This post is from Andrew Hain, a 21-year-old adult with autism. This post is part of an initiative on our site called “In Our Own Words: Living on the Spectrum,” which highlights the experiences of individuals with autism from their perspectives. Have a story you want to share for the series? Email us at InOurOwnWords@Autismspeaks.org
My name is Andrew. I live in Glendale, California and currently attend Glendale Community College where I will be a senior this coming fall. I am studying broadcasting and I am hoping to be a game show host because I have enjoyed watching game shows ever since I was very young. Some of my favorite game shows include “The Price Is Right”, “Wheel of Fortune”, and “Jeopardy!”, all of which I have also been to tapings of. I enjoy meeting celebrities and I have met a lot in the past. Some of the biggest celebrities I’ve met include Donald Trump, Ozzy Osbourne, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Gwen Stefani, and Jason Alexander.
I mentioned game shows because I recently got a chance to go to a taping of one. On May 23, my parents and I went to a taping of the Game Show Network show “The Chase”, based on the British show of the same name, at Hollywood Center Studios. This all started because a friend of ours who knows I like game shows told me that he knows the executive producer, Bob Boden. My parents said if I wanted to go then I needed to figure out how to make the arrangements. I did all the work by emailing the production staff to get all the details about the taping. I started emailing them about three weeks before the taping and didn’t get the final word until two days before the taping. Even though the taping was confirmed, being able to meet the hosts was not guaranteed, and that’s what I was really hoping for.
I was very anxious when we first got there because I desperately wanted to meet the stars of the show, host Brooke Burns and co-host Mark Labbett (a.k.a. “The Beast”). I usually get anxious when I see celebrities and want to meet them. The whole time we were there, I kept telling several of the staffers that I hoped to meet the stars, even though they had no influence on the outcome. My parents kept telling me the whole time to just calm down and wait to see what would ultimately happen. Before the taping started, I got to meet Bob and he told me that he would find the opportunity to get me to meet the stars, when the taping was all finished. At that point, it still wasn’t a guarantee but at least it looked more promising.
After the show when everyone left the sound stage, we stayed around and waited. One of the production staff asked if we were friends or family of the talent. My mom said no, but told the guy that we were at the taping because of Bob. Then I told him I really wanted to meet Brooke and Mark. He laughed and said, “Well, if you’re here because of Bob then let’s see what we can do.”
Bob came over to us and asked all our names, so I figured that was because he would tell Brooke and Mark and introduce us. We had to wait a few minutes while they were filming some promos for the network, but when they finished, Bob brought us over and introduced us to them. That was the moment I had been waiting for!
I talked to Brooke briefly and got a picture with her, then she started talking to my parents while I talked to Mark about how I love both the UK and US versions of “The Chase”. We also talked about how one of his fellow “Chasers” on the British version, Anne Hegerty (a.k.a. “The Governess”), has autism like me. He was amazed at how much I know about game shows and many details. Then, my dad took a picture of the two of us.
They were very nice to me. Brooke is such a sweetheart and Mark is quite a gentleman, especially since he pretends to be very mean on the show. Probably the best way to describe him is a big teddy bear. I like how he shows good sportsmanship towards the contestants. And also, Mark introduced me to his fiancée, Katie. Then I got a picture with both Brooke and Mark together.
I would have loved to stay and talk with them longer but I understood that they had to go to the wrap party for the end of the season, and I had taken up enough of their time. I follow all of them on Twitter so after we left, I tweeted Brooke, Mark, and Katie about how much fun I had meeting them. Brooke and Katie replied saying likewise, and Mark favorited and retweeted it.
I had such a great time at the taping and meeting Brooke and Mark. In the end, all of my efforts paid off.