Alec Baldwin tells us about 'Match Game's' biggest drinkers and giving up his 'SNL' Trump role

Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

For the fourth straight year, actor Alec Baldwin will be wah-wah pedaling back onto ABC for another season of "Match Game" starting Sunday. Baldwin wields the skinny microphone made famous by the Goodson-Todman Productions show's founding host Gene Rayburn in the 1970s, while the celebrity guest panelists have upheld the original's boozy, bawdy atmosphere. We asked Baldwin, 61, why an Academy Award-nominated star wants to give away prize money -- and give up being President Trump on "Saturday Night Live."

Full disclosure -- I was in a cab in downtown Manhattan when I saw you on the street and called out to you how much I like "Match Game."

I remember that and I was glad I had security with me that day.

It's fun. The first time I did it, I thought, "What the hell am I doing?" Because I so often was looking for jobs like the Capital One commercials and Amazon Echo commercials and things to fund my charity (Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation). ... I did it the first year and I had so much fun that I kept coming back. It's something I look forward to every year.

Do people often ask why an accomplished actor like yourself is hosting a classic game show?

All my life -- perhaps to a fault -- I didn't care how something looked. I'm always looking for jobs where I can stay home. I'm remarried, and I've got four little children. People would come to me with very worthy projects and say, "Are you going to go to New Mexico for five months or Vancouver for six months to do an eight-part miniseries?" A lot of opportunities that I would have lunged at years ago. Everything I do now, I try as best as possible to stay home, and this has been a tremendous opportunity in that regard.


Were you a game-show fan growing up?

When I was a kid there was a period in my life when I was 10 or 12 when I didn't feel like going to school. I told my mother I didn't feel well, and she literally didn't make me go to school. She said, "OK, stay home." Maybe she was just lonely, I don't know. And I would lay on the couch and I would watch every ridiculous TV show.

I became a connoisseur of "The Galloping Gourmet." I could always tell when Graham Kerr drank too much. I'd watch talk shows -- Virginia Graham and Dinah Shore. These are shows that date me. I'd watch game shows. "What's My Line?" "To Tell the Truth," "Match Game," and "Password" with Allen Ludden. I devoured them because they were funny. They were very witty.

They were edgy too for that era.


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