Win Ben Stein's Money
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1997: "Hello. I'm Ben Stein. And today, I'm going to make history. I'm going to put up $5,000 of my money. So if you're smart enough, fast enough, and if you've got the guts, you can WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY!!!"
1998-2001: "Hello. I'm Ben Stein. And today, I'm going to make history. I'm putting up $5,000 that says I know more than you. So if you're smart enough, fast enough, and if you've got the guts, you can WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY!!!"
2001-2003: "Hello. I'm Ben Stein. My brain is a miraculous instrument. It contains the information I use to protect my money--$5,000. I'll put it up, but I won't give it up without a fight. But if you're smart enough, quick enough, and lucky enough, you can WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY!!!"
At the top of each show, Stein would quote the lyrics from a popular song in his usual deadpan delivery, reminiscent of his role as the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. At the end of each show he would incorporate into the quote that he was putting $5,000 of his own money on the line against the three contestants of the day.
Ben: Now, why have I done this? Call me crazy.
Audience (sometimes with great enthusiasm): YOU'RE CRAZY-Y-Y!!
Ben: But also call me fairly certain that these three (contestants) don't have a snowball's chance of beating me...
Ben: And now, let's turn to the (object/person) to my (related object/person), Jimmy Kimmel to find out who our three contestants are.
Ben: Contestants, good luck. You're gonna need it. Everyone, please turn your attention to our game board, as Jimmy/Nancy/Sal tells us our first five topics.
Ben: In the first round, questions are worth anywhere from $50 to $150 of my money. Any time you manage to answer the question correctly, you win money, and I lose it.
One of the many highlights of the show were the hilarious names given to topics in the game itself. For all their levity, the questions were, conversely, legitimate trivia.
- "The Man Who Knew Too Much" And Other Pet Names Used By Ben's Wife
- The Obese Traveler Had To Book His Rooms In Extra Lodge
- 'Can't We All Just Get A Lung"
- Clark Felt Like Superman When He Got Her In The Lois Position
- I Prefer Avis To Oscar De La Rent-a-Car
- My Foot Fetish Led To A Podia-Tryst
- It Feels Right When You Polish My Wood
- Farmer Bob Went Straight To Jail After Being Caught On The Lamb
- Back In The Days When Germans Only Shot Pictures
- Big Tips Not Found At A Bris
- Put That Snake Back in Your Basket, We Are Not Going To Fakir
- The Toilets in Las Vegas Are Big Enough For Craps
- Win Ben Stein's Monkey
- Pour Some Syrup On My Luftwaffes
- Place Your Lips On Your Sackbut And Blow
- Another Four Letter Word You Can't Say In Church
- Keep Your Hands Off My Balzac
- German Marches Not Involving Nazi Bastards
- Daylight Come And Rwanda Go Home
- The Politically Active College Students Were In Favor Of Mid-Term Limits
- Things Found Inside A High School Nerd's Locker Besides A High School Nerd
- Life Forms That Eat Themselves Up Inside Besides Ben On April 15th
Ben: Stay tuned. I dare you!
Ben: Stay tuned. You might learn something!
Ben: Stay tuned. You don't want to miss it!
Round 2 Disclaimer
Jimmy: It's time to find out how smart Ben really is as we play more of "Win Ben Stein's Money!"
Ben: Welcome back. As this round begins, (Contestant #1) has (Contestant #1's score) of my money, (Contestant #2) has (Contestant #2's score) of my money, and I have a mere (remaining total) remaining of my original $5,000 stake, which I will now defend by becoming a common contestant! (stands at the 3rd player's podium, which now has his name on the plate and dollar sign on the scoreboard)
Jimmy: From this point forward, Ben has no advance knowledge of any of the questions to be asked. Isn't that right, Ben?
Ben: Sadly, yes. And I'm also sad to say that the dollar amounts have obscenely risen to $200 to $500 of my money, that's if you (the two remaining contestants) get them right. If I get them right, my total remains the same, but thankfully none of my money is taken away.
Jimmy: And whoever has the highest score at the end of this round, whether it be (Contestant #1) or (Contestant #2), gets to play against Ben one-on-one for $5,000.
Best of 10 Test of Knowledge
Jimmy: Now we'll see if (champion) can win $5,000 of Ben Stein's Money!
Ben: Thank you, Jimmy. (champion), congratulations. Now it's down to just you and me. So far, you've taken (score) away from me, and that is yours to keep no matter what happens. And now you have a chance, albeit a small one/I'd say a pretty darn good one, to walk out of here with all $5,000 of my cash, which Jimmy is now wheeling towards us in this safe. All you have to do is beat me in what we call the Best of 10 Test of Knowledge. Could you explain it to our champion please, Jimmy?
Jimmy: Yes, Ben. (champion), I'm going to ask you and Ben the same 10 questions. If you can answer more of them than the mighty Mr. Stein, you'll win all $5,000 of his money.
Ben: As always, I swear on (unusual object) that I have no knowledge of the questions that will be asked.
Jimmy (to contestant before beginning the final round): As host, I'm supposed to remain neutral, but since Ben can't hear me, swat him like a three-legged fly!
Ben:..so I challenge all of you to write, call or email to Futility.com in the hope, infinitesimal as it might be, that on some distant planet, on some distant day, you might (with heavy echo) WIN... BEN... STEIN'S... MONEY!!