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Beat The Geeks

Webmistress "Poizen" Ivy and Lisa HeisserMy Beat The Geeks experience began on September 7th, 2001. I spoke with Lisa Heisser about the show and she informed me that this new Comedy Central pop culture quiz show was really looking for someone in the LA area, but when I told her I was willing to drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles (it’s only four and a half hours and I’ve got lots of friends out there to visit too!) she invited me to come by Hollywood Center Studios for a brief on camera interview and quiz to see if I worthy of becoming their Sopranos Geek.

Hollywood Center StudiosLisa was very nice and tried her best to put me at ease, but I haven’t been more nervous since I took the SATs! It turns out I had no need to be, the funniest part of the “quiz” was that I’d actually written a lot of the questions for GIST’s Sopranos FanClub Quiz Show, so I knew the answers and I couldn’t resist telling Lisa that. Then a couple of weeks later I got a call from her announcing that I had been selected as Beat The Geeks’ special guest Sopranos Geek!

Guest Geek Webmistress "Poizen" IvyOn Tuesday, October 16th (the day after Sopranoland celebrated its second birthday) I was back in Hollywood and got to the lot just before 8:30am. Security was a bit tighter at the studio this time, but I was given the star treatment in my own cozy cabana stocked with cold beverages, tasty snacks and a couch to stretch out on. After depositing my stuff inside, I wandered onto the stage to find some coffee for my morning pick-me-up. Then producer Lisa Heisser briefed me in detail about the show, I was given my Geek robe, and writer Adam De La Pena went over my lines with me.

Beat The Geeks may only be half-hour shows, but taping five of them in a row sure makes for a tiring 10 hour day. I have a lot more respect for TV folks now! I also want to thank my fellow geeks Paul “The King of TV” Goebel, Andy Zax and Marc Edward Heuck for welcoming me into the realm of geekdom, along with the show’s witty host, J. Keith Van Straaten, adorable co-host Tiffany Bolton, and the rest of the hard-working crew. It was a fun experience and everyone was incredibly nice, even though I blew my very first line. Hey, I was a bit nervous with the smoke and all those cameras whizzing about!

Episodes of Beat The Geeks will air weeknights at 7:30pm beginning on December 10, 2001. Each episode starts with three contestants battling each other to move on to the second round. The Geeks get a chance to show off by spouting facts relating to the questions that are asked. During the second round, the two remaining contestants go head-to-head with the Geeks and Guest Geeks are even worth bonus points to encourage the contestant to try and outsmart them. The thing is that the contestants get to answer fairly easy questions, while the Geeks face very difficult ones (kudos to the writers!). Then it’s finally time for “The Geek-Off”, where the top contestant challenges one Geek in an attempt to win a $5,000 prize package. But now the playing field is more even, the questions all have a point value and the first person to score 7 points wins.

All I can say is the producers did a fine job, we aren’t called Geeks for nothing!

James Cagney - Hollywood Cneter Studios

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