At the 'House Hunters' Bingo Party with Michael Ian Black
By Jerry Portwood
Photos courtesy of HGTV/Scripps Network
OK, I admit that I'm VERY picky when it comes to my reality TV watching. It's usually a contest of talent (like Project Runway) or crazy (think, RuPaul's Drag Race). But I do reserve a special place for the HGTV series House Hunters and will binge on a marathon of House Hunters International. It's something about seeing people walk through three options for a potential life-changing living situation that gets my blood boiling. Yes, I've been known to scream at the TV when someone makes a stupid choice because of the wrong paint color or not-quite-right appliances when it's obviously a better place than some mediocre McMansion.
So when I was offered a chance to spend a weekend in New Orleans for a special party for House Hunters Bingo hosted by TV personality Michael Ian Black, I said yes, naturally.
The bingo concept is a cute one. The idea being that so often the subjects on the show repeat the same cliched responses: "Wow!" "This is amazing!" "Look at the view!" that you can make a game of it. Of course, it would really be a perfect drinking game, with points going to some of these tired phrases—and shots of tequila tossed back. (But perhaps the HGTV folks don't want to venture down that path and just giving us the tools to do that very thing on our own.)
I was a little nervous about being at a party with Black since we had just posted a quote from him about how he stated: "I will willingly trade drugs for gay sex." It's a quote from an Esquire interview related to his upcoming book You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations. But, as with most funny people, when you meet them in real life they are much more subdued and don't really seem to be that interested in being funny. But he does love to tweet—especially about House Hunters.
Another confession: Although I was in New Orleans and it was Mardi Gras weekend, I did actually spend several hours glued to the TV in my hotel room watching a Presidents' Day marathon of the show. Townhouses in San Fran, a first-time home in D.C., studios in Singapore. I was hooked, wanting to know what step these people would make to create an ideal living situation. It
Later that evening, when we began to watch the new episodes—beginning with a teasingly tepid choice between RVs for family road trips (which did make me hope there would be a triple-wide manufactured home episode in the future)—I realized I wasn't going to win at bingo but I could still critique the choices people were making for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But Michael Ian Black was the master of it, writing scathing Twitter critiques. Finally, the two of us squeezed into an oversized armchair for a photo together, I said, "This is so gay." And he quipped: "I've done gayer."
Thanks for that, Michael. I'll always cherish our House Hunting memories together.