We Catch Up With ‘Hollywood Game Night’ Host Jane Lynch and ‘Spartan’ Host Kelvin Washington


“Hollywood Game Night” and “Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge” are the kind of reality game shows that really spark up the fun.

Sometimes the world can be a harsh place. There always seems to be a calamity or crisis occurring somewhere in the world, leaving viewers and readers shaken with fear and anxiety. It’s seems like a never-ending hopscotch of terror. And while movies and television shows offer some respite to the frail emotions that have taken over, the suspension of disbelief is sometimes broken once you realize that, after all, this is a fictional narrative. Thankfully, that’s where reality television comes in.

And while reality television can sometimes be seen as vapid and asinine, the game show variety of it is nothing but fun and interesting. Whether it’s celebrities you know and love answering questions about what that song is or brawny men and women braving the worst of it all in the wild, TV shows like Hollywood Game Night and Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge help individuals unwind after a stressful day. The Knockturnal had the opportunity to talk to Jane Lynch (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Glee) of Hollywood Game Night as well as Kelvin Washington and MJ Acosta of Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge to find out just what to expect as the season goes on. Check out what they had to say below.

Tell me a little bit about what we can expect from Hollywood Game Night on NBC?

Jane Lynch: Well, we’re premiering the 22nd and this year we’re combining casts. We’re going have the cast of Veep facing off against the cast of Walking Dead. That’ll be our first episode and then we’re going have Superstore facing off against This Is Us. We have a lot of returning contestants and we have a lot of new people. We’re also going take the play out into my backyard. We built a backyard with some lush AstroTurf and we’re going do a bunch of games out there too that’ll be more physical.

This sound very exciting. It’s sounds maybe like people are going be at the edge of their seats.

Jane: Well let’s hope so. They hopefully are every year and will be so now.

What do you love about hosting?

Jane: Well, it’s different muscles than acting, but I love hosting parties at home and I love bringing a bunch of people together who don’t know each other. You’ll see someone off having a conversation and getting to know someone they just met five minutes ago. And that’s what I love about Hollywood Game Night, people come in not knowing each other and they end up being good friends.

At a game night at your house what are some things you like to do?

Jane: I don’t have game nights, but I host parties and I’ll host like a dinner party. I love food and I love people coming together and eating. So that’s kind of what we do and I have a nice indoor/outdoor situation at my house and so it’s usually a lovely night. We light it up, I’m all about ambiance. I light it up nicely light candles, light a fire.

Hollywood Game Night

So, tell us how you got involved.

Kelvin Washington: Well, the very typical way. Your agent gives you a call, but outside of that it was very, very exciting for me to have this opportunity. At a certain point, I didn’t think I would be able to do it, which was play-by-play. I was given an opportunity to do play-by-play, I worked for ESPN Daily doing a radio show there called the Marcellus and Kelvin Show with Marcellus Wiley, my cohost. So, to have this opportunity it was kind of exciting to get back to something that. When you’re a teenager in college I thought maybe I would get into it. And it’s been awesome. I get to meet incredible people and work with them like MJ Acosta here, Apolo Ohno, and Nick Swisher. We had a blast shooting the show and meeting the athletes and the competitors. It was very much inspired by them, their lifestyle, their stories, the things that they’ve overcome. It’s been a great time and now that people are reacting to the show—last night was episode two—everyone seems to be enjoying it. It’s awesome. I’m very excited about that and what the rest of the season really holds.

What are you looking forward to?

MJ Acosta: I’m looking forward to everyone getting a chance to see what we’ve been working on after keeping it under wraps for so long. I’m like the worst secret keeper, but contractually I’m the best secret keeper [laughs]. But yeah, everybody getting to see the teams, their interactions, and then of course who wins. I think the reaction will be good when everybody sees which team came out on top.

And you’re simultaneously doing your radio show?

Kelvin: Yeah. I speak for everyone in this business, you end up doing a lot of things. Which is great, I consider it a blessing to be able to do multiple things. So we’re still doing some taping of the show and some post things while I do my show daily, but MJ knows about it. I haven’t seen Apolo in like a week and a half, two weeks, because he’s all over the country and all over the world doing everything that he does. Everybody’s all over. Nick Swisher is doing major league baseball, he’s doing some commentating. So we’re all busy but it’s always great when you get to come back. MJ’s like my prom date tonight. That’s what I feel like here. Doesn’t she look great?

Watch Hollywood Game Night Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC while you can catch Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge here.

$haina_Moskowitz contributed reporting. 

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