Friday, January 15, 2010
Our Cash Cab Cash Grab
I have a video clip of our appearance, which was actually filmed in June of 2008, but I can't figure out how to post it on this stinkin' blog site. I've tried a number of tricks, including using the "help" feature (men hate clicking on "help," it's like stopping to ask directions), but it led me nowhere.
If you want me to e-mail the clip to you, send me a note. In the meantime, I'll keep trying to figure out how to post it here. A shout out to my friend Stan Berson for converting the DVD of our appearance into a video clip. He's an all-around talented guy (if you need high-end, small-job carpentry done in the Monmouth County area, let me know and I'll put you in touch.)
I tried to convert the DVD myself, but don't think I had the correct software. Or, maybe, just not the correct brain.
Nothing is easy. Unless it is.
Back to the show. We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) pertaining to certain aspects of the production, so I can't tell you a number of the more interesting things, sorry. Maybe over a beer. I think the producers made us agree that if we violated the NDA, we'd be forced to ride with a real NYC taxi driver for a day and endure the smell. In July. With the windows up.
Ben is a licensed NYC cabbie, or so he says, despite not speaking or smelling like one. He claimed he'd never been in an accident and has insurance. That would make him one-of-a-kind among NYC taxi drivers.
The adventure began when we got into the cab (the NDA prevents me from explaining "Why us?") and the lights went off overhead. If you've seen the show, you know what I'm talking about. It looks very disco-like for a few seconds, as if John Travolta's dance floor had been transplanted onto the cab ceiling.
Ben explained the rules, and asked us if we wanted to play. Of course we agreed. Then we were asked to step out of the cab to sign the NDA and various other authorization and tax forms. There's always paperwork, no matter what you do.
A small crowd gathered on the sidewalk at this point, because people recognized Ben, and the cab. We were on the corner of 61st and Broadway. I tried to sign some autographs, but nobody was biting.
We got back into the cab and Ben drove down Broadway, on our way to BLT Fish, a restuarant about 45 blocks or so away. They said the exact distance on the show, but I'm in too much of a rush right now to re-play the clip. I'm in the right ballpark though, I'm sure.
Geo, my friend and cab mate, is well above average at trivia. He won an episode of Jeopardy! (don't forget the exclamation point!) back in the 1960s, I think. He lost the second game, however, because one of the other guys was lightning quick on the buzzer, a big key to winning. I also think they interrupted his episode for a speech by President Kennedy or something. Anyway, Geo knows his trivia.
The first question was relatively simple: "A depiction of a black lightning bolt on a yellow background with the letters "HV" below it warns of what hazard?"
Geo froze up, later saying that he could only think of HIV, so I answered "High voltage." Ben affirmed that the answer was correct.
Geo remained in a state of suspended animation for the next question -- I thought he may have been hypnotized by the disco lights or something -- but then he suddenly thawed out. Geo was especially good on the "Red Light Challenges" which each require a five-part answer (one involved actresses and he subscribes to "Variety," so that was easy.)
We got the first seven or so questions correct. For such a short clip, you'd think I'd have all these stats memorized, but I don't. And it was "doubles week" so each question counted for double the money. Geo and I still argue over who was responsible for more of our correct answers. He says it was him, and I know it was me. In reality, it was close to a 50/50 split. Regardless, we were on a hot streak.
If you've read this blog with any regularity, you know I'm a very self-effacing guy. Humble and modest are two words used to describe me by many. You can stop coughing now. But, I will modestly say that I was on a roll in the cab with witticisms. For example, at one point Ben had to stop asking questions for a few seconds because we were in heavy traffic and he said that he didn't want to get into an accident.
"Yeah, afterall," I said, "We're in the Cash Cab, not Crash Cab."
That bit of comedy ended up on the cutting room floor. As did most of my other humorous interludes during that ride.
It must be the policy of the show to not allow passengers to be funnier than Ben. They don't want anyone to show up their high-priced star, especially some average schmo off the street.
Our momentum was shattered by two consecutive wrong answers, both on science: "What's the technical name for a three-quarters full moon?"
1. Gibbous; and 2) Escape velocity or parabolic velocity.