Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My award-winning friends

Yesterday I wrote about a friend whose fine work as a producer won him a trophy last weekend at a big black-tie New York City awards ceremony.

It turns out that not one but two FOBB&Bs share this distinction. On Friday evening at Lincoln Center, my college buddy Tom Cohen earned a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show... presented by Oscar the Grouch, no less.

Tom distinguished himself around our campus as a hilarious sketch, improv and standup comedian when not toiling away as my fellow English lit major. Since college he's worked steadily as a writer and producer for a wide range of television shows. (Despite his many accomplishments Tom is a modest, great guy and it was not he but a mutual friend who brought his Emmy win to my attention.)

Tom is an executive producer of "Cash Cab," a highly entertaining Discovery Channel quiz show that takes place in an actual New York taxi crammed full of cameras. Contestants hail a cab, then find to their amazement that they're in a rolling trivia contest that will also take them wherever they want to go. The cabbie, standup comedian Ben Bailey, doubles as the emcee.

The game is a race between each contestant's store of general knowledge and New York City traffic conditions. Players win cash for every correct response to gradually tougher questions, but three wrong answers and they're out on the street with no prize money and a platonic "walk of shame" the rest of the way to their destination. If they can keep it going until the Cash Cab completes the trip, though, they'll disembark with a month's rent and a memorable story to tell.

It's a fun show, the best TV on four wheels. Apparently Emmy voters like it too, as "Cash Cab" beat out such television standards as "Jeopardy!" and "The Price Is Right." Congratulations, Tom.

Boy, my friends are doing well lately, winning these cool awards for the entertaining popular culture they're producing.

I wonder what good old Steve Spielberg is up to these days.

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