A warning from Jane Lynch about NBC’s upcoming Hollywood Game Night (premiering Thursday, July 11, 10/9c): “There are cocktails, and some people get a little glassy-eyed during the show.”
Fret not, though, the pre-competition drinks — served on the poolside patio where a live band is playing — actually enhance the game instead of hindering it. “[Alcohol] increases everyone’s ability to particpate — and to do so joyfully. We haven’t had it turn bad on us yet,” Lynch says with a laugh.
As emcee for the show — which is fashioned after parties thrown by executive producer Sean Hayes — Lynch oversees the action as average Joes and Janes join up with teams of celebrities in an attempt to win a $25,000 cash prize. Events include “Celebrity”; a version of charades where “the answers are all in a theme, like Steven Spielberg movies or Bruce Springsteen songs”; and even a game “where you have to get your team to guess what song you’re singing, but with only the lyrics ‘doo-doo.’”
Lynch adds that thus far, she hasn’t seen a single contestant get starstruck or intimidated once they arrive on set. “That’s the fun thing about Hollywood Game Night: Everyone shows up to play. And if they don’t, they get there within 30 seconds,” she adds. “It’s like going to a Hollywood party, but you’re one of them. It’s raucous and fun, and it’s the great equalizer — once you get started you can’t tell the civilian from the celebrity.”
And while Lynch contends that “there’s nothing on TV quite like it,” she nevertheless says it’s not hard to see a parallel to the old Hollywood Squares. “I’m reminded of it somewhat, in terms of how they always had celebrities up there and they always looked like they were having so much fun,” Lynch recollects.”Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly and Soupy Sales and Paul Lynde — I remember watching them as a kid and just adoring it.”
And which Hollywood Game Night stars have struck Lynch as the most competitive thus far? “Anthony Anderson is pretty over the top. Josh Gadd and Jason Alexander are really competitive: They were razzing each other about who’s fatter. And Dax Shepard is always calling on the judges to rethink their decision,” Lynch says, chuckling. “It’s loud, it’s crazy, it’s no holds barred.”
The lineup of celebs for the show’s eight-episode run, according to NBC’s publicity department, is as follows:
* Martin Short, Matthew Perry, Daniel Dae Kim, Kristen Bell, Alyson Hannigan and Lisa Kudrow
* Valerie Bertinelli, Cheryl Hines, Sarah Chalke, Yvette Nicole Brown, Rob Riggle and Matthew Morrison
* Sean Hayes, Dax Shepard, Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and Maya Rudolph
* Minnie Driver, Kal Penn, Kenan Thompson, Ellie Kemper, Angela Kinsey and Max Greenfield
* Tom Arnold, Stacy Keibler, Patricia Heaton, Rose Byrne, Anthony Anderson and Jamie Lynn Sigler
* Molly Shannon, Kristen Chenoweth, Wilmer Valderamma, Dominic Monaghan, Felicity Huffman and Aubrey Plaza
* Terry Crews, Jerry Ferrara, Hoda Kotb, David Giuntoli, Tom Arnold and Emilie de Ravin
* Al Roker, Nick Cannon, Josh Gad, Niecy Nash, Jason Alexander and Will Sasso
Are you excited for the premiere of Hollywood Game Night? Sound off in the comments with your anticipation level!