Christopher Saam, 64, says that when he was a kid his father warned him about the dangers of gambling.
On Monday evening, the New Providence-based handyman appeared on an episode of the recently rebooted comedy and quiz game show “You Bet Your Life” (which airs weeknights at 6 and 6:30 p.m. on local CW affiliate WHP-TV) hosted by Jay Leno, and he had to decide whether or not to take his father’s advice.
Saam says he found a casting call for the rebooted game show on Facebook and had an audition with one of the show’s producer via Skype. His episode was shot in late July. (Read more in an interview with Saam here.)
The show opened with a bit of trivia-based banter between Leno and his co-host, the former "Tonight Show" band leader Kevin Eubanks, then moved on to the first pair of contestants.
The game requires a team of two strangers to work together to answer five trivia questions in one category. The questions are worth progressively more money until the final question, which is double-or-nothing. If the team answers all the questions correctly they split their winnings. There’s also a $500 bonus if any of the team members says the secret word.
The first pair of contestants failed to take home any cash with their category that centered on snakes in movies. Saam appeared in the second half of the show.
Saam was partnered with Tara, a stenographer from New York and their category – "Ice Ice Cream Cream Baby" – was all about frozen treats.
Saam shined on stage and his experience as a comedian came in handy as he bantered with Leno. Before the game began, Leno had fun with Saam’s colorful background which included his work as a handyman and his experience as an exotic dancer in the ‘80s. Leno asked Saam what music he liked to dance to and Saam said Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and then showed the audience that he still he could still get down with a demonstration of some of his signature moves.
Saam, who is married for the fifth time, was able to give out a special shout-out to his wife when Leno asked about his partner.
“This woman is amazing,” said Saam. “I finally got it right.”
Saam turned out to be a pretty good game show partner too.
The pair cruised through the first four ice cream questions and scooped a cool $2,500. Then it was time to decide whether to go double or nothing. Saam and his partner didn’t hesitate and decided to risk it all.
The question was “how many flavors is the ice cream chain Baskin Robbins famous for?
Saam’s partner was unsure but he immediately said he knew the answer was 31. Their gamble paid off and the pair won $5,000.
If you want to play along with “You Bet Your Life” you can scan the QR code that appears at the end of each episode and answer a trivia question to be entered in a sweepstakes for prizes. Viewers can also go to youbetyourlife.com and sign up to join the live audience or apply to be a contestant on the show.