One of the items that was very high up on our to-do list in Taipei was to attend the recording for one of the Taiwanese variety shows.
The thing about the average Taiwanese game show is that they are not as “out there” as their Thai or Japanese counterparts. Instead they rely on the wit of the host to carry them.
Using a combination method of dogged email hounding and blatant lying (that we were HUGE fans of the show), we were fortunate enough to secure seats for the recording of “You Guess” (你猜你猜你猜猜猜) which is hosted by the supposed King of Taiwanese game shows Jacky Wu (吴宗宪).
That’s actually the extent of our knowledge for the night’s entertainment. Having not watched the show for the last five years or so, I had no idea who his co-host was or who any of the “special guests” were.
That’s why my “miffed”ness quotient was raised the moment we entered the studio and we were told that we had to sit on… the rather shoddy and dirty looking floor of the studio.
This miffed-ness was increased when we saw the guest list on the producer’s board. The “guest stars” included people named (I cannot make this shit up) Sister Pudding (布丁姐姐) and Ding Dang (丁当) (which incidentally sounds like the Chinese name of Doraemon)
I was pretty much prepared to cringe and choke-to-death on “acts of cuteness” at this point in time.
However, it turned out that Ding Dang was a Celebrity. I can tell because she was the only one with fans in the studio. Fans who were carrying posters. Posters that were handed out by her marketing executive.
That aside, Ding Dang is actually a pretty darn good singer.
Through the four hours of recording, we were treated to performances after performances, as well as some behind the scenes look at how a variety show is put together.
There was even a segment that we could participate in by voting for participants of a “talent show”.
Of course, the real stars of the show were definitely Jacky and Whatshername.
They did an outstanding job cracking wise and ad-libbing through the entire show. The amazing part was that they managed to do all this improvisation in only one take.
The only retakes during the entire night of filming were by two of the performers who fumbled during their segments.
The two hosts took the down time in stride and continued to entertain the audiences off camera. They sang, they joked, they laughed, totally brushing aside the fact that this was their second four-hour recording for the day.
Song segments like these were abundant on and off camera, and almost always at the whims of Jacky. That’s why we were deeply impressed by musical depth of the one-man-band who single-handedly supplied the soundtrack for the entire show.
So, if you can understand a smidgen of Mandarin, I HIGHLY recommend spending a night going for one of these recordings.
It’s highly entertaining and makes for a great night out… also, you could end up like me, falling in love with a girl you don’t even know the name of.
Information for “You Guess” can be found on their Facebook page here.
I personally prefer the time honored method of hounding them via email in broken Mandarin until they crack. The very friendly production assistant can be reached at email@example.com