Given the scope of reality TV subject matter, it was only a matter of time before celebrities stunned us with their recreational activities. No, not Keeping up with Kim and Kanye’s Konception. I’m talking about the new game show series “Hollywood Game Night.” The show is based on the real-life game nights thrown by Sean Hayes — and it seeks to outdo any thrilling Yahtzee tournament you could ever hold with your great uncle twice removed.
The game show breaks traditional format in that it lacks an overly spray-tanned host, a spacious stage and contestant podiums. Instead, viewers get the naturally colored Jane Lynch, an intimate living room and presumably cushy couches. The set mimics your standard studio audience-containing home environment — except for the little detail that, you know, A-list celebrities will play the game.
The guest list includes the likes of Fred Armisen, Rose Byrne and Matthew Perry, and two teams feature three stars each. “There are wonderful funny, crazy moments in every episode,” Lynch said, citing Martin Short falling off his couch and Amy Poehler and Jason Sudeikis “getting a little bit drunk” as highlights.
The stakes are upped with the addition of two everyday competitors who will vie to win a cash prize. Even though the show is marketed as “part Hollywood club,” Lynch said the experience is so immersive that contestants won’t have time to be starstruck. “(The game night is) such a great equalizer,” she said. “You forget who’s the celebrity, and you forget who’s the civilian, because you just want to win that point.” Luckily, this dynamic will not impede on the home viewers’ right to fangirl over their favorite fat cats.
The series of games, marketed as never having been played before, revolves around simple pop culture references. “There’s no tall story on this,” Lynch said. “There are no Shakespeare references. It’s really all just pop culture.” But don’t get too cocky. One game involves identifying the covers of People’s Sexiest Man Alive and putting them in chronological order. It’s common knowledge that getting lost in Nick Nolte’s smoulder (circa 1992) will make you a loser. “You have to come game, G-A-M-E,” Lynch advised. “Have fun, and don’t be afraid of looking stupid because you will look stupid.”
Lynch knows her way around a game night, as she said she’s been a “steady presence” at the Hayes’ house for a long time. Like her character Sue Sylvester on “Glee,” she is hypercompetitive. “You do not want to play against me,” she said. “Luckily for everybody involved, I’m hosting.” But when it comes to competing on future episodes, “I hope that they would let me do that,” she said. With that attitude, it’s on. And by “it,” I mean my TV.