January 22, 2008
You may remember Richard Rubin from the first season of the hit reality show Beauty and the Geek. Richard and his partner Mindi made it all the way to the end of the show, finishing in second place. These days you'll find him occupying a regular mob spot on 1 vs 100, sitting between Oscar the Grouch and The Dahm Triplets.
I was thrilled to have the chance to talk to Richard and find out more about his appearances on my favorite new game show. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and it was a really fun conversation.
Question: Hi Richard! How did this gig with 1 vs 100 come about?
Richard Rubin: Well, they called a fellow I know who is a manager-slash-agent, looking for people to be regular mob members on the show. I went and met with the producers, and decided it would be a fun thing to do.
Q: Are you a game show fan in general?
Richard: Yes! I used to be very good at Jeopardy, being a trivia buff. I have all sorts of trivia in my head, the only problem is that I don't really know anything that happened after 1949.
I used to like that show Scrabble with Chuck Woolery too. That's kind of an old one though.
I love Chuck Woolery.
Richard: I do too. That was a fun show.
Q: As a mob member, you're sitting between Oscar the Grouch and The Dahm Triplets – do you find yourself getting distracted by either side?
Richard: It's crazy! I'm sandwiched between them and have to try and focus. You know, you have to focus because you don't want to hit the wrong button or anything.
It's like one extreme to the other though!
Richard: I know! On one side is Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, and on the other we have triplets from Playboy. It's crazy.
Q: So tell me how this all works. If you win money as part of the mob, do you keep it?
Richard: There are five regular mob members: Sommore, Ross the Intern, the Dahm Triplets, myself, and Oscar the Grouch. If any of us wins any money, it goes to charity.
I should mention that I missed your first episode – I had recorded it, but it was preempted by some auto show.
Richard: Oh no! I don't want to say that's tragic, but it's certainly unfortunate.Q: Agreed! Considering the type of questions asked on 1 vs 100, who do you think would do better on the show: a beauty against a mob of geeks, or a geek against a mob of beauties?
Richard: Good question! I would say probably the geeks against the beauty. There are so many pop culture questions, you know, no one's asking what the capital of Uzbekistan is. Which is Tashkent, by the way. For example, one of the questions coming up is, "In the Mobil gas station logo, which letter is red?" And you feel like you should know that since you see it all the time. The questions are idiosyncratic, so the geeks would be more apt to draw a blank on a lot of them.
Q: Going into this, were there any specific categories of questions that you were dreading?
Richard: Well sure. Anything that happened after 1949.
Q: Do you still keep in touch with any of your cast mates from Beauty and the Geek?
Richard: From time to time, yeah.
Q: You've seen how both reality shows and game shows work from the production end now. Do you think it would have been easier for you to try and win money on a game show than on a reality show?
Richard: On a game show? Yeah, I think so. It's trivia – if you know your stuff, you win. It's much more objective. It's like being in school and taking a test in math versus taking a test in history. In math, it's all numbers and you're either right or you're wrong. If you know what you're doing, you do well. With history, you get a question like, "Was Ben Franklin a good person?" and it's more subjective. You can argue either side, and still come up with the wrong answer.
Q: What's coming up next for you now?
Richard: I'm actually working with a production team on a project, and we'll be pitching the idea to networks in the very near future. It's kind of like dating, you know, you meet with the networks and hope that they like you. And if they don't, you move on to the next one. It's a very fun project though, and I'm working with a great group of people.
I don't want to give away too many details though. If someone picks it up, you'll definitely hear about it.
Q: Just one last question for you, Richard: What's Bob Saget like in person?
Richard: He's very professional and very good at his job. I mean, it's not like we were hanging out in the green room eating bagels together or anything, but I of course did get to observe him during the tapings. Like my father would say, he runs a tight ship. Which is good because a good game show host has to keep things moving.
He's got a tough job there. It's not like he's just standing there reading questions. Alex Trebek really has it easy, you know, he reads his cards and talks to the contestants. He maybe has some fun rolling the R's in some of the words, but other than that it's pretty straightforward. Saget is very capable, he's got 100 things to worry about ...
Richard: Yes, literally! He has to keep things moving, he has to keep the banter going with the contestant, talk to members of the mob, read the questions, explain the rules, and all the while entertain the audience.
I did get a chance to talk to him a little though, and he's a very down-to-earth, approachable person.
Richard, thanks so much for talking with me today. I wish you the best of luck with your new project!
Richard: Thanks Carrie!
You can catch Richard Rubin, Bob Saget, and the rest of the 1 vs 100 crew Friday nights at 8pm on NBC.