MY Tryout for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
Posted by: Paul Nichols
04 Dec 2006
Cosmopolitan. That's right. I do enjoy cranberry juice. Wait, no. I'm talking about the invigorating feeling of exploring "the big city." And today I had a reason for being cosmopolitan: I tried out for Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
It has long been my intention to learn everything about everything. I like learning new things and often think of myself as a jack-of-all-trades. Thomas Friedman suggests this passion and curiosity will serve me well in a "flat world." Tell that to the Millionaire test givers! 30 questions. 10 minutes. Probably 24 right. I didn't pass.
But, hey - I'm cosmopolitan! At least I felt that way for a day. I drove to Mark's house Sunday night. We got up early and he took me to the train station, where I jumped out of the car, bought my ticket, and hopped onto the waiting train. How convenient!
I really love trains, and riding them gives me a sense of adventure and modernity. I know trains have been around for 150 years, but they still feel modern - like they're due for another hey-day.
People who know where they're going ride trains. Hey - I wanna know where I'm going!
Cities planned properly for public transportation have trains. Hey - I wanna be a part of something planned properly!
I strongly suggest that anyone
take a train trip, either in these
(Is anyone else thinking of Doc
Holliday's description in
No gun fights for me, though. I
found a seat next to a nice woman who works in the city and is originally from
That's it - forget
the shuttle. I orient myself and start
walking North and West. I should have time to hoof it. Or saunter it. Amble it,
even. My destination? 30
I am oozing cosmopolitan by being
politely rude and "edgy" and am almost instantly recognized as a New Yorker by
some nice older NYC ladies standing ahead of me. I confess to them that I'm
from upstate and try to pass it off as "close enough," but they're not having
While in line (outside in the cold, I might add), the interns hand us numbers (I'm 93) and forms to fill out. The forms ask a bunch of "Have you ever worked for, patronized, or driven by any company that has ever thought about working for us or any of our current or future subsidiaries" questions. To repeat Mark's article, they also ask (with my answers in parentheses):
1) What is the first thing you would do with $1 million? (Help pay for a church building project.)
2) Complete this sentence - You'd never believe it but I... (live down the street from where Benedict Arnold betrayed our troops.)
3) What is your most embarrassing moment? (I was in
4) I could be in the Guinness Book of World Records for...? (Smiling J, or most cynical J)
5) Is there anything else we should know about you? (Weird "twin" things happen to me and my twin brother. For example, we both got pulled over, in separate instances and in different places and cars, last Friday for our taillights being out.)
Finally they let us in and I get plopped someplace special, because the seat next to me is empty and the staff are saving it for what ends up being the person accompanying the person in the hot seat. So look for me on TV on April 19th, 20th, and 23rd of 2007 either next to or behind the friends and family of hot seat peeps. I even get my face powdered when I ask the makeup artist if she can help me with my complexion. She caves and concedes that I might be on TV.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. They pass out scantron forms and the numbered tests in manila envelopes. I am stumped by a lot of questions and know that I probably will not pass. For posterity's sake, here are the questions I remember, with answers at the bottom of this article. You don't get the multiple choices, though.
1) What is the youngest child's name on the Bernie Mac Show?
2) What is Barbie's middle name?
3) How many Presidents with the first name of George have we had?
4) What is a Dashiki?
5) What color is the word cerulean usually associated with?
6) Which of these is not a mollusk (snail, clam, eel, or squid)?
7) The Truth campaign, begun in 2000, was to advertise the effects of what?
8) What did Live 8, a series of concerts held in 2005, promote?
9) What does a deviated septum hinder your ability to do?
10) What is the Day of Atonement, a Jewish holiday, better known as?
11) What is the world's northernmost capital?
While we wait for the taping to begin, a comedian named Paul Mecurio entertains us. He is definitely on today, easily interacting with the audience and buying fans with a non-adversarial (or faux adversarial) routine and t-shirts. Check him out at www.paulmecurio.com/media.html or on Comedy Central's website at www.comedycentral.com/comedians/browse/m/paul_mecurio.jhtml.
I guess there's not so much else
to say. We sit through three tapings. Meredith Viera comes
out and greets the crowd. She is as friendly and genuine as you see her on TV.
The contestants are of varying strength, with one guy bowing out on an "oops"
going for $1,000 (How do you spell the word for someone who's from
After the taping finishes up, they
shuffle us out the back of the studio and I jump on the metro to
I do have a couple of suggestions if you go try out: 1) Dress warmly because it's extremely cold in the studio; 2) Bring a good-size snack with you. They did pass out some candy after someone mentioned they were hungry to the comic; and finally, 3) cheat.
That's right, cheat. Read this
column a couple of times and Google "millionaire tryout questions" or something
of that ilk. Approximately 20 of the 200 people who took the audition passed.
But you're sitting at home and the person answering questions on TV doesn't
know the answer to "What's your name?" Obviously they've done something to get
on the show; I suppose a lot of people have been finding answers to the
different variations of the audition test online or by trying out in person
several times. Because you and I can't afford to be going to
So, explore the online world of millionaire questions, hop on a train, and go be cosmopolitan - and don't forget to win a million dollars!
1) What is the youngest child's name on the Bernie Mac Show? Bryanna
2) What is Barbie's middle name? Millicent. For the record her last name is Roberts.
3) How many Presidents with the first name of George have we had? Three
4) What is a Dashiki? A West African garment
5) What color is the word cerulean usually associated with? Blue
6) Which of these is not a mollusk (snail, clam, eel, or squid)? Eel
7) The Truth campaign, begun in 2000, was to advertise the effects of what? Smoking
8) What did Live 8, a series of concerts held in 2005, promote? Financial aid to African nations (or world debt and fair trade things; something to this effect)
9) What does a deviated septum hinder your ability to do? Breathe
10) What is the Day of Atonement, a Jewish holiday, better known as? Yom Kippur
11) What is the world's northernmost capital?