It's like Shark Tank, but something is fishy.
That's the essence of Snake Oil, a new Fox game show that asks contestants to guess which product pitches are for real inventions and which are ersatz. It may sound easy, but it's not. Each item comes with its own slickly produced sixty-second infomercial and an entrepreneur who's eager to sell it.
An automated rubber-tipped dog-petter? Luggage made from taxidermied animals? A toilet-topping, water-saving sink? Contestants have to figure out what's fake.
David Spade, the genuine host and producer of the show, spoke with emmy contributor Frank DeCaro while driving two hours to a standup gig. He discussed the new show as well as his favorite classic game shows, his lifelong crush on a certain uptown girl and the podcast he cohosts with fellow Saturday Night Live alum Dana Carvey.
How did the opportunity to host a game show come along?
I'm friends with Will Arnett, and I did his podcast SmartLess, and we had such a blast. He was going to do this game show, and he thought I might be a good host for it, even though I'd never done that before. At the initial meeting, I said, "I don't think I'm really good at this. I'm not Ryan Seacrest." They said, "We want an anti-game show host." I thought, Well, that makes it a little different. I can handle that. They told me, "Just be yourself, and it'll work."
A lot of major stars host game shows now.
In show biz, it used to be, Don't do a game show, don't do commercials. But then one day, it was like, Why are we so precious about all this? Now hosting a game show is just another one of those things someone can do, and if it's a good show, then why not? If you can do a commercial that's funny, do it. If you can do a good job hosting a game show, do it.
Is hosting a game show what you expected?
Going in, it was a bit overwhelming. I didn't know anything. I'm so cute, naÏve and innocent, I didn't even know shooting the show would take so long. I thought, Well, it's a forty-minute show. We'll shoot for an hour in case we want extra. Oh, they laughed when I said that. Once I got out there, it was very exciting. Being a bit of a blabbermouth helped. But I had to really be on my toes.
Growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, did you watch game shows?
As a kid, you’re just glued to the TV. I loved game shows like Match Game, which is back now, and Card Sharks, Wheel of Fortune and Hollywood Squares. I also liked High Rollers. They rolled big dice. I must have been a total twerp because I always wanted to roll those dice.
How are today's game shows different from those classics?
Those shows were all pretty basic, but now game shows have really advanced. Snake Oil has a huge stage, and there's a lot going on. There's smoke and a lot of people running around. I'm not just standing there going, "Spin the wheel. Pick a letter." And the audience really gets into it. I was surprised. With one crowd, we had to tell them to tone it down.
To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of emmy magazine HERE.
This article originally appeared in its entirety in emmy magazine, Issue No. 11 under the title, "Players' Club."
The interview for this story was completed before the start of the SAG-AFTRA strikes.