The Pyramid franchise was home to many, many Funny Moments. Some came from the Sophisticated as Hell emcee Dick Clark, others from the large cast of celebrities involved in the show's many years on the air, and still more from the contestants.
"An old woman's breasts" as a clue for "Things That Sag".
"A proctologist's finger" for "Things That Probe".
"Your genital organs" for "Things Below the Waist". The contestant guessed "Things You Touch", "Things You Stroke", and "Things You Rub".
And in a special game in which Taxi co-stars Tony Danza and Marilu Henner were teamed up, Tony gave the clue "I like to put this all over you" for "Shaving Cream".
Any time Dick Clark screws up, hilarity is inevitable. On two occurrences — once on $100,000 and once on $25,000, chronologically — Dick's trouble with numbers catches up with him as he bungles the descriptions of two cars offered as Mystery 7 prizes.
June 27, 1975: In one of the franchise's more underrated moments, following a disastrous week in which he never got to the Winner's Circle, William Shatner got 30 seconds to play the big round by himself for charity — and still lost (the charity still got the $10,000). The odd incident is further notable for the trilons "dancing" (and even spinning!) around following Shatner's performance, which predated the use of that practice in $100,000 Tournament wins.
1974: William Shatner is asked to describe various dances to his civilian partner. While he is permitted to use the word "dance" in his descriptions, Bill decides to go another route...
1976: Vicki Lawrence spent the last ten seconds of the category "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" failing to communicate the word "Cuddle" to her partner, a man. She tried actually cuddling and snuggling with him, in a rather... suggestive manner, making the contestant very visibly nervous (in addition to him trying to figure out the word) and making for an awkward — albeit hilarious — moment for all.
Week of February 2, 1976: Clifton Davis and his partner needed two points to win the game in the category was "Warmongers". In the straightest face and voice, Dick read the subject matter — "Describe these Things That Taste Like Lima Beans." Clifton's face registered a "What?!", after which Dick burst out laughing. Clark would occasionally give a false subject, with other examples being "Words That Rhyme With Orange" and "Famous Ethiopian War Generals".
September 14, 1977 (billed as "Kirk vs. Spock Week"): During a Winner's Circle for $20,000, Shatner threw his chair in frustration after accidentally giving out an illegal clue on the sixth category. Contrary to very popular belief, Shatner was not banned from the show following this week — he appeared the week of December 26, 1977 with Barbara Feldon, and on two $25,000 episodes in 1978 (one taped before the chair incident, the other in Season 5).
March 16, 1981: With shadows of his future incidents with Vicki Lawrence, Dick tried to calmly and discreetly explain why he didn't like having Tony Randall on the show, and the Sophisticated as Hell Tony flat-out told him off!
Week of November 22-24, 1982 (New): A Winner's Circle category ("Things That Crash") had Vicki Lawrence stumped...until Dick came over and, true to form, gave the perfect clue ("the 1929 stock market") — which, in turn, made her unload a whole rant about how he always comes strolling over to give the perfect clue "and make me feel like an ass".
October 1984: In one Mystery 7, the civilian contestant thinks "A HOME COMPUTER" is her next subject...
October 16, 1985: Dick Clark got his digits flipped on the "brand new 1968 [sic] automobile" that the contestant could win in the Mystery 7 category. The judge even buzzed him for his slip-up. It was an inadvertent repeat of a mistake he made on $100,000, identifying a 1985 car as a 1958. And this came nine days after Dick vowed that he would never make the mistake again.
January 15, 1986: Vicki Lawrence came out wearing...something...and Dick continued to put his foot in his mouth with each word he said to her. Nipsey Russell, the other celebrity that week, waited until Dick got to him — and shoved the other foot in, causing Vicki to get up and storm out.
...So Dick walked over to the vacated seat and, with a "We don't need her!" attitude, proceeded with the game (reading the categories and mentioning the 7-11). The contestant picked a category, after which Dick, Nipsey, and everybody in the studio pleaded for Vicki to come back. It took over 20 seconds before anybody realized that the chosen category had spun around to reveal the 7-11, which the contestant went on to win.
March 20, 1986: Teresa Ganzel played a mock roundwith herself; unlike Shatner (whose infamous solo Winner's Circle was mentioned), Ganzel's round used a camera trick.
(Henry Polic II is describing Clark Gable) Henry: He was, the ears like this... Contestant: Dumbo? (buzzer; audience loses it as Henry walks offstage) Dick: In the past week, Henry Polic has demeaned Joan Rivers, Bea Arthur...George Peppard... Vicki Lawrence: Barbra Streisand. Dick: Barbra Streisand...and now, he has added the deceased, distinguished actor. Contestant: Who? Dick: Stay in your room, Henry! (beat) Ladies, what would you...(to Henry) Now, don't come back!
August 29, 1986: The trilon wouldn't turn correctly. As Dick was about to describe the category, he goes to the small Pyramid and tries to jam it shut. The result? He hurt one of the operators (What do you mean "OW!"?) and the Pyramid slide was broken. Dick then says, "Look at this! You have broken the Pyramid!", complete with Puppy-Dog Eyes.
December 5, 1986: Dick was playfully pressuring Vicki to pick the category that had the Mystery 7 since the prize up for grabs was a new car. Looking non-plussed, Vicki quipped "You're really being an assholenote it's bleeped on subsequent reruns today, aren't you?" The audience howled with laughter and Dick looked for a place to hide. She then picked the category "Loosen Up" and, after Dick read what the subject matter was ("Things That Are Stiff"), it took a good minute for everything to get back on track.
June 3, 1987: With "To Tell the Truth" a category in the front game, Dick decided to read off a list of all the game shows that Bill Cullen had hosted in his long, long career. This read-off culminated with Dick saying "CAN'T YOU HOLD A JOB, BILL??!!" Bill replied with "Not one of those shows lasted more than 13 weeks." (Also doubles as a Tear Jerker, as this was Bill's final public appearance before he passed away three years later.)
1980s: The 7-11 card is missing from its designated box. Dick got some funny interaction with the stagehand behind the board:
Dick: It's me, hoo-hoo... (high voice) Where is the 7[-11]? (hand sticks out from behind the trilon, hands Dick a paper) Dick: Will you sign this with a note from the teacher, that's where it's supposed to be? Stagehand (sticks out a pen): Would you sign it for me?
Amusingly, the other four categories remaining were "Batter Up", "Our Leader", "Steady Yourself", and "Give Me A Raise".
February 13, 1987: After getting flustered over one word, Vicki Lawrence stomped off the set and they left the camera running. Vicki continued to appear on $25,000, but true to her word ("I'm never coming back here!") did not appear again on $100,000 until 1991.
1980s: In one episode, the team was flustered over the box "Things At A Discotheque". After time was up, Dick suggested "Disc Jockey", which got a buzz. Cue Dick Face Palming and walking off the set.
New $100,000 (1991)
September 10, 1991: Lynn Redgrave was called upon to describe things associated with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Lynn was obviously not very excited at the prospect, but fortunately her partner was a teacher, so she was well-versed. They got all seven, which prompted Lynn to slump over the desk in relief. She remarked about her clue for "Michelangelo", "As I said 'famous painter', I remembered that all those damn turtles are named after famous painters!"
Peter Paige's clue for "Birkenstocks" was "Those really ugly shoes that lesbians wear!" The contestant got the right answer.
Lisa Ann Walter giving the clue for "Jug" by grabbing her breasts, shaking them and saying, "These are...".
After getting buzzed for saying "dirty clothes" for "Things That Are Nasty", Teresa Ganzel contested and asked that they bring out a dictionary. After the break, she looked up "nasty" and listed off the definitions and synonyms, ending with "see 'dirty' as in 'judge'." The judge, of course, jumped right in with a buzzer.
Once, Vicki Lawrence was faced with a tough Winner's Circle category ("Things You Grab") that she got buzzed on for giving an illegal clue ("a child's toy bag" — because "toy bag" was close to saying "grab bag"). After time was up, she offered the judge a few alternate clues, getting buzzed for each one. Finally, she looked off-camera and asked if he felt powerful "with that buzzer under [his] thumb". He responded with a bell.