Jane Lynch a Winner as ‘Game Night’ Host

By Courtney Crowder
Chicago Tribune

There’s only one TV show that treats audiences to retorts like, “Oh, Lester Holt, you have an adorable little a _ .”

Or jokes about how Martin Short “is at the sputtering end of a legendary career.”

Or one-liners comparing Jason Alexander’s infamous hairpiece to a “poodle belly.”

That’s because there’s just one game show that has Jane Lynch for a host.

Lynch helms the controlled comedic chaos on NBC’s newest game show, “Hollywood Game Night,” which is in the middle of its second season. Like the glory days of “Hollywood Squares” and “The $10,000 Pyramid,” “HGN” pairs celebrities with commoners to hilarious effect, forcing stars and regular folks alike to embarrass themselves in the name of winning.

This season will feature a mix of entertainers, including Henry Winkler, Molly Shannon, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Taraji Henson and Don Cheadle.

The show, based on the fabled game nights that actor and “HGN” producer Sean Hayes throws at his house, pits two teams of four against each other in a series of wacky, pop culture-centric party games.

Eleven new games were introduced this season, including Show Me the Music, in which one team member must guess the name of a song based on the pantomimes of teammates, and It’s the Story of My Life, which challenges players to guess the celebrity based on an excerpt from his or her memoir.

We caught up with Lynch over the phone to talk about the best game show hosts, the most memorable “HGN” contestants and how being the show’s ringmaster is kind of like being a traffic cop. Here’s an edited transcript of our chat.

Q: Why did you decide to get into the game show business?

A: Well, Sean Hayes is a really good friend of mine, and I have gone to his game nights before. One night, we were having dinner, and he said, “I want to put these game nights on the air.” I was actually doing a demo for another game show, which is kind of weird because it’s not something I ever wanted to do, but he asked if I would be interested in hosting, and I said that I had this other thing. After I thought about it, I was like, what am I doing? So I called him the next day and said I would love to do his show, and I dumped the other thing.

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