Dean participates on radio game show

College hosts SaysYou! radio game show

August 1, 2019
Ariel Wish '20
Jonathan D'Amore

Jonathan D’Amore

A supportive and entertained live audience containing members from both inside and outside the Saint Michael’s community filled the Elley-Long Music Center on North Campus on Friday, July 26, to watch Associate Dean Jonathan D’Amore as a contestant on the popular public radio game show, Says You!.

“I feel pretty good about it!” D’Amore said of his experience on the show. Enjoyed by literarily-minded public radio listeners like D’Amore for the last 23 years, the show consists of a total of five rounds: two “bluffing rounds,” during which contestants are given an obscure word and have to choose the correct definition out of group of three, two of them being falsely crafted by their competitors, and three additional rounds consisting of vocabulary and trivia.

Though a longtime Says You! listener, D’Amore said he became increasingly attentive when, after agreeing to be a contestant himself, he started digging up and listening to archived recordings to get a better sense of what his participation might look and sound like. But while all his pre-game listening and strategizing helped D’Amore feel confident going in, he said the actual energy of the room was nothing for which he could have prepared: “You get up there in front of the audience and your brain just turns off and you forget what you’re supposed to do,” he said.

Luckily for D’Amore, his wits didn’t betray him for long. He quickly realized that the key was to focus less on trying to fully understand the questions, and more on the pleasure of the game. More relaxed by the second round, he was able to make the audience laugh, answer questions correctly, and even had one of his false definitions chosen as the correct one by his competitors.

Pleasure, wit, and wordplay is certainly at the heart of the game: “It’s almost like the quiz show is an excuse to have a comedy show,” D’Amore said. Panelists are constantly playing with the questions and answers, humorously referring to previous parts of the game, and trying to make both each other and their audience laugh. D’Amore said the woman sitting next to him—a “regular panelist” whom he had listened to many times prior to coming on the show—was nothing less than a pun machine. “I could feel her next to me just generating puns,” he said.

In the midst of such humorous exchanges, competition gets placed on the backburner. “You’re playing to win, but you’re not really playing to win,” D’Amore said, explaining that given the “loose scoring system” in which the host decides how many points each player receives out of a total of 10 per question, playing the game is truly about having fun and engaging language.

While D’Amore enjoyed his time on air and is thankful to have had the opportunity, he doesn’t foresee any more game shows in his future, and deems it “one happy occurrence in a lifetime.” With so many Saint Michael’s friends and family in the audience, D’Amore was proud to represent the College community, he said.

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