Ben Bailey drives contestants to their destination on Cash Cab. But there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes of the game show on wheels. How does the host drive the van, read trivia questions, and keep track of the money? Simply put, he doesn’t. Bailey gets help from people off-camera.
Ben Bailey is a licensed cab driver
In addition to being a comedian and the host of a popular game show, Bailey’s a licensed cab driver. Before becoming the host of Cash Cab, he performed as a stand-up comedian.
When he wasn’t making jokes to a live audience Bailey earned money driving a limo. The side gig eventually gave him an edge when he auditioned for Cash Cab. Bailey already felt comfortable behind the wheel driving the streets of New York City.
The game show host gets help from ‘the Vanna Whites of ‘Cash Cab’’
Production assistants, who Bailey refers to as “the Vanna Whites of Cash Cab” in the book, Cash Cab: A Collection of the Best Trivia from the Hit Discovery Show, help him during filming.
“I have assistants—the Vanna Whites of Cash Cab—who sit next to me in the front seat,” Bailey said. “After a group of contestants gets in the Cash Cab and I reveal my secret identity, I pull over and let one of the Vannas into my cab.”
This explains why Cash Cab viewers don’t see the front passenger seat on the game show.
Bailey continued, saying the production assistant is responsible for multiple things: “She gets the contestants to sign a release form, and also operates the lights and music and keeps track of how much money they’ve won.”
So what does that leave Bailey to do? He’s being fed the questions from an earpiece while driving and keeping track of the meter. As he says in the book, the Taxi and Limousine Commission requires it.
The cash on ‘Cash Cab’ is just a prop
Getting all the way to the destination without getting three questions wrong is an exciting moment on Cash Cab. Contestants have successfully avoided getting kicked out of the cab and won some money in the process.
Bailey hands them crisp dollar bills and they hop out of the cab. But it’s not theirs to keep. According to Mental Floss, the money is just a prop. Contestants hand it back and get a check in the mail for their winnings a few weeks later. So the remarks from Bailey about having cash to spend at a shop or restaurant are all for show.
Cash Cab premiered in 2005 and ran for 11 seasons before going off the air in 2012. The award-winning game show has since returned for new episodes featuring celebrity guests.
Stream Cash Cab on Hulu.
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