Don’t Forget the Lyrics

Wayne BradyHas anyone ever attended a taping of “Don’t Forget The Lyrics?”  Has anyone ever blogged it?

I caught some of the blooper reels from the “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” DVDs on-line the other day.  (Ah, YouTube and its copyright-violating genius!) Wayne Brady was a regular on that before “Lyrics,” you may recall.  Many of the bloopers had to do with Ryan Stiles complaining about how long the taping was going. Stories coming out of the tapings from the audience indicated that they’d have to sit still in their seats for five hours at a go.  WLIIA recorded a lot of stuff to get the half hour shows on the air that we saw.  The original British version of the show had a similar problem, but they would do a bonus show at the end of the season to show the lost bits that were airable.  (In fact, such a clips show was the first WLIIA episode I saw, the first day my cable company picked up Comedy Central many a moon ago.)

But when I look at “Lyrics,” I can’t help but see edit points now.  Obviously, lots of Brady’s lines are looped in after the fact.  When a contestant, for example, returns for a second episode, they use all long shots fromt he original contestant introduction, with looped-in lines from Brady to re-introduce them.  When they return from a commercial, they often reuse shots to welcome the audience back into the game.

So how much extra gets recorded on stage, and how much is created in editing?

I have a hunch that they record a lot of extra “But, first, a commercial break” lines.  As good as the producers of the show might be, can they always know when a real commercial break would fall? When a new contestant enters half-way through a show, they have to shuffle people around — bring new back-ups on set, add family members to front row seats in the audience, move those people around back, etc.

Speaking of back-ups, I take it the contestants have one hard and fast rule: Never look behind you at the back-ups.  That way lies cheating, after all.  And I can’t recall ever seeing a contestant looking behind them at any time.

But there are more things to worry about.  The musicians don’t know which song they’re going to be playing next. While I imagine they’ve rehearsed a whole lot of them during the week, the specific category and song are unknown until about 30 seconds before they play the tunes.  Sheet music is delivered by computer monitor to the players, which has to help speed things up a little bit.  But I can’t help but think that there’s more of a delay while the band gets its act together and is ready to play. That would suggest another edit point.

And are there any contestants too dull to bother airing?  Any contestants too awful at singing to inflict on an unsuspecting population?  Any games too boring to bother finishing?  “Deal or No Deal” has that problem, from all reports.

But I can’t recall ever seeing someone from the audience writing up their experiences in a blog post.  Has anyone else seen one?


I did catch this writeup, from someone who gets paid to attend show tapings.  Interesting. She says the day lasts about 12 hours (with two bathroom breaks and one lunch break – yeesh), and they obviously record a bunch of episodes at once.By the looks of it, this person attended the same taping, though had no answers to the questions I asked above.

Also, download the contestant application form.  Now you see where Wayne Brady gets all those questions from; he already knows the answers.  I like the part about “Have you ever created a website?  What materials did you post on there?”  I also like this instruction regarding a videotape you should prepare for your application: “Be Kind, Rewind. Rewinding your tape to the beginning greatly increases our fondness for you.”

It’s 2008 and they only want submission TAPES, not DVDs. Hunh.

One thought on “Don’t Forget the Lyrics

  1. “It’s 2008 and they only want submission TAPES, not DVDs. Hunh.”

    Tapes are more reliable than recordable DVDs. I’ve had to do presentations every year at a convention, and the first year I went to DVD (2006), nothing worked right. I had multiple backups with both DVD-R and DVD+R, one laptop and one DVD player that never gave me trouble. Until that day. Things paused and skipped and didn’t work right.

    Coincidentally, there was someone who worked in the TV business at that convention, and he told one of my partners that the very troubles I had are the reason they still preferred tapes over DVDs.

    Funny, isn’t it? All this technology and the old way can still be better.

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