Sherri Shepherd thought she’d heard it all about the private lives of married couples, but having just finished taping 65 episodes as the new host of ‘The Newlywed Game’ on Game Show Network, she’s just learned a whole lot more.
Shepherd, 43, is the sixth host in the 44-year history of this venerable game show, taking over the host’s role from Carnie Wilson, who hosted the first three seasons of this latest ‘Newlywed Game’ incarnation on GSN. The show returns for its fourth go-round of “making whoopee” on GSN, with Shepherd as host, Monday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m., airing Monday through Friday. This new gig makes Shepherd a TV triple threat since she’s already a co-host on ‘The View’ and has a recurring role on NBC’s ‘30 Rock’ as the outspoken but loving wife of funnyman Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan).
In an interview with Fancast, Sherri describes what it’s like behind-the-scenes and on-camera at ‘The Newlywed Game,’ version 2010.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve never hosted a game show before.
I have never, and it’s so very cool as a black woman – because typically you would see older white men [as game-show hosts]. So that the fact that you have Steve Harvey hosting ‘The Family Feud,’ Wayne Brady hosting ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ and you have me hosting ‘The Newlywed Game.’ I think it’s unprecedented.
You’re feeling like a pioneer.
I am! I mean, to be at the helm of a game show such as ‘The Newlywed Game,’ which is an icon, and have a black woman there . . . Hey. I’m not Obama by any means, but I know a little bit of what it feels like!
After doing 65 of these, you must feel pretty comfortable now as the show’s host.
Yeah, it took a minute to get warmed up because you always have [original ‘Newlywed Game’ host] Bob Eubanks in the back of your mind. And I don’t want to mess up anything – you know, when you think of ‘The Newlywed Game,’ you get a warm, fuzzy feeling. I didn’t want to take that away from anybody. I didn’t want to bring so much difference to it that it was a whole different game show. But I wanted to bring who Sherri was and who people know me to be. And I think I did.
How would you say you did that?
I just felt I brought a lot of sass to it. There was one point where [one of the husband contestants] didn’t answer a question right and I was trying to help him. I kept going, ‘Let me read this question again ’cause obviously you’re not getting that I’m asking you what size your penis is! And you keep saying it’s a baby bonnet, so let me read it one more time!’
Hold on there, Sherri! Was the question that explicit, or was it couched in innuendo?
That’s the thing that’s still the same [about the show]. We couch [the questions] in innuendo. We still say ‘making whoopee’ because it does bring a smile to your face and I think that’s a phrase that you always want to hear. But this one was couched in, I think, ‘the size of your package that you may deliver to the store.’ Every other couple got it! So what I bring to it is: He still didn’t get it and when his wife held up her card, you know, it was a different answer. I was so upset with him, I went over to him and I hit him with her card, and that’s the kind of stuff I do. There was something that I asked a guy – what does he sound like when he makes whoopee with his wife? And he was an accountant, he was very stiff. ‘OK [Sherri said to him], I will start it off. I will tell you what I sound like when I make whoopee.’ And I walked over to him and I held his hand. I said, ‘Let’s do it together,’ and he made a sound of what he sounds like having an orgasm! So that’s the kind of thing that I bring.
‘The Newlywed Game’ was always known for being racy, in accordance with the standards of its time. We certainly live in permissive times these days, but nevertheless, were you shocked to be asking these kinds of questions?
Well, it’s a little bit more racy [than the original show], I have to say that. There were some questions that I asked that I said, Oh, my goodness, I’m gonna call my dad and tell him that he doesn’t get the Game Show Network. He cannot hear me asking that kind of stuff. But also, I’m a comic, so I ad-lib. So if [the contestants are] uncomfortable, I want to make them comfortable and say, Hey, I’ve done it too. You’ve had sex in a public place? Me too! That’s not really something I want Dad knowing, but I will do anything I can to make them feel comfortable, and if that means sharing my life, then I’ll do it.
Sherri, you’ve just informed me in an interview that you have had sex in public.
Well, you know, let me tell you this, my little what I call having sex in public is nothing like these couples. I felt like a prude when I would finish these shows. It turns out that a lot of these couples like having sex on top of their cars, on public beaches, in hot-air balloons, in the prayer room at their husband’s church. My little sex in public places might be in my backyard. I mean, jeez! It’s in the privacy of my yard. We’ve had a lot of couples say – we’ve had sex in our dressing room. And I’m going, ‘The dressing room at “The Newlywed Game”?’ So we’ve had couples who’ve had sex on the premises and this one couple said, ‘Yeah, right before we started the show, right before you came out and said, “Hi, couples”.’ What the hell were you doin’ back there?
Does each couple get a private dressing room?
Yes, they do.
Well, there’s your problem right there.
Adam [if they had only one big dressing room for everybody], that would be an orgy. Oh, my God, it is crazy. It’s very funny. But I just want those couples to leave going, ‘I had fun.’ I don’t want them feeling like, ‘Oh, my God, I revealed something and I so regret it!’