When I was in high school, I’d watch reruns of Three’s Company every night. I’d also perform a pantomime that I’d created to the show’s theme song that included anatomically-correct gesturing for the line, “Where the kisses are hers, and hers, and his.” This performance also included a lot of shimmying.
There, my embarrassing secret is out.
Now, Spike TV — who loves to make us laugh at the cringe-worthy moments of others (remember the network’s 1000 Ways to Die?!?) — has a hilarious and appropriately-titled new game show, That Awkward Game Show, where parents and their adult children expose shocking and embarrassing information about themselves to each other. Each episode will feature three teams of two (one parent and one adult child) trying to figure out which embarrassing factoid in a group of mortifying deeds actually happened to their loved one.
Check the below clip where a young man realizes that Mommy wasn’t as innocent as he thought. (Hopefully, he wins a lot of money to pay for the therapy he’s gonna need after the show.)
I chatted with the series’ host, comedian Jeff Dye, and he describes That Awkward Game Show as “a modern, hip, cool version of the Newlywed Game with an awkward twist.” Good call, Jeff — I see The Newlywed Game, and am catching a hint of Baggage with a whiff of Studs. Dye adds, “I feel like game shows are kind of dated and silly. I think this is a different take and something people will enjoy to watch.” Heck yeah we’re gonna watch it Jeff — it’s people embarrassing themselves for money!
More from my chat with Jeff Dye…
Kellie Freeze: This show is feeding on my fear that my parents would find out my deepest, darkest secrets.
Jeff Dye: Absolutely! Kids like to pretend that their parents have never had sex or were never teenagers. The parents like to pretend that their kids are never going to have sex and are perfect little angels and don’t do drugs and don’t do crimes, but the reality is we are all people and we all do all of those things. And if you can figure out those things or guess correctly, you can win money.
Whose stories are more cringe-worthy, the parents’ or the kids’?
I think that the kids’ [stories] because it’s just different nowadays. I stress that these are adult children, and things are a little bit more out there. I will say I get very annoyed with the parents whenever they say they did something because they will give us some 90-second speech before it starts about how, “Well, times were different back then. I want to remind everyone I’m married now. I’m not like this anymore.” It’s like, “Just tell us what you did, lady.” I don’t need to hear some weird justification about how it’s okay for you, but not for anyone else.
What has been one of your favorite reactions when someone finds out something about their parent or their child?
We sent out a trailer this week and one of the things is the lady says to her son, “I make out with a lot of guys.” The kid loses his mind. If you think that is awkward or shocking, then you have to watch the series because a mom making out with a lot of guys is nothing compared to what we tapped into in each of the 11 episodes.
How cringe-worthy is it going to get?
I don’t know how to say it — a lot worse. It’s going to be very awkward. And you are going to love every second of it.
But the viewer won’t be uncomfortable, in my opinion. It’s only awkward for that guy because it’s his mom. It’s not awkward for me. I don’t care what his mom did. I think it’s hilarious! That’s why I like hosting the show because I would never play this with my parents — ever. I do enjoy watching other people play with their parents. It’s great for me.
That was going to be my next question! So, you’re not gonna play this with your parents?
No way! My parents’ relationship with me is built on lies and I’m happy with it.
As the show’s host, what’s your role?
I’m just kind of the referee and I add my own little commentary during the whole show. I also like to antagonize the audience and play with the opinions of the crowd. You know what I’m saying? Occasionally a guy will say something, “Oh, yeah. I had sex with 12 ladies in one month.” The crowd is like, “Boo!” They groan and they act all weird about it. A woman will say the same thing 30 minutes later and it’s like, “Yeah, you go girl.” I love to point out the double-standards; that’s my favorite part of the show.
Channel Guide Magazine loved you on Better Late Than Never. Is there any chance you are you going to get [William] Shatner or the Fonz [Henry Winkler], George Foreman or Terry Bradshaw on That Awkward Game Show with any of their kids?
It’s funny you should ask that, because I promise you that they will never do this show. Never. They might show up and hang with me on the show, but they would never compete with their grandkids or kids, for sure.
Who are some memorable contestants that we can look forward to meeting?
The only contestants I can think of right now, I didn’t like at all. It was a father/son. I won’t say their names or describe them, but they were the worst. I have been told by Spike that they come off hilarious. It’s the same way you wouldn’t want to meet Homer Simpson in real life or Kenny Powers or Larry David. On TV they make really hilarious characters; in real life, they are horrible.
Not only are you hosting That Awkward Game Show, but you’re also touring and performing in comedy clubs around the country. Where can people find your tour schedule?
Jeff Dye: Go to JeffDye.com; I have all of my club dates listed. I’m on the road every night of my life until we shoot season two of That Awkward Game Show or season two of Better Late Than Never. I’m just out here on the road telling jokes.
That Awkward Game Show > Spike TV > Wednesday at 10pm ET/PT, beginning Oct. 12