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Game show lets you 'Win Ben Stein's Money'

Game show August 4, 1997
Web posted at: 9:02 p.m. EDT (0102 GMT)

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Here's the gig: You're on a game show hosted by lawyer and actor Ben Stein -- the guy who played the clueless economics teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." You're also playing against Ben Stein. And your prize is Ben Stein's money.

It's not a bizarre dream -- it's an actual brand-new game show on Comedy Central called "Win Ben Stein's Money." The show has a dry sense of humor and a razor wit, characteristics that Stein, a former Nixon speechwriter, modestly suggests he shares.

"Why have I done it? Call me crazy," he said.

For the first two rounds, contestants try to answer questions in such obscure categories as "The Poison Ivy League," "Family Feuds not hosted by Richard Dawson," and "The Boys to Men from Brazil."

Stein plays along, playing to beat the finalist in the third round. Contestants can win up to $5,000. If Stein wins, he keeps what's left of the $5,000. Stein is also paid a host's salary.

"If you look at the people's faces while they're playing," he said, "you get a very good idea of why capitalism defeated communism. They're very motivated at the prospect of money for not much work.

Ben Stein

"If they only knew that even if they won the $5,000, the IRS would take most of it away from them, they wouldn't be so eager," he said.

Jimmy Kimmel is the announcer, or as Stein refers to him, "Mr. Green Jeans to my Captain Kangaroo."

Kimmel describes his role differently.

"I like to think of myself as the sexpot of this show. I have the kind of sex appeal that I think crosses male/female boundaries," he said.

The categories may be absurd, but the questions are intriguing. Stein said one of the funniest categories they ever had was "Ouch, that hurts a govina," and the question was "What's the capital of Bosnia."


Both Stein and Kimmel are quick to point out that their show is no Jeopardy.

"I know I'm no Alex Trebek and Ben certainly isn't Alex Trebek," said Kimmel.

"This show is much more casual than Jeopardy. I think it's safe to say this is a lot funnier than Jeopardy."

Correspondent Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.  
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