Wheel Love: One Girl's Journey to Game Show Fame at the Wheel of Fortune Auditions.
Last weekend the Wheel Mobile rolled through the Metroplex and I had a front row seat. Well, technically I was located somewhere in the middle, but potato, pa-tah-to, let's get to it.
What the eff is a Wheel Mobile? Fair question: It's Wheel of Fortune on wheels. The show is out on a massive coast-to-coast tour, holding auditions and stopping practically everywhere. Even Tulsa, Oklahoma.
If you're under 40, you likely did not attend the event. Luckily for you, I did. And it was maybe the single greatest thing ever.
Here's what went down...
COMEDY NIGHT AT THE MUSE WITH DAMON WILLIAMS
TicketsFri., Dec. 9, 9:00pm
The Black Academy Of Arts And Letters
TicketsSat., Dec. 10, 9:00am
Summer's Christmas Wish
TicketsSun., Dec. 11, 5:00pm
Poets N Jazz #3
TicketsFri., Dec. 16, 9:00pm
Irma P Hall Black Theatre Awards
TicketsMon., Dec. 19, 6:00pm
The Fair Park audition located was inside the Music Hall and parking was $10, but when you inadvertently sneak in the back way, it's free.
I had a Starbucks coffee because like Honey Boo Boo, I needed to get up for the occasion. Well, even though they sell food and drinks inside, you can't take YOUR food or drinks inside. Chug-a-lug and we're in.
This is where the vetting process begins. And it starts off with the world's smallest application, which includes only: Name, DOB, Address and "interesting facts about yourself." I panicked and said I have a cat, but I was fully prepared to show pictures...so that's interesting? Yeah, it sounds bad, but just wait: A few sentences from now you'll see that other people CLEARLY PANICKED, TOO.
The staff combined all of the forms in a big pool, then names were drawn at random by the Channel 4 news team. Enormous banner behind them aside, I had no idea who these people were. Also, shouldn't they be finding news somewhere? (Fun fact - They were mildly entertaining. Unfun fact - Their kids appeared on stage with them. Nepotism, right?)
Our "Pat" was a good-looking, younger man with ADD. Oddly, all of his references were from the mid-90s. He even worked in Walk 500 Miles. Fo' real. Our "Vanna" was punkier than America's true sweetheart. This one had razor-short blonde hair and a fitted leather-ish dress. She also had to write in the letters because, sadly, they use dry erase boards for the traveling show. Spare no expense, Wheel Mobile.
Since it was Wheel, there were prizes, like fanny packs and blinkie pins. Occasionally Not Pat would jump up and do a herkie at which point I'd tell him he won a ripped taint. (I heckle. It's what I do.)
As an audience member you could play along provided you didn't shout out the answer and ruin it for everyone. All in all, it was absurdly exciting for essentially a game of glorified hangman.
When people got called on stage, they get a one-minute interview with Not Pat. This was the nerve-wracking-est part in my eyes. Here are a few gems that popped out of people's mouths...
"We hunt for bugs in the backyard and we have a caterpillar named Catepill." "I'm a recluse." "I have a victory dance, wanna see it?" "I have a victory dance, wanna see it?" "I have a victory dance, wanna see it?" "I do some pretty wild things...I'm in a book club."
Shockingly, Wheel auditions don't bring out the best dressed. One lady was wearing a PBR sweatshirt and pink sweatpants. Lord, I hope she made it on the teevee.
I didn't snag a role on the real deal Wheel, but it's probably because i would have stolen Vanna's thunder. Still, I'm glad I went. And next time something this "once-in-a-lifetime" rolls around, don't sit at home like a schmuck, go to it. If only for the free blinkie pins and celebrity knock-off sightings.
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