It was all on the line for Jupiter’s Barry Rosenblum: a possible $25,000 in cash and winning the Jan. 30 episode of ABC’s star-studded revival of the TV show “Match Game.”
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And when host Alec Baldwin read the final question, Rosenblum was sure he had “the perfect answer” that would match the quippy responses written on cards by celebrity guest stars including former “Saturday Night Live” performer Ana Gastyer and former “30 Rock” stars Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer.
“Unfortunately, it was the answer to the wrong question,” Rosenblum said.
Baldwin’s question: “Last Friday was singles’ night at Chuck E. Cheese. To heat things up, they emptied the ball pit and filled it with ‘blank.’”
In a moment of badly timed misunderstanding, Jupiter’s Rosenblum, 29, who teaches for Boca Raton’s Sick Puppies Comedy improvisation group, thought Baldwin said “seagull’s night.”
Which is why he and the panel were confused when Rosenblum answered “Fish.”
That comically cringe-worthy exchange, with Rosenblum confusedly saying “Not seagull’s night?” and clutching his head in disbelief as the celebrity stars came down one-by-one to hug and console him, has gone viral. It’s been featured on international fan sites and in less than a week, the video clip of his loss has been viewed nearly 8,000 times on YouTube.
It’s awkward but very funny. And fortunately, funny is what he does for a living, so Rosenblum is taking his dubious moment in stride.
“As soon as I answered ‘Fish,’ the audience went ‘Aww!’ and my brain immediately said, ‘I must have misheard that, because fish is a great answer!’”
Rosenblum, who isn’t wrong about that fish thing, is a graduate of Palm Beach Gardens High School, attended Palm Beach State College and eventually the University of Tampa and Miami’s Barry University, which he obviously shared a name with.
“Funny enough, everyone would forget my name there. I would point at stuff and go, ‘Come on, I’m giving you a hint. It’s on your shirt,’” he says.
He eventually became a fifth-grade teacher, but after a year, he decided it wasn’t for him, and dedicated himself to teaching comedy classes and leading corporate events for Sick Puppies, while honing his career. It’s in that spirit that he answered an online ad for applications for a game show, which turned out to be “Match Game.”
“I’d seen the show before, and thought ‘Hey, why not?’” says Rosenblum, who was thrilled to be picked, and figures he was chosen “just because of my attitude going in. Even on a bad day, I’m smiling.”
Rosenblum didn’t know just who was on the panel until right before the taping started, but was excited to see it packed full of funny people, including McBrayer, Krakowski, “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Martin” actress Tischina Arnold, “American Pie” actor Jason Biggs and comedian Rob Huebel. The object of the game is to match the ridiculous and often bawdy answers to the silly questions Baldwin asks.
Unfortunately, Rosenblum’s opponent, a woman named Alexis, “had gotten all six right” in the previous round, and so he needed “to have a perfect score” to go into overtime.
“Don’t suck!” panelist Gasteyer can be seen saying on the YouTube clip.
Sadly, non-suckage was not to be. Watching the clip is like a slow-motion movie where the goof is immediately obvious but you’re helpless to stop it. Rosenblum is visually confident, because what else would seagulls want but fish?
“I think being from Florida, and having been in California weeks earlier and having gone to a (San Diego) Gulls hockey game, seagulls were on my mind,” he says now.
But in the clip, you can see it all go horribly and hilariously wrong. Baldwin gets an exaggerated “Ouch” face, and the panelists start audibly saying “Fish? Did he say fish?” Rosenblum looks shocked. “Seagulls? It’s seagulls?”
“No,” Baldwin says. “Singles.”
“Oh no!” panelists can be heard saying, as Arnold rushes over to him, saying “You need a hug,” followed by the rest of the comedians.
“At least I lost with style,” says Rosenblum, who was contractually obligated to keep that spectacular and stylish loss to himself until the show aired last week. He was teaching at the time, so he couldn’t even watch it when it aired.
“But I told my friends to check it out. My biggest worry was that I was going to look like a moron. I had people texting me and I asked, ‘Do I look stupid?’ and they said ‘You do look stupid, but you also look really cute and really humble.’”
Most of the YouTube comments were supportive, but Rosenblum says he’s laughing off even the negative ones, since “I’ve failed in front of way more people doing stand-up. Getting booed in person is worse than reading bad comments.”
Although he didn’t get anywhere near the $25,000 grand prize for winning the final solo round, or even the three or four thousand he’d have won if he’d beaten Alexis in the first round, Rosenblum has nothing but great things to say about “Match Game.”
“Everyone involved was amazing. When I walked off stage everyone was like, ‘Are you OK?’ And I was like ‘I’m OK, I’m good.’”
Ultimately, he gained not money but a really good story, a clip for future jobs and the knowledge that he made people laugh, even unintentionally. In the YouTube comments, “certain people (said) ‘I really ended up laughing. That was so funny. I really needed that laugh.’ And that’s why I do comedy, to bring joy to people’s lives.”