HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT: Jane Lynch on Hosting a Game Show, Competitive Celebs, and More

July 11, 2013 by  

Summer is the perfect time for fun, enjoyable, fluffy television, and that’s exactly what NBC’s new series, HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT is.

The series, hosted by GLEE’s Jane Lynch, pits two teams — three celebrities and one “civilian” player per team — against each other as they compete in various games created for the competition: trying to describe a TV show in as few words as possible, piecing together a celebrity timeline, identifying a song that has had its words replaced with the word “do,” and many more. And while Lynch doesn’t get to join in on the game-play during the show, she did get to try them out during rehearsals for the show.

“I do love playing the games; I love the games they’ve created,” Lynch told reporters on the set of HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT. “They’re not too intellectually stimulating, they’re all about pop culture…I’m pretty good at them. I’m pretty aggressive and shaming and I’m the person you want on your team, but you do not want to play against.”

For the very-busy Lynch (in addition to GLEE, she also hit Broadway this summer in ANNIE, and did a voice for the first season of the upcoming Fox animated series, MURDER POLICE), the opportunity to host HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT came as a bit of a surprise to her.

“[Hosting a game show] was not at all on my bucket list,” she noted. “When this came up, I thought that would be fun! I love hosting; I loved doing the Emmys and I’ve hosted some other awards shows and that’s fun: coming in and out and doing a joke here and there, kind of keeping the proceedings moving, I like that. So this kind of fit in perfectly…After I do one of these tapings, I’m so tired. I’m not moving around or playing the games, but [I have] like 12 things at once going on in my head [to keep things running smoothly]. It’s a mental exercise. It’s also just a great joy. I love being the host. I love making people feel comfortable and feeding them questions so they can be funny — that’s my favorite thing in the world to do.”

It’s also helpful that Lynch has a lot of familiar faces coming by in the first season.

“[With] the six degrees of separation in show business, I know everyone,” Lynch noted. “And [the bosses] didn’t know that I know them. I know everybody. So it’s really like having a party with people — maybe you’re not best friends with them, but you know who they are. And you get them. It never feels like that awkward [just meeting someone vibe.] Everybody comes to play, which is great.”

As for the celebrities who have appeared on the show (the premiere features Matthew Perry, Martin Short, Alyson Hannigan, Lisa Kudrow, Daniel Dae Kim, and Kristen Bell), Lynch praised their willingness to dive into the games.

“There has not been a clinker in the group…I don’t think they would come if they didn’t know they would have to surrender to the wildness that is GAME NIGHT,” she noted. “Everybody’s been really great. Felicity Huffman was great and really bossy. Jason Sudeikis is fast…Jamie-Lynn Sigler was here, and I was like, ‘She was on THE SOPRANOS, does she like to have fun?’ She was hilarious. Aubrey Plaza…she killed [her episode]. She gave the clues for Celebrity and it was amazing.”

Under normal circumstances, that could be potentially daunting to their non-celebrity counterparts, but Lynch noted they held their own in the insanity: “They all rise to the occasion and they’re all shiny, bright people as it is. They’re not easily intimidated. They’re all in their own body…these are all present people and they’re a lot of fun.”

And, of course, there is a bit of drinking going on, too. (What? It’s a game night.)

“I encourage the drinking,” Lynch laughed. “I don’t think people should be drunk, but the thing I love about game nights that I wanted to replicate — and I know [executive producer] Sean [Hayes] did, too — was the fun we have at his house where everyone’s having a drink, everybody has had a little something to eat, you get a little crazy. It’s always a mix of people, too. He would have celebrities and his friends who are [not] and it’s the great equalizer, game night. Isn’t it? Everyone is equal.”

HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT premieres tonight at 10 PM on NBC.

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