Follow TV Tropes


Series / Celebrity Name Game

Go To
"This time, I will be the cluegiver!"

Craig Ferguson, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette walk onto a sound-stage. Hilarity Ensues.

Syndicated Game Show that premiered in September 2014 as another entry into the classic genre of "word association games with civilian/celebrity teams" shows. In the first round, a celebrity guest has 30 seconds to communicate up to 10 names of celebrities, characters, or other entities consisting of people, from a category to one of two pairs of contestants, at $100 a piece. In the second round, the celebrities switch and they double the money. The third round is played on the buzzer with Craig reading off clues towards a subject (a la the "Fame Game" rounds on Sale of the Century); the values start at $100, but increase after every name, and getting an answer wrong automatically gives the money to the other team. The first team to $3,000 wins the game and plays a Bonus Round for $20,000. For cluegivers, the traditional "don't say the word or parts of the word" rule applies, but rhyming is not allowed either.

Serving as the first game show produced by Courteney and David's joint production company (better known for the ABC and TBS sitcom Cougar Town), it was originally pitched for CBS as a primetime series (which is how Craig Ferguson got involved). They decided to go down the syndicated route instead, with its distributors (Fremantle and Debnar-Mercury) promoting it to stations as a complement to Steve Harvey's Family Feud.

Season 2 made some changes to the formula; the first round uses letter categories only, and the final round occasionally features different types of puzzles (such as guessing a celebrity based on a Twitter post, or guessing the two celebrities in a fused image). In December 2016, it was revealed that the show would be cancelled after its third season. As of Feb. 9, 2018, Buzzr airs an hour of this show every Friday. Network Ten picked up an Australian version in 2019.

Not to be confused with the bonus round of Hollywood Game Night, which, ironically, plays almost just like this show.

This series provides examples of

  • Bonus Round: Describe 10 names to the celebrity guests to augment the front game score to $20,000. One member of the team gets 45 seconds, while the other person is put in the Sound Proof Booth. The other person then gets 30 more seconds to try and get the rest. In the earliest taped episodes, some of the subjects on the board display photos instead of names.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Get ready, get set, off you go..." (with the last of them changed to "Get going" in season 2).
    • For Round 3: "In this round, I will be the clue giver!"
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: Invoked by the cluegiver in a game show-themed category, saying "This is what Monty Hall would say" as a clue for "Come on down" (the contestant still managed to guess correctly, somehow), and then saying that Deal or No Deal involves looking behind curtains.
  • Creator Cameo: In one of the first two aired episodes, and several others, Courtney and David are the celebrity guests.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Craig was quite adept at ad-libbing.
  • Game Show Host: Craig Ferguson. He won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host for his efforts.
  • Golden Snitch: With the dollar values of clues in Round 3 going up after every name, it can be this. However, it is possible (though very unlikely) to get to $3,000 after Round 2; a team must be a perfect 10 for 10 in both rounds to do so.
  • Mercy Mode/My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In the first two rounds, rhyming clues are not allowed. However, Craig's Fame Game-esque ramblings in Round 3 (which start obscure and slowly become more revealing) can often end with blatantly easy rhyming clues such as "Oh, and her name rhymes with Sweaty Might" or more recently, outright giving out the answer.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: The bonus round ends immediately if the second person breaks the "don't say parts of the name" rule, as it becomes impossible to win.
  • Rules Spiel: ...which often contains ridiculous rules such as "no passing head lice"
  • Idiot Ball: Given that this is a word-association game, it's hardly surprising that there are plenty of examples of this:
    • On two occasions, the contestant guessing has absolutely gone blank when the answer was the name of someone on stage with them. In the first case, it was host Craig Ferguson, and later on, celebrity guest Dave Foley (who all but hinted that he qualified under the category being played).
    • Once, in an attempt to convey "Kim Kardashian", the cluegiver said "She owned a lot of hotels," thinking of Paris Hilton. Neither Kardashian nor Hilton have anything to do with hotels.
    • Craig stated that this character was white and lived under the sea, and did not live in a pineapple. A contestant guessed "SpongeBob SquarePants" anyway (it was Moby-Dick).
    • The category was things that have appeared on the front page of Time, and the cluegiver said it was a band with a very short name. The contestant's guess? "Stone Temple Pilots" (it was actually The Who)
    • Trying to get Denzel Washington, "His last name is our nation's capital." "Sacramento?"
    • The category involved famous Toms and the word was "Tommy Pickles", so the cluegiver said something to the effect of "it's what pregnant women like to eat" (alluding to a superstition that pregnant women have cravings for pickles and ice cream). The contestant guessed "green onions".
    • The word was "Lance Bass"; the cluegiver managed to get her partner to figure out the last name, but when she used "Neil Armstrong" as a clue (trying to get her to relate to Lance Armstrong), she guessed "Neil Bass".
    • The contestants right after the above two didn't fare well either; firstly, a guesser accidentally said "Al Capone" when trying to guess Al Pacino. When Al Capone actually game up a few words later, the cluegiver passed.
    • A cluegiver somehow confused Lisa Simpson with Jessica Simpson.
    • One cluegiver confused Rip Van Winkle for a villain in a slasher movie, then later said that the giant reptile monster was King Kong. In the same game, Craig once gave the clue "Her name rhymes with Fleidi Heiss"note and both contestants just gave him a blank stare.
    • January 3, 2016: Guillermo the security guard from Jimmy Kimmel Live! is guessing; when the cluegiver points at her buttocks as a clue towards Beavis And Butthead, he guesses Dynasty.
  • Running Gag: Sometimes Craig's "In this round, I will be the cluegiver!" boast going into Round 3 is accompanied by a gag, such as the set going dark with lightning effects, flashing red lights, and Craig cackling Satanically; or Craig doing a random dance interlude to a generic game show-sounding motif.
    • In one episode, after Craig says, "I will be the clue giver!" in a gentle voice, a heavenly light shines on him with an Hallelujah chorus playing. Here, he lampshades his clue giver gag by saying, "You can't go Satanic every time. You gotta mix it up a little!"
    • Any time a contestant inadvertently answers in the form of a question, Craig gets hilariously irked:
    • Craig sometimes asks female contestants if they are models. One time, they actually were.
  • Show the Folks at Home: Beginning in season 2, the answers in Round 3 are now shown as blanks slowly filling in (think Who's Still Standing?).
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Bill Engvall's mind goes completely blank when "Snapchat" comes up as a word.