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.
- Some Winner's Circle clues that got crap past the radar:
- "Because you're horny as hell" as a clue for "Why You Make Love". This one came from the usually-adorable Didi Conn, who gave the clue in her usual sweet/innocent voice.
- "An erection" as a clue for "Things That Are Stiff". The contestant guessed "Things a Man Gets" and "Things That Excite You".
- "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".
- "Your naked buns" for "Things That Burn". The contestant guessed "Things That Jiggle".
- 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.
- Week of December 30, 1974: Tony Randall tells us what you don't do on Pyramid, in an uncensored clip which surfaced in April 2012.
- 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.
- 1977: Tony Roberts has a very difficult time trying to get "Snow White". After the round is over, he remarks:Tony: My daughter is in the audience, I will never live down that I could not remember Sleeping Beauty.Contestant Judy: No, it was Snow White!Tony: (double facepalms) I'm sorry, Nicole!Bill: Tony, there's nothing to worry about— your daughter just left.
- ...and his Humiliation Conga continues after the other contestant, Paul, struggles with "Bambi":Bill: You know Tony Roberts; Why don't you and Tony get together and open a fairy-tale school?
- ...and not 20 seconds later, when Bill misreads "twinkle" as "tinkle"...Bill: You're right, Tony, it was Sleeping Beauty!
- ...and his Humiliation Conga continues after the other contestant, Paul, struggles with "Bambi":
- Week of February 2, 1976: Clifton Davis and his partner needed two points to win the game, and the final 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).
- December 15, 1978:
- David Letterman makes his entrance by wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers jacket.note The audience boos him, and Dick has to make sure the coast is clear before sneaking to his podium.Dick: (gangster voice) You gon' get us killed, man!
- A contestant describes the phrase "fun house" by saying "If you want to have a good time, you go to the..." which makes Letterman crack up.
- David Letterman makes his entrance by wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers jacket.note The audience boos him, and Dick has to make sure the coast is clear before sneaking to his podium.
- June 27, 1980: The ABC Grand Finale ended with the week's celebrities (Bill Cullen and Lois Nettleton) being shown a set of joke Winner's Circle categories the show could've used "if we wanted to save the money" "Used Car Dealers You Can Trust", "Hit Shows on NBC-TV", "Oil Companies in Bankruptcy", "Famous Japanese Rabbis" (Bill offered "Ming Toy Rabinowitz"), "Things [Henry] Kissinger Did Not Foul Up", and "Famous Italian TV Directors" the crowning gag being that their director, Mike Gargiolo, was Italian.
- 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!
- October 12, 1982: A contestant couldn't describe "Brownie" well enough, so she resorted to saying "It has marijuana in it sometimes." When Betty White did get it, she was absolutely pissed ("Not in my house!") and the audience lost it for the rest of the round.Dick: I'll talk to you about your recipes later on.
- October 13, 1982: Charlie Siebert and a contestant play the Winner's Circle for $10,000. He says "Foods with Paprika" for "Spicy Foods", but the judge doesn't buzz it until after he and the contestant start celebrating. The same player goes back to the Winner's Circle, and she wins $25,000 with Betty White giving the clues. She's a bit slow to celebrate the win because she wants to be sure it will stand this time.Contestant: (to Dick Clark) I wanted to hear it from you!
- Late 1982 (New): Announcer Jack Clark apparently didn't realize his microphone was still on after he signed-off, and started whistling along to the catchy theme music.
- November 23, 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 provides the perfect clue.Vicki: We're sitting here sweating bullets, you come strolling in and give the perfect answer and make me feel like an ass.
Dick: See ya 'round!
- December 24, 1982 (New): While giving a clue, this contestant accidentally says "humid" when describing "humidity" and gets the cuckoo. She then doesn't realize that she still has one word left, and when Dick shouts "Next!", she becomes startled and accidentally shouts out the next word ("blimp"), resulting in another cuckoo.
- June 10, 1983: Soupy Sales' clue for "Butt": "Another word for your ass." The audience was in hysterics for the rest of the round.
- June 29, 1983: Deborah Adair & Terry Lester "made out" by the big Pyramid during the intro before being chased off by Mr. Clark.Dick: This is a family show!
Deborah: It sure is!
Dick: I mean we've been on the air for eleven years, that's the first time anything like that's happened! What kind of degenerate people are you?!
Terry: We're family!
Deborah: What's wrong with kissing your stepson?note
- 1984: A contestant is asked to describe things associated with sand, and Dick cautions her that she isn't allowed to say "Sand." Guess what she does for the first word?
- October 1984: In one Mystery 7, the civilian contestant thinks "A HOME COMPUTER" is her next subject...
- June 6, 1985: Roger E. Mosley tries to convey "Joan Collins" by saying "She's on Dynasty, the bitch..." Cue the audience cracking up, especially when the contestant fails to get it.
- 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.Nipsey: Some of these outfits some women are wearing
cause me to wonder and doubt.
Are they outside trying to get in
Or inside trying to get 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 round with herself; unlike Shatner (whose infamous solo Winner's Circle was mentioned), Ganzel's round used a camera trick.
- August 1, 1986: This bit from the 1,000th episode.(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.
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.
- September 2, 1986: After a Winner's Circle round, Dick Clark gave the perfect clue for the unguessed "Things With an Eye", and the contestant guessed "the Peacock?", causing Dick to yell "NO"!, the audience to lose it, and the judge to buzz her.Dick: (sheepishly) Is it safe for me to come out?
Annie: Is it safe for me?
Dick: Oh, they just took away all the money. You have won nothing. Zero!
Dick: ...See ya here tomorrow on CBS!
- September 26, 1986: Markie Post gives the unorthodox clue "Your dead dog" for "Things You Replace". Once the round ends, Dick immediately jumps in with, "What kind of clue is that!?" and calls Markie a "sick person". Markie then tries to explain that she was hoping the contestant would say "Things You Can't Replace" and admits she has a dog. Dick then tells the dog lovers who are watching the show to direct their comments to Markie.
- 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 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".
- May 9, 1986: Mary Cadorette gives a clue for the word "Stab" by punching her partner similar to a stabbing motion. She quickly apologizes and gives a different clue, "With a knife."
- 1986: Vicki Lawrence was faced with a tough Winner's Circle category ("Things You Grab") where she got a delayed buzz for giving an illegal clue ("a child's toy bag" because "toy bag" was synonymous with "grab bag", and it took the judge about six seconds to catch it). After time was up, she looked off camera and said she took offense to getting zapped, resulting in another buzz from the judge. Finally, she asked if he felt powerful "with that buzzer under [his] thumb", and he responded with a bell.
- After the break, Vicki called the judge an asshole (which was muted), causing Dick to crack up and hug Vicki.
- 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.
- April 17, 1987: Dick Cavett gave illegal clues for three subjects in a row then, with a frustrated look on his face, gave a censored clue for "Things You Curb" which left the audience in an uproar and Dick Clark desperately trying to maintain his composure. If you listen closely and read Cavett's lips, you'll figure out what the clue was; that's right, what was perhaps the funniest Winner's Circle clue didn't get "crap" past the radar.
- 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.
- The first few times anybody won the $100,000, the audience was so excited they would rush out and swamp the set, hugging the contestant and celebrity, mugging for the cameras, etc., to the point Dick had to push his way through to find the contestant one time, saying "pandemonium reins supreme" and "Where's my winner?".
- 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!"
- Date Unknown: During one Double Trouble playing, a female contestant is faced with the term "Bosom Buddy". She holds her breasts, says "This is a good pal of mine." and the celebrity player gets it.
- Peter Paige's clue for "Birkenstocks" was "the really ugly sandals 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...".
- (Nothing as of yet, but here just in case.)
- The premiere episode saw Anthony Anderson failing spectacularly at whatever category he was given, mostly while giving clues. When he and his contestant partner were given the choice of who would be the clue-giver for their final category of the night, Anderson turned the monitor towards himself, signifying that he wanted to be the clue-giver — and instantly, his partner took it back from him. Judging from Anderson's (mock) offended expression, he got the message.
- July 31, 2016: The category "Catch Me If You Can" dealt with things people catch, and the contestant tried to describe "Hell" to Barbara Corcoran by beginning the phrase "What the — ?" In a moment reminiscent of Tony Randall, Corcoran, who'd already proven herself a bit of a Cloudcuckoolander that night, offered "What the fuck" as her response (bleeped out, of course). Michael Strahan even gave her a What the Hell, Hero? after the round was over.
- June 18, 2017: The word is "commandments", but poor Bobby Moynihan misreads it as "condiments."Bobby: Um, mustard, relish, salt, pepper!Contestant: Condiments!Bobby: YES!Michael Strahan: Different word.Bobby: (looks at word) OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! Uh, uh, the Bible, the ten...Contestant: Commandments!Bobby: Mmph, I'm an idiot!
- From the episode with Curtis Stone, a category in the Winner's Circle is Types of Fences:Contestant: Picket.Curtis Stone: (thinking she said "pick it") Your nose!
- After getting buzzed for saying "dirty underwear" 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.
- A celebrity misreads the word "communist" and gives the clue "Dear Abby is a..."