On BOOM!, FOX’s new trivia game show, you either get money or you get messy! Teams of family members, friends or even coworkers try to defuse bombs by clipping wires corresponding to the correct answers of trivia questions. Those who correctly answer the increasingly difficult questions stay clean and earn cash. But a wrong answer turns sloppy; if a contestant clips an incorrect wire, the bombs unleash an explosion of gross proportions as chili, chocolate pudding or even pizza sauce bursts forth. “When you know you have a very physical manifestation of your wrong answer exploding in your face, it suddenly becomes very real,” says comedian Tom Papa, who hosts the high-intensity high jinks.
Papa reveals that, of the bombs that have exploded, a bomb filled with oatmeal was the worst. “The ones that gross me out are the ones with chunks,” he laughs.
Not only do Papa and the contestants get soaked in the explosive goo, but so does the audience, especially those in The Splatter Zone, where they gleefully await torrents of sloppy spray beneath rain ponchos reminiscent of a 1980s show of prop-comic Gallagher.
I asked Papa what his strategy has been when dealing with the exploding bombs and in the image at right, he seems to be employing a “contestant shield” i.e. using the contestant as a human shield. “My reactions are very real,” he says. “I don’t know what’s in the bombs, I don’t know the answers, I just know if they cut the wrong wire, we’re all in trouble.” And even if he ducks and covers, Papa reveals that he’s still gonna get soaked. He told me that he destroyed 20 suits shooting the show’s episodes, including one by a bomb that was so potent that, “Red, cherry filling soaked through my suit, through my dress shirt and the shirt I had on underneath and stained my skin! I was a very, cherry mess!”
In the final round, the Mega Money Bomb can multiply winnings up to $500,000 or unleash an epic torrent of mess. “These people have a chance to win real money; you really start to root for them,” says Papa. “I want them to win because I’m in it with them, but I know there’s a portion of the audience that wishes the bomb to go off.”
Papa also admits that he gets really excited when the contestants walk away with big money … most of the time. “There are people from all over — just a group of great characters. There are some people that you just fall in love with and you want them to win in a bad way … then there are people who you go, ‘Nah, I wouldn’t mind so much if a bomb went off.'”
BOOM! > FOX > Thursdays at 8pm ET/PT beginning June 25
All images © 2015 FOX Broadcasting.