My disgusting fake game show asks "What would you do for money?"
I’ve written before about morality and pride taking a back seat to cash rewards . With today's game shows scraping the bottom of a very deep barrel, it amazes me what people will do for a little cash and a shot at their 15 minutes of fame. It got me wondering…how far will people go for money?
I’m not a rich man by any means, so the idea of setting up fake auditions and filming them went by the wayside pretty quickly when I estimated the costs. But, that didn’t put me off. Surely there was a way to get this done. Then it hit me; I could use the Internet to disperse my message and see if anyone would take the bait. So, several months ago I executed my plan. And after a few days, my inbox started to fill up.
I set myself up with a fake email account, calling myself Jake Bruckenheimer (sounded like a Hollywood-type producer to me…if anyone knows the guy behind such classics as Con Air and The Rock, you’ll get the joke). And the ad I placed on a variety of free sites covering most of the US went something like this:
NEW GAME SHOW OFFERS CASH REWARDS FOR THE TRULY VILE
How far would you go for money?
From a little extra cash, to a suitcase of dough, we want to know.
Hi, my name is Jake Bruckenheimer and I’m looking for contestants for a unique new game show called Anything Goes!
The premise is simple. We’re not going to force you to do something for money. We’re asking you what you’ll be perfectly willing to do for cash. You set the prize money, you tell us the scenario. If we like the sound of it, you’ll get to do it on TV for your cash prize.
Maybe you’d strip naked on air for $1000.
Or you could be willing to eat a bowl of toenail clippings for $3000.
Would you wrestle an angry pit-bull for $10,000?
You get the idea. Now, we’re not going to let you have your face slapped for a small fortune. And we’re not going to let you shoot your leg off either. But other than that, we’re open to all ideas and all cash prizes. IF you think you’ve got an idea that would warrant a cool million bucks, tell us about it.
The show is not due to air until 2009, so you have plenty of time to think about.
Shock us, surprise us, we’re ready for your crazy ideas.
As you can see, it’s a simple premise that I thought would get a few bites. I was surprised at how many replies I actually got though, so I’m sharing snippets of just a few of the emails with you. I am not printing full names in order to protect the identities of the people who replied. I also contacted every single respondent after the fact, told them of the true nature of the story, and asked if I could reprint the details here, without giving any personally identifiable information out. Almost everyone said yes, although some were genuinely disappointed that the show wasn’t real. Seriously. Those that didn’t agree are not reprinted here, along with many other entries that were duplicate ideas, obscene wagers or unbelievably obscene and depraved acts.
The majority of entries I got revolved around pain or eating something gross. I guess that’s something I may have prompted with my ad, coupled with the “Fear Factor” effect. Any spelling errors and other misgivings are reprinted here also, so forgive the various typos. All I have changed is the blanking out of a few swear words here and there.
Angela, Des Moines IA - Great idea!! I’ve always been afraid to go in tfor something like Fear Factor cos I’m scared of heights, but this is way cooler. And the name of the show is great! I thought about this for hours, I h ave the coolest idea. For $20,000 (enough to cover my credit cards debts) I will let you surgically amputate my little finger live on air. I want to feel no pain, and I don’t want to watch. I think that’s something peoplee will really tune in for. Whaddya think? (I think this one scared me the most!)
Darius, Rochester NY - This for real? Sounds legit, but I guess you only want whacky s**t for the show to be a hit. So how ‘bout this? I’ll eat two big cans of dog food (your choice) live on air for $2500, and if I throw up you get half the money back. How’s that yo?!
John, Boulder CO - That’s the most stupid idea I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I hope no-one answers your puerile ad, but something tells me the economy will force people to do things they’re not proud of. For all our sakes, I hope your show fails, or better yet, never gets off the ground. (This guy’s from my state...I had to put this in).
Vicente, Pomona CA - Hey Jack. I liked your idea about toenails but I’ll go you one better. Put a really fat guy on a treadmill and let him run for 10 minutes. When he’s done, I’ll lick the sweat from both his armpits for $5000. Although I’m open to offers dude.
Patrick, Albany NY - I’d give you my right arm for a million bucks. (Not sure if this one was a joke).
Joanna, Mesa AZ - I’ll eat dog s**t for $10,000. But I’m not eatinga lot. And I want a doctor on set in case somethinbg nasty happens to ,me. Sick enough for ya?
Steve, Aurora IL - This’ll crack the audience up if nothing else. I’ll French kiss a really old grannie for two minutes for $6k. Tongues, false teeth, big ugly warts, like Bush said, bring it on.
Markus, Glendale CA - For $250,000, you can permanently tattoo whatever you want on my forehead, including offensive words, insults or whatever the f**k your audience wants, including the word f**k/ The price is not negotiable, remember I have to live with this forever. (Not completely true, but still…)
Normal">Chad, Detroit MI - Thought ‘bout this one for ages, I have the best idea on the planet but it will cost you. I’ve seen these guys who hang from these rings int the skin on their back. Not dangerous enough. I’ll have a ring put in each nipple and one in my d**k, and you can hang me above a the studio audience for a new Ford Mustang V8. (No comment)
Jamie, Kansas City KS - Put me in a car like a crash test dummy and drive me into a wall. I think ti would be cool to see me in a crash in slo mo. I’ll do it for 15 grand. And I want to be patched up on your expense, including any after car.e .
Vincent, Waukegan IL - Sup. yoou can do a body cavity search on me by someone withy really big hands, and all I want in return is $8000k. That’s a deal I think. (I think he meant $8k or $8000, otherwise that’s one hell of an expensive exam!)
Ben, Arlington VA - You ever seen that 40 year old Virgin flick? There’s this seen in the movie where they wax his chest. Cracked me up, It looks really painful and I have way more hair than him. My nickname is beast. You can do that to me for $2000 and a decent steak dinner.
Jase, Orange County CA - Man, we’v e been talking about this for hours. IF nothing else, it’s gave us all a great few hours of BS converstaions. But I got the balls so I fugure I’ll give you my entry. I figure for five large you can give me a nasty chemical burn on my arm. Something that will leave a badass scar. How’s that?
Dade, Miami FL - When I was in college I went to something called the Jim Rose Circus. One of the vile acts, and there were many, involved a guy drinking two pints of beer, then sticking a tube down his throat and pumping the contents of his stomach out into a big jug. Then someone from the audience got on stage and drank it. They barfed. But, they didn’t get paid. I’ll do that for $5k, and it can be something worse than beer…maybe chunky soup? Man, my mouth’s already watering ha ha ha.
Elsa, Providence RI - I’m an old lady, in my 60s, and I think I’m probably the oldest person you’ll have applying for your show (not quite Elsa, there was a 72 year old but his entry was even more pedestrian). I think a show like this sounds fun. I will go sky-diving for $3000.
Brian, Los Angeles CA - Check it. I’ll down a full bottle of Blair’s 3AM hot sauce. It’s got 2 million scoville units, lookit up if you don’t know what that means. That’slike seriously hot. Like burning acid and mega pain death. I’ll do it for $10,000. If that sound like a lot, try one drop of this on your tongue and then you’ll know what this really means. Trust me, you’ll be crying. Get back to me.
There, that should give you an idea of the crazy things that filled my inbox. It’s worth noting that roughly 80% of the replies I received were from men. That could be for a number of reasons, this wasn’t an experiment done under tight controls, but I suspect the main one is that men are just more into crap like this (just look at Jackass).
But what does this all mean? Well, I think there are limits to what we should all be willing to do for the mighty dollar. A story that broke today on the web told of a girl selling her virginity , hoping to get a cool $1million (to put herself through college and probably buy a house). Now, I think that’s taking it way too far. Some have said this is a horrific way to earn money. Others have said that as your first time is usually so bad, why not get something good out of it?
However you feel, I think it comes down to this; does everyone have a price? Do you? Putting yourself in a room full of stinging wasps may not seem like a good idea for $2000, but what if it were $20,000, or $200,000? In tough economic times when the gap between the rich and the poor is growing, I wonder if the lower echelons of society will one day become part of some vile entertainment for the uber-rich. Not unlike slaves becoming gladiators, or Christians facing lions for the entertainment of the Roman crowds, could we see a time when people will risk life and limb for a shot at financial freedom? I sincerely hope not.