Game shows are known for being silly, off-the-wall and at times downright dangerous. Some of the most insane stunts of all time can be found in these shows – and many of them have gained international cult status.
In celebration of Comedy Central’s reboot of the wacky Japanese game show Takeshi’s Castle, we’ve rounded up eight of the weirdest yet funniest game shows we could find.
Candy or Not Candy?
This show really is as simple as it sounds. As a contestant you are offered candy or something entirely inedible. Using a cooking art form known as 'sokkuri' (translated to 'looks like') contestants will be presented with everyday objects and offered them as food.
For example, if they are presented with a shoe that turns out to be made of chocolate they win that round, but if it turns out to be leather that they stuffed in their gob, they lose.
This show has two formats: one in a studio with presenters feeding the contestants, and another where contestants are put in an apartment where they must try and eat each item until they find the candy masked as a household item. Weird, gross and utterly hilarious, we challenge you not laugh out loud when you watch this.
Takeshi’s Castle aired in Japan from 1986-1990 and spawned several international inspired adaptations including America’s Wipe Out and the UK’s Total Wipeout.
In the show, actor Takeshi Kitano played a Count guarding his castle through various extravagantly difficult challenges. Whoever is able to reach the Count the quickest is crowned the winner. The challenges are about as wacky as you can imagine and include everything from swinging across a swamp on a giant toadstool, to getting through a maze filled with clowns who will physically throw you out to having footballs thrown at you while you try to cross a barrier-less wobbly bridge.
Funny, bizarre and a little scary, Takeshi’s Castle is now returning to the UK on Comedy Central, and will be narrated by none other than comedy legend Jonathan Ross himself.
Ejector Seat with Andi Peters
On ITV's Ejector Seat with Andi Peters, six contestants competed for a chance to win £10,000. They sit in comfy looking armchairs on a racetrack and move closer to the danger zone every time they get a question wrong. Once there, they face an elimination question, and if they are eliminated, get tipped backwards out of a chair and into a jet of smoky dry ice. It might have been slapstick, fun and highly watchable, but the show, aired in 2014, never got a second series.
This has to be one of the most terrifying yet still ridiculously funny Japanese game shows we came across. Like the worst Bush Tucker challenge, in Lizard Attack! contestants must pop their head up through a glass hole into a giant lizard’s enclosure. To make it more interesting, they also have a massive piece of meat attached to their head. Whoever can keep their head up the longest wins.
Naturally, the lizards are attracted to the meat and will typically charge at the contestant. While we certainly hope these aren’t Komodo dragons or poisonous lizards, given the size of the meat we can only presume these reptiles have seriously strong teeth. Unsurprisingly, the average contestant freaks out as soon as they spot the lizard, and lasting more than a few seconds in the cage is uncommon.
Find the Chair
Perhaps the most basic game show of all time, this Japanese show sees a contestant blindfolded in an empty room and told to find the chair – which will be moved around throughout the game. A virtually impossible task, contestants are often shown running into the chair, the room’s pillars or hitting the wall.
Whoever sits on the chair the fastest wins, but from watching clips of the show, we’re not sure if there are that many winners. To top it off, falling over on what looks like slippery marble floors looks rather painful. Hard to imagine health and safety ever allowing such a concept here in the UK!
Don't Scare the Hare
In this shortlived BBC game show, hosted by Jason Bradbury hosted and narrated by Sue Perkins, two teams were pitted against one another, doing varying degrees of ridiculous challenges but with a major twist - they must not scare the hare: the hare in question being a giant robotic hare on wheels.
Games included Alarm-a-geddon in which a player would have to turn off alarm clocks. If three alarm clocks went off, this would wake up the hare, and the team would nothing. Another was Party Poppers, during which a contestant must carry giant balloons through a thorny bush. If three balloons popped, the team again would win nothing.
Poor ratings saw Bradbury and the hare taken off our screens after six episodes in April 2011.
Dero! is a game show where contestants work in teams to answer puzzles and questions. Standard game show stuff, until you add in increasingly stressful scenarios as they try to work out the puzzle.
Imagine trying to solve a riddle as the floor beneath you quickly pulls away or answering quiz questions posted on a wall in a room that is rapidly filling up with water. These are just a few of the wacky and seemingly dangerous tasks these contestants are tasked with. We can only hope that Dero! offered some truly amazing prizes to the lucky few to make it through as winners.
Another short-lived ITV daytime show, 2015's Pick Me! was hosted by Stephen Mulhern and narrated by Roy Walker. This silly but hilarious game show sees participants picked from among a studio audience typically dressed in outlandish fancy dress. Mulhern picks three contestants based on their crazy costumes and then chooses a fourth who will ask a series of questions. One of the contestants will be given the correct answer while the other two must bluff an answer. The question-asker then must decide who they think is telling the truth. Weird, a bit stupid and laugh out-loud-funny - Pick Me! represented what game shows should be all about - so we can't understand why it didn't get a second series!
The brand new series of Takeshi’s Castle starts on Comedy Central on 26th October at 8pm.
Watch Comedy Central on BT TV channel 307/370 HD