These Game Show Hosts Got Caught Yelling At Their Contestants

Ah ... the game show host. Typically upbeat and kind, hosts of the classic American game shows hold a special place in the hearts of many. Their job is to make contestants feel as comfortable as possible while they take on challenges and puzzles — the key phrase here being "supposed to." Despite keeping their composure the majority of the time, game show hosts are people too, and sometimes they can't help but react when contestants get out of hand.

Plus, things have changed a lot since the early game show era, with shows not only testing contestant's intelligence or guessing skills but pushing them to their physical and emotional limits. With this new era comes a new genre of host, the judge, who is not only known for their kindness and praise but for their scrutiny and criticism. Although such judges are granted slightly more leeway in the negative feelings department, even they are prone to crossing the line of what the viewer deems acceptable. From slightly joking to incredulous to straight up angry, here are some times that game show hosts (of many varieties) broke character and yelled at contestants.

Bob Barker is afraid of an excited contestant

Bob Barker is practically synonymous with game shows. He began his career as a host in 1956 on The New Truth and Consequences but is most well known for his 35-year run on The Price is Right. Now that's a professional. The feat is especially impressive when you consider how absurdly Price contestants behave — wacky costumes, excited running and jumping, shrieks of joy — you truly get the works with those folks.

Despite the fact that Price guests are known for their erratic behavior, Barker is usually able to handle the contestants with grace. However, he finally breaks under the excitement of a guest named Avonne, who wins a car and goes crazy over her prize (via YouTube). Avonne is so excited that she tries to run up to give Barker, a frail old man at this point in his career, a big hug. Although he tries to make it into a joke, there is fear in his eyes as he starts running away from her. 

Tied down by the cord of his microphone, he yells, "Don't, don't attack me! Don't, don't touch me!" and holds his arm out to create distance. He eventually manages to get away and hide behind the model presenting the prize. You can even hear him say "keep her away from me" as the producers cut to commercial. (And Avonne finally gets her hug from the surprised model. Everybody wins!)

Pat Sajak gets fed up with the ingrates

Pat Sajak is another one of those hosts that just seems so jolly. It probably helps that his show, Wheel of Fortune, isn't exactly the most high-stakes game of the bunch. But even still, Wheel contestants can get pretty fired up sometimes, and Sajak loses his temper.

Darin McBain gets Sajak as close to angry as he's ever been one fateful episode, as shown by Yahoo. After correctly solving the puzzle, McBain makes a few quips about how one of the words in the puzzle — "oven" — doesn't quite fit into the category (words that start with "kitchen"). In response, Sajak starts gesturing and raises his voice, saying, "You won! Don't argue, Darin! You got the puzzle. Ungrateful players! I've had it!" He looks around in shock for a moment before adding, "I finally snapped!" While the outburst was said in a mostly joking tone and even prompted giggles from the audience, Sajak felt bad enough about it that he apologizes later in the episode.

McBain is not the only one to have provoked an incredulous reaction from Sajak. On another episode, after two groups of contestants make guesses involving the phrase "riding a horse," Sajak makes a dismissive hand gesture and fakes walking off stage. He soon returns, giving the camera a direct look of upset confusion, then yelling, "WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT A HORSE?" while shaking his hands in the air.

Drew Carey can't handle a chatty Cathy

Drew Carey took over The Price is Right in 2007, reports Today, with some major shoes to fill. Not only had Bob Barker been on the show since its impetus, but his charisma and charm were a unique part of the show's character. Luckily, Carey took the role in stride, using his outgoing personality to keep up with wacky contestants and his chops as a comedian to keep things interesting. And he's actually pretty good in a crisis, like when this woman gets too excited and knocks him over. Look Ma, no yelling! He even giggled once he got back on his feet.

But even sunny Carey can't help but snap at this contestant. While he is trying to talk through the rules of a puzzle, the selected contestant can't contain his excitement — and expresses it through constant chatter. Carey eventually throws a "shut up!" in his direction but brings himself back to center, calmly telling the guest to "listen." The whole thing comes across like an overworked kindergarten teacher who yells at a kid in a moment of weakness and instantly feels guilty. Luckily, the contestant seems too excited to really notice Carey's rudeness, and the show proceeds as usual.

Alex Trebek makes a kid cry

"I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed." If you have parents, you've probably heard that before. And if you have heard it, you know that it's way scarier than being yelled at. Unfortunately for eighth grader Thomas Hurley, III, he's been on the receiving end of this treatment on national television. Oh yeah, and instead of his parents being disappointed in him, it was Alex Trebek.

It is what CNN hailed as "the saddest moment in Jeopardy! history." When Hurley's final jeopardy answer contains a single erroneous letter (Hurley adds an extra T into Emancipation Proclamation, spelling it "Emanciptation Proclamation"), Trebek claims that he "misspelled it badly." He and the producers then make the decision to reject Hurley's answer, which was otherwise correct. As the show closes, the child can be seen on stage attempting not to cry while his parents comfort him.

The incident went viral on social media, and Trebek faced significant criticism. The family did interviews for several new stations, with Hurley saying he felt "cheated" and his parents decrying the "smug" way in which Trebek delivered the news. It even caused enough noise to prompt Jeopardy! to release an official statement, saying, "If Jeopardy! Were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players. We love presenting young people as contestants on our show, and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment."

Gene Rayburn gets physical with his cue card guy

Gene Rayburn's Match Game is another of those classic American game shows known for its good spirits. But don't let the niceties fool you. Rayburn is still as serious about his craft as anyone, and if you mess with his formula for success, consequences follow.

A producer on the Match Game set learns this lesson after making a mistake during a 1976 episode (via Match Game Productions). When the producer forgets to hold up the sign signaling a commercial break, he is forced to interrupt the host. Rayburn seems annoyed, saying, "You want to go to commercial? You were late in holding the sign up, weren't you?" He approaches him, threatening, "I'll tell you what we do when you're late holding the sign up!" Rayburn then rips the sign from the producer's hands and beats him with it. "Now will you remember to hold the sign up on time!?" he yells, grabbing and shaking the producer. The audience cracks up, but it seems the aggression wasn't purely fun and games.

This was also not an isolated incident. The following year, Rayburn tries to rip the camera from a cameraman's grasp, yelling, "Get off of [camera] one! Do what I tell you to, it's my show! When I say get off of one, I mean get off of one!" Rayburn then threatens to chuck a piece of the camera equipment (which he pulled off in his shenanigans) at the crew. What a fun set!

Tyra Banks has NEVER yelled at a girl like this before!

As the host of America's Next Top Model, Tyra Banks has had her fair share of bizarre moments. She makes up words like "smize" and "beautytainment," pretends to faint, and regularly devises ridiculous fashion show concepts whose only intention can be torturing contestants. In a departure from the paradigm of the original American game show host, Banks' show often centers around "tough love," critiquing her hand-picked contestants to the point of emotional breakdowns in order to teach them a lesson.

Her showdown with Tiffany, as seen on YouTube, is the most extreme example. During a double-elimination, models Rebecca and Tiffany are given the boot. The girls proceed to say their goodbyes, but while teary-eyed Rebecca is seeking comfort in her castmates, Tiffany appears to be joking around. This prompts Banks to call the girls back for a lecture, telling Tiffany she could have won if she had actually tried. Tiffany responds that she's sick of fighting for things she can't change. The two keep talking over each other until Banks finally breaks, yelling, "Stop it! I have never in my life yelled at a girl like this! When my mother yells at me like this it's because she loves me! I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you! How dare you!" The moment has been memed a thousand times over and represents an iconic moment in reality TV history.

Ru Paul doesn't want to hear any excuses!

As the host of Ru Paul's Drag Race, Ru Paul Charles is known for his motherly take on hosting. Contestants are generally eliminated gently, with a reminder that they will always be a part of the Drag Race family. With that being said, he is not afraid to let the queens have a piece of his mind, and contestants always know if their performance is not up to snuff.

In what Entertainment Tonight calls Charles' "Tyra moment," the host loses his cool after a disappointing challenge. The incident starts with the judges heavily critiquing the contestants, who seemed dismally underprepared during their performance on the main stage. Some of the contestants attempt to explain themselves, but their efforts come off sounding like justifications for poor performances. In an effort to wrap up the judging, Charles begins talking sternly, saying, "FYI for all you girls up there, I don't want to hear any godd***n excuses! Be. Prepared." At this point, contestant Jasmine Masters attempts to defend everyone by saying they didn't have enough time to be fully prepped, and Charles isn't having it. "Make it work! Make it work! F**king make it happen!" he screams. "I don't want to hear any godd***n excuses! Anymore!"

Natalia Kills and Willy Moon destroy an alleged copycat

At least when some hosts yell it is because they care. When husband-and-wife duo of judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon decide to come for X Factor: New Zealand contestant Joe Irvine, the intent is clearly malicious. The crime — looking and sounding too much like Moon.

In this clip, the two judges hurl a string of elaborate insults at Irvine for a solid minute and a half. Kills speaks first, saying, "As an artist who respects creative integrity and intellectual property I am disgusted at how much you have copied my husband. ... you're a laughing stock! It's cheesy, it's disgusting... absolutely artistically atrocious." Moon goes on to say it is like "Norman Bates dressing up in his mother's clothing. ... I feel like you're going to stitch someone's skin to your face and then kill everyone in the audience." Ouch!

Luckily, Irvine was able to stay in the competition, proving himself as a performer and even making it through eight weeks. Kills and Moon were promptly fired, reports Billboard, and the two went on to issue a pair of lukewarm, nearly identical apologies. Both placed some blame on how reality TV shows are created, with Moon saying "there's a lot the viewer doesn't see." They also both mention how the show encouraged them to use their full personalities as judges and not hold back, before admitting that they took it too far.

T.J. Lavin gets up in a contestant's face

The Challenge host T.J. Lavin is no stranger to giving contestants a piece of his mind. A pro BMX biker with a cultivated badass persona, he's not afraid to tell contestants that they "f**king sucked" when they do poorly. But in a game like The Challenge, where contestants are forced into physically draining tasks all while playing mind games to get to the top, speaking your mind comes with some risks.

As seen in this clip posted on Lavin's personal Twitter account, the host's in-your-face style results in a confrontation between him and contestant Syrus Yarbrough. Yarbrough begins arguing with Lavin about the rules of the game but eventually backs off. When he's finally walking away, Lavin shouts, "quit yelling at me motherf****r!" Yarbrough turns back and postures just inches away from Lavin's face, repeatedly yelling about how he's a "grown a** man." Egging him on, Lavin responds, "who isn't?" While things get pretty heated, a second contestant manages to step in and separate the two before they can come to blows.

Karan Kundra and the slap heard round the world

Actor Karan Kundra became a judge on MTV's Roadies during its twelfth season. An MTV India original show, Roadies involves contestants teaming up to compete in mental and physical challenges around the country, using bikes to transport themselves.

While you might think that the juiciest drama happens after the exhaustion of competing sets in, this incident occurred during the very first stage of the recruitment process. As NYOOOZ TV reports, when a contestant says that he slapped his own sister once, Kundra slowly but menacingly approaches him. When he is near enough, he finally slaps him across the face with all his strength. The contestant is left standing there, holding his cheek in shock.

After receiving significant backlash on social media, Kundra issued a statement on Instagram, saying, "I kind of feel like these dicks who are upset I slapped a guy for being a s**thead to his sisters are the ones who do it... be a man and slap such idiots and teach your sister to do the same." 

Kundra was replaced on the show the following season. However it is unclear whether the slapping incident was to blame. ABP Live reports that although this is the rumor, it may have actually been a simple "clash in schedule." Then again, MTV did air the clip and even used it as part of the season's official promo, so they don't exactly seem remorseful.

Esha the Goddess and, well, another slap

Contestants on India's Dadagiri certainly longed for the simpler days of Match Game while they were being verbally berated on stage, but then again, it's what they signed up for. Like, actually. The premise of Dadagiri is to withstand the simulated bullying of dadas while attempting physical and mental challenges.

Perhaps no one felt this more than Ravi Bhatia, the subject of the infamous "slapping incident." While one of the hosts, Esha, "the Goddess," verbally attacks him on stage, he and his partner calmly ignore her. This does not sit well with the Goddess, who states that the pair "have no life in them" before storming off. She returns only to tell them to "f**k off!" which Bhatia counters with a calm but sassy, "you go?" In response, she slaps him. He reflexively slaps her back, yelling, "How can you slap? How can you slap?" The other host and the producers quickly step in, shoving Bhatia to the side and beating him up. They yell, "How can you slap her?... You're f**king dead, bastard!" A group of at least 15 men eventually surround him, some beating him up and hurling insults at him, his mom, and his sister, and some half-heartedly trying to stop the others from physically assaulting him.

Although the violent incident never aired, the tapes somehow leaked and the footage went viral. With this evidence, Bhatia called for a public apology for his defamation, reports the Times of India.

Joe Rogan yells at a woman and fights her husband

Fear Factor is another game show where contestants basically sign up to be tortured. That does not, however, give contestants an excuse to be violent, especially under Joe Rogan's watch. So when a contestant hits a fellow player in the 2006 season, the ex-UFC commentator seeks to solve the issue in a manner only he could — with more physical violence!

The chaos starts when contestant Victoria Fuller punches fellow participant Jonny Fairplay, whose mind games caused her and her husband to lose the competition. "What are you doing?" Rogan yells. "You can't assault people!" Rogan quickly moves on to insults, saying, "If you and your husband hit each other that's one thing..." This prompts Fuller's husband Jonathan Baker to get in Rogan's face and start screaming at him. Rogan responds by grabbing Baker by the head and tugging him around. Thankfully, contestant Mike Mizanin breaks them up quickly. In his confessional cam, Mizanin said he stepped in because he thought, "Joe's gonna kill him."

On his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan claims he grabbed the contestant in order to avoid any unnecessary violence. He admits that his first thought was to choke Jonathan, but that he thought better of it, "Because if I choke him, you know, maybe they could sue me." Instead, Rogan grabbed him by the head so Baker couldn't punch him in the face. Perhaps this was actually a good call?