A classic game show beloved by comedians and comedy fans returns to the TV airwaves five times a week starting tonight.
But Match Game isn’t coming back to America. Try heading north of the border. Oh, Canada!
Sally was so desperate for new episodes of Match Game…”HOW DESPERATE WAS SHE?”…Sally was so desperate for new episodes of Match Game, all she did for the past three decades was BLANK.
That’s how the game works. Two contestants each take a stab at filling in the blanks and hoping that the six comedians/celebrities on the panel match their answers.
The Canadian edition of Match Game debuts tonight, with episodes airing Monday-Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern on The Comedy Network. Upward of 60 episodes already taped in Montreal — 12 weeks’ worth of shows — hosted by comedian Darrin Rose.
“It’s fun to be part of such an iconic game show, if only because my dad is finally interested in my career,” said Rose. “He said ‘the new Gene Rayburn, eh? I guess now I can stop telling my friends you’re a real estate agent.’”
Chances are you only know the names Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers, Fannie Flagg and Nipsey Russell from their frequent appearances on Match Game if you’re in your 30s or 40s. And if you’re in your teens and 20s, your only memory of the game show might be the ridiculous modern-day send-ups that the Upright Citizens Brigade improvises each summer during the Del Close Marathon. Well, the real game show debuted in 1962 and became a daytime and primetime hit for CBS in the 1970s under the care of affable host Gene Rayburn. Other, less popular iterations popped up during the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2008, TBS tried to give Americans the game show they craved, filming a new pilot hosted by Andy Daly and featuring a panel with Sarah Silverman, Norm MacDonald, Rashida Jones, Niecy Nash, Super Dave Osborne and Scott Thompson. That effort was executive produced by Robert Smigel. Alas, it never came to fruition.
So. If you’ve got 21 minutes, here is a classic Match Game 76 episode, with a panel of George Kennedy, Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Lee Meriwether, Richard Dawson and Betty White. Roll it!
For the 2012 Canadian reboot, Sean Cullen and Debra DiGiovanni have been named regular panelists.
Cullen told the Winnipeg Free Press about joining the game show: “I’m not at all like Charles Nelson Reilly, but I liked his playfulness, and I think that’s what I’m trying to get across. It’s a healthy kind of silliness. I mean, I’m not wearing a yacht cap or anything (as Reilly often did), but I realize I’m a character in the show that’s cast as a bunch of people who play games together. So I think I identify with him most.”
American guests on the panel will include Janeane Garofalo, D.L. Hughley, Andy Kindler, Yvette Nicole Brown and Greg Grunberg.
Canadian comedians doing the show that even most Americans would recognize will include Caroline Rhea, Tom Green, Colin Mochrie and Kids in the Hall members Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson.
This week’s debut set of panelists…
And here is the full list of Match Game Canada panelists so far, provided by Bell Media:
- Actress, producer, director and “Grand Empress of sci-fi” Amanda Tapping, @amandatapping, (SANCTUARY)
- Stand-up comedian and LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN regular Andy Kindler, @AndyKindler
- Montréal-born actress Anna Hopkins (Barney’s Version)
- Stand-up comedian and actress Caroline Rhea, @CarolineRhea, (SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH)
- Improv star Colin Mochrie, @ColinMochrie, (WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?)
- American actor, political commentator, and stand-up comedian D.L. Hughley, @RealDlHughley (The Original Kings of Comedy)
- Award-winning comedian, writer, and columnist DeAnne Smith, @DeAnne_Smith
- Stand-up comic and VIDEO ON TRIAL regular Eddie Della Sieppe, @EddieDellaSiepe
- Canadian Comedy Award-winner and Gemini-nominated comedian Elvira Kurt (POPCULTURED)
- Gemini Award-winning actress Emily Hampshire (MADE IN CANADA)
- Actress and rising comedian Emma Hunter (INSECURITY)
- Television writer, award-winning comedian, and stand-up veteran Fraser Young, @young_fraser, (COMEDY NOW!)
- Writer and comedian Graham Chittenden, @grahamchit (COMEDY NOW!)
- Actor Greg Grunberg, @greggrunberg, (HEROES, ALIAS)
- Stand-up comedian, actress, activist, and writer Janeane Garofalo
- Internationally renowned stand-up comic Jeremy Hotz, @JeremyHotz
- Author, humorist and radio producer Jonathan Goldstein, @J_Goldstein, (WireTap)
- Actor, comedian, and Newfoundland-native Jonny Harris, @jollyharris, (MURDOCH MYSTERIES)
- Award-winning singer-songwriter and actress Keisha Chanté, @KeshiaChante
- Stand-up comedian, actor, and voice artist Kevin McDonald (KIDS IN THE HALL)
- ETALK reporter and gossip maven Lainey Lui, @laineygossip
- Canadian choreographer and VIDEO ON TRIAL panellist Laura Cilevetz,@lauracilevitz
- Canadian Comedy Award-winner Laurie Elliot, @ThaFloatingHead (THE RED GREEN SHOW)
- E! host Leah Miller, @leahmiller, (SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA, MUCHONDEMAND)
- 2009 Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off winner Mark Little, @markmarklittle, (PICNICFACE)
- BEING HUMAN’s “Sally Malik,” actress Meaghan Rath, @MeaghanRath
- Stand-up comedian and writer Nile Seguin, @nileseguin, (THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES)
- Comedic everyman and MTV LIVE co-host Paul Lemieux, @paultheintern
- SANCTUARY’s “Dr. Will Zimmerman,” actor Robin Dunne, @RobinDunne
- Globetrotting stand-up comic Ron Josol, @ronjosol
- Comedian, actor, and writer Ryan Belleville, @ryanbelleville, (THE SEÁN CULLEN SHOW)
- Comedian, dancer, actor, host, and writer Sabrina Jalees, @SabrinaJalees, (VIDEO ON TRIAL)
- Actor, comedian, and KIDS IN THE HALL vet Scott Thompson, @ScottThompson_
- Stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and television and radio host Steve Patterson, @patterballs, (THE DEBATERS)
- Actress Tara Spencer-Nairn, @TSpencerNairn (CORNER GAS, THE LISTENER)
- Actor, rapper, writer, comedian and talk show host Tom Green, @tomgreenlive, (THE TOM GREEN SHOW)
- COMMUNITY’s “Shirley Bennett,” actress and comedian Yvette Nicole Brown, @yvettenbrown
Match Game has been licensed around the world by FremantleMedia for international editions.