Follow TV Tropes


Funny / Sale of the Century

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    All Versions 
  • Some of the Instant Bargain/Gift Shop skits are bound to fall under this category.

    Jim Perry (1983-89) 
  • 1983/4: Announcer Jay Stewart (who also modeled on occasion) once wore fruit and what appeared to be whipped cream on an immense hat. Jim, walking over, dipped his finger into the cream and took a lick... but discovered that it was actually shaving cream.
  • 1984: On one episode, Jim was getting ready to introduce the contestants when the lights went out on the set. Without missing a beat, he said "And now we'll introduce (lights go out) the guy who will pay the bill for the lights, and then we'll get the hell out of here." note 
  • 1984: This exchange...
    Jim: In the children's nursery rhyme, "The Farmer in the Dell", what stands alone? (Bill buzzes in) Bill.
    Bill: His wife. (buzzer)
    Jim: Only if the cheese was very, very old.
  • January 25, 1985 (syndicated): John dials the wrong number:
    Jim: According to the song, when there's something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? (John buzzes in) John?
    John: Mister...Rogers. (audience loses it, buzzer)
    Jim: Can you see...? Can you see Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood?
    • This is made all the more funny if you've seen The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, where Mr. Rogers was the only survivor.
  • February 6, 1985 (syndicated): From John Goss' Lot win, one of the challengers jumps in early on this question...
    Jim: On the banks of which famous river stand... (Chip buzzes in) Chip?
    Chip: The Hudson? (buzzer)
    Jim: Vienna, Budapest, and Belgrade are all on the, they're on the Danube. You lose $5. John didn't mind that at all.
  • February 27, 1985 (syndicated): This Instant Bargain from Helaine Lowry's final night. Helaine is obviously going for everything, while Karin is trying to become champion herself.
  • March 20, 1985 (syndicated): From Michael Friedman's first day. First, Summer has a tip of the slongue while describing the Instant Bargain, then one of the models is enjoying the massage table a little too much...
  • April 2, 1985 (syndicated): An Instant Bargain offered to Alice Conkwright was a trip to Hawaii (normally priced at $2,176, but available for $17), which got three great moments:
    • The five models, who held cards meant to spell out "H-A-W-A-II", were in fact spelling out MAAH=.
    • Despite having a $45 lead, and never having been to Hawaii before, Alice refused as Jim laid down cash on her podium — $100, then $300. Following a "Going once...going twice...", he stopped himself and laid down another $200 for a total of $500. Her last refusal drove him to tears as he threw to a commercial break.
    • When the show returned from commercial, this happened...
    Jim (having regained his composure, counting off $100 bills): If I had offered her $19,200...$19,300...(Alice does the "buzz-in" gesture)...oh, NOW?! You know, Alice, everybody in the audience said they would have that trip except you?! Back with this (the game)! You're a cruel lady, Alice Conkwright!
  • April 3, 1985 (syndicated): On Alice's third episode, there were three noteworthy moments (besides one of her opponents being former Tic-Tac-Dough champion Pieter DeVries, whom the show misspelled as "Peter")...
    • First, in the second Instant Bargain, which was a ladies' ring (normal price—$1,350, $ale price—$12) that Summer personally brought to Alice's podium. Alice tried the ring on, which caused Jim to tease that if she wore it, she bought it. Despite Jim offering $500 cash in addition to the ring, Alice turned them both down.
    • In the immediate question afterward...
    Jim: In the 17th century, what European nation was ruled by a rebel leader...(Alice buzzes in)...Alice?
    Alice: Uh...(buzzer)...Queen Victoria.
    Jim: A rebel leader named Oliver Cromwell (who) wore a big ring with $500...England.
    • Then, in the third and final Instant Bargain (an electronic organ normally prized at $1,995, on $ale for $16), Jim literally got on his knees in front of Alice's podium and offered her $800 cash in addition to the organ. After Alice's refusal, Jim facefaulted before throwing a little tantrum while throwing to commercial.
  • April 8, 1985 (syndicated): On Alice's last episode (begins about 12 minutes in), her last Instant Bargain was a $1,590 Mexican cruise for $15. Before even giving her a chance to say no, Jim frantically dug out all the cash in his pockets — a staggering $2,000 — and put it in crumples on Alice's podium.
    Jim: Let me ask my Greek Chorus over here... (makes conductor gestures at the audience)
    Audience: TAKE THE BARGAIN!
    • After Alice refused, Jim nonchalantly said, "Of course, she never buys," and started to walk off before realizing he had left the $2,000 on Alice's podium, then ran back yelling, "Gimme my money!"
  • April 9, 1985 (syndicated): From the day after Alice's big win, new champion Elizabeth Ward is in quite a hurry to go shopping.
  • April 16, 1985 (syndicated): At the end of the first Instant Bargain, someone in the control room makes the turntable rotate away prematurely. When the Sale Surprise bell rang, Summer had to hand Jim the envelope from behind the Fame Game board.
  • April 24, 1985 (syndicated): In the episode's third instant bargain, champion Frank is offered a game table (a combined dining table, bumper pool table, and poker table) normally valued at $1,500 for $14. Frank asks how many chairs come with the table, and Jim says (via the producer) that it doesn't come with any, leading to Frank outright saying "No sale".
    Jim: And you know what, Frank? I don't blame you a darn bit! We'll be right back!
  • April 25, 1985 (syndicated): A similar moment to the MAAH= blooper happened when, during the last Instant Bargain, Summer and the four models were holding up cards, trying to spell out "A-R-U-B-A", but one of the models flipped over the wrong side, causing it to read '''ARUUA''' before correcting herself.
    Jim: A trip to Aruba, or as Karen would say..."ARURU".
  • May 6, 1985 (syndicated): Joel answers Spock over a M*A*S*H question.
  • May 20, 1985 (syndicated): The show tries to give some pizzazz while presenting a rather ugly-looking fish-shaped soup tureen by surrounding it with flashy models and playing the "big win" music.note 
  • May 24, 1985 (syndicated): From Tim Holleran's first episode, this question about Wales leads into total hilarity.
  • August 20, 1985 (daytime): During a college week episode, the first Instant Bargain had an electric typewriter worth $500 selling for $5. Kirsten and Michael have a chance to buy it. Jim says "I'll help you a little bit further, I'll help you with the paper. $500 worth of typewriter..." As soon as Michael hears the $500, he buzzes in thinking Jim was throwing in $500 cash. Jim explained he was saying the value of the typewriter but decides to throw in the $500 anyway. On the second Instant Bargain, Jim grabs a cue card to explain to Michael that a $715 exercise bench can be bought for $10.
  • September 23, 1985 (syndicated): A Star Wars-themed Instant Bargain goes horribly wrong.
  • October 4, 1985 (syndicated): A somewhat risque Instant Bargain involving a burlesque dancer and a washer & dryer.
  • November 8, 1985 (syndicated): This Instant Bargain involving a stereo and "breakdancers". Summer just cannot get through this IB without cracking up.
  • November 14, 1985 (syndicated): From the penultimate Shopping episode, It's BAAAAACK!! Yes, they slipped in the aforementioned fishy soup tureen with a fishing trip to Catalina. And the champion bought it.
  • November 28, 1985 (syndicated): An Instant Bargain featuring a less-than-cooperative home robot.
  • December 13, 1985 (syndicated): Two from the same episode. First, the show tries to spruce up some luggage. Then, in the third instant bargain, one of the challengers tries out an unorthodox way to win.
  • January 9, 1986 (syndicated): Somebody on the staff forgot to put the money in Jim's suit pockets before the show...
  • January 15, 1986 (syndicated): The third Instant Bargain of the day is a trip to Palm Springs by limousine(valued at $1,600, on Sale for $15), which wouldn't be too bad...but three guesses where champion Curtis Warren happened to live? Jim Perry would then substitute Palm Springs for a trip to San Francisco, which Curtis then bought. This would also be repeated exactly two weeks later, where champion David Hefner was offered a trip to Palm Springs (which was also bought) instead of Reno (where he lived 15 minutes from). It also happened on the daytime Sale, but there was no substitute offered in that instance.
  • January 17, 1986 (syndicated): Listen to some of the answers from this Speed Round.
  • January 1986: This Fame Game where things go Off the Rails.
  • 1987: This bit from International Invitational Tournament Finals...
    Jim: What do you call the Japanese poem of 17...(Tim Holleran buzzes in) Tim?
    Tim Holleran: Uh...(buzzer)...Miyoshi Umeki! (audience loses it)
    Jim: ...17 syllables that almost always refer to the season of the year? It's either Miyoshi Umeki or haiku.
  • December 23, 1988: On one Instant Bargain, Summer forgot the "Sale Surprise" envelope, so Jim had to ask the producer what the surprise was worth note .
  • January 18, 1989: Jim is left stunned speechless by one contestant's... unusual ability,
  • March 24, 1989: From the final episode... ''In 1955, a longtime rivalry came to an end when the AFL merged with?" "The NFL"note 

    Nicholas Parsons (UK, 1971-83) 
  • 8 January 1972: Parsons harking around prizes to a contestant named Elizabeth. While his ham-like delivery would put it here, it kinda loses its comedic edge when you realize he's basically yelling at a woman who doesn't have enough money to buy anything.note 
    "Would you like to own a mink coat, Elizabeth? WOULD YOU LIKE TO OWN A MINK COAT, ELIZABETH?!"

    Tony Barber (Australia, 1980-91) 
  • 22 October 1982: On Victoria Nicholls' last day as hostess, she gets whacked in the face with two giant powder applicators by a stagehand during a Gift Shop segment.
  • 17 October 1983: Tony has a Freudian Slip.
    "In rhyming slang, which article of clothing does a Cockney call his 'Dirty Dicky'? (realizes his mistake) Let me put that another way—in rhyming slang, what does a Cockney call his 'Dicky Dirt'?"
  • 25 June 1984: In perhaps the show's most famous blooper, Tony Barber is hit on the head by the lowering safe as the Cash Jackpot ($66,000) is introduced.
  • 3 July 1985: During the "Australia vs. USA Challenge" Finals, Alice Conkwright (representing the USA) buzzes in early on this question, leading to Tony cracking up.
    Tony: In the familiar tale from the Arabian Knights... (Alice buzzes in) USA, Alice.
    Alice: Sinbad the Sailor. (buzzer)
    Tony: No. (loses it after looking at the card again) What did Aladdin rub in order to summon the Genie?note 
  • April 1986: Daphne Fowler (then Daphne Hudson) buzzing in at inopportune moments (such as after a question had already been answered) multiple times throughout the Ashes.
  • 15 April 1986: Tony loses it again in another international tournament, this one being the UK/Australia "Ashes", when British player Alan Dargan asks for the poofternote  Boy George in the Fame Game. Even Pete Smith chuckles a bit during the prize description. (Just so you know, the offensive word was bleeped in broadcast.)
  • 14 November 1986: Tony, wearing a golf cap, offers to lower the price to $5 on a set of golf clubs in the Gift Shop if he could hit a golf ball through the giant Shopping door. He does, so why is it here? Because it sounds like he breaks something when he makes the shot.
  • 2 March 1987: Tony and two male models pretend to be the Three Amigos in a Gift Shop segment.
    Tony: Whenever there is injustice...
    Model #1: ...whenever there is misery...
    Model #2: ...whenever there is hatefulness...
    Tony: There you will find us, for we are the Three...Amigos!
  • 1988: Tony gets his Famous Faces mixed up.note 

    Glenn Ridge (Australia, 1991-2001) 
  • 28 June 1993: Heat 1 of the Comedy Special, with one of the contestants being Jane Kennedy of "The Late Show". This particular episode was the focus of a Late Show sketch where former Sale host Tony Barber assisted two of Jane's Late Show colleagues, Mick Molloy and Jason Stephens, in an attempt to help her win via a hidden earpiece. She ultimately lost, and she angrily gave them the board game she got for participating. Here's the complete sketch.

    Temptation (Australia, 2005-09) 
  • 21 November 2005: Pretty much the entirety of the finals for the "Celebrity Family Ties" special, but especially the Fast Money round.
  • 27 July 2006: Piers uses the headbutt to open the Temptation Vault (their version of Cash Card). Maybe it helped, as he managed to win $9,889 out of a possible ten grand.
  • 14 March 2007: Tony Barber's return to the podium (along with Ed and Livinia playing behind the buzzer) had a few funny moments, such as...
    • Livinia not-so-sneakily hitting the "What's Good for You" buzzer to get them to buy the first Gift Shop. Dr. Andrew Rochford and Giaan Rooney protested, since they didn't actually buzz-in, but Livinia defended her actions, stating that it was for charity. Tony, after consulting the judge via the Temptation Hotline, allowed the sale, throwing in $500 cash as well.
    • Tony telling the "What's Good For You" team that they could take $15 (as opposed to the usual $5) from the Temptation team after uncovering the Burglar in the Fame Game, to Ed and Livinia's protest, then saying that he only did that to scare them.
    • Livinia using the headbutt to open the Vault.

    Steve Parr (New Zealand, 1989-95) 
  • One of the trademarks of Kiwi Sale host Steve Parr is that he would slide to the podium upon making his entrance. On one occasion, however, he slid right past the podium.


Example of: