fortune link just above this paragraph to witness those quirky moments!


The "Original SNL" Cast - I mean, where can you start, or it’s more like who could you start with?


There’s a number of actors and actresses that have given some SERIOUSLY over-the-top performances during the show’s original run in the 70’s.


The most noted were probably John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Gilda Radner, Mary Gross, Steve Martin, and Eddie Murphy.


Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s many more.


Although, it’s the original actors and actresses that made up the key components of Saturday Night Live


And yeah, there were times scenes would go totally unprecedented, and I mean performers would sometimes go off script! 


Yet, the other actor or actresses would stick to the material and finish out the scene!


THAT’S HOW GOOD THEY WERE WHEN CHANGING THINGS UP ON THE FLY!


And that’s what kept the show fresh and interesting, because with Classic SNL, you didn’t know what in the hell to expect!


Conclusion


So, running through a few of these game shows and comedy shows, performers had to have the ability to hold the audience’s attention.


And in the case of Bialik, she just needs to brush up on her humor a bit more.


The suggestions of the performers I mentioned earlier had to find that "sweet spot" that tickled the funny bones of the audience and viewers.


That's something she could do, which is watch how they work and take some of that and add a bit-of-it into her game show routine to liven up the crowd.


Because when it comes down to it, you have to lighten up the mood of your audience.


Make them feel at home on your show, coming off a bit too rigid will undoubtedly get you placed into the category of dull and uninspiring.


Just because you host a game show, doesn’t mean you should come out to host it any ole’ which way you see fit.


Doing so, will get you replaced in a hurry!


Hopefully, she’ll find the missing link, and continue on as the show’s current host.


GO GET’EM BIALIK! 👍


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