Entertainment

Exclusive: ‘Cash Cab’ Contestant Nick Rizzo Explains Why The Show Is (Sort Of) Fake

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If you're anything like us, every time you hail a taxi in New York there's a tiny part of you that secretly hopes it's going to be the Cash Cab. You heart skips a beat as you look inside the car hoping to see Benjamin Bailey‘s grinning face. But it's never him. And it never will be — because Cash Cab is a fake! Well, sort of.

As detailed in an A.V. Club article, Cash Cab scouts for contestants who are likely to do well with trivia questions and tells them they're going to be featured on some (non-Cash Cab) reality show. We got Crushable pal (and one-time contributor) Nick Rizzo, who was a contestant on the show (he won $1700!), to detail his experience in the magical taxi:

“The casting people came to my local bar trivia night and had me fill out a form with 10 trivia questions, check off a bunch of locations in the city that i'd heard of (this would eventually give them choices for where to send me) and take a Polaroid. They told me it was for a show called City Spots wherein one walks around a neighborhood and talks about it, and they edit it down to about 3 minutes. (This seemed like the worst idea for a television show I'd ever heard, but I went along with it.) They told me to meet them at a specific corner (2nd Ave and 14th Street) at a specific time. They told me I should bring a friend if I wanted to.

I show up with my friend, who had coincidentally just described cash cab to me. ‘If I ever see a van cab with a fake ad on top,' he said, ‘I'm going to hail and take it all the way out to the airport.' We meet the producer who gives us a whole story about the production van being stuck in traffic. A few minutes later, after a (possibly fake) phone call, she tells us that we should just take a cab to The Patriot–a scuzzy yet blessedly affordable bar on Church and Chambers, about 40 blocks away–where our filming will apparently commence. She hands me a twenty and I raise my arm to hail a cab. Immediately, a cab pulls up, faster than I've ever hailed one in the city. It's a van cab. Justin and I check the ad on top of the van. It's some sort of alpine panorama, with no letters, no brand insignia. We exchange a glance. For the greatest fifteen seconds of my life, I thought that I'd lucked into being on a TV show, on my way to being on a TV show.

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