Monday, November 27, 2006

Betty and Bimbo Recommend: CELEBRITY

The notion of celebrity sits fine with us. Everyone knows mass cults of personality are as old as the heavens from which new heros tumble down and into the pages of our preferred weeklies. It's also really fun to follow the lives of the beautiful and the damned - the original "reality TV" you might say (if you've already said that about a billion other things, like your aquarium and Halloween).
Woody Allen also made a movie called "Celebrity" that we both like a lot.

Our recommendation today, however, is about neither of these phenomena, but rather regards the most riotous and rewarding of party games: Celebrity. Bimbo introduced Nancy D., Aaron Hun, and Betty to this game several years ago, and our friendly gatherings haven't been the same since!

The game has three rounds (or four, if you are hardcore and wish to include Bimbo's extra "psychic round"). You need at least four people to play, but more is better.

Split the gathered friends into two or more teams of two or three. Have everyone write down the names of 10 "celebrities" broadly defined; past submissions have included Idi Amin, Scooter Libby, Father Junipero Serra, and Henry James alongside more predictable icons like Sean Preston Spears Federline, Ashton Kutcher, and Heather Mills McCartney.

Your celebrities can be real or fictional people, dead or alive, and from any nationality and time period, as long as they are generally known. A good guideline to use is: "Would you guess this person in a game of 20 Questions?" Decide, then write the names on little scraps of paper. Next, put the scraps in somebody's trucker hat.

Now the fun begins. In the first round, you can shoot your mouth off in a million ways to get your teammates to guess the celebrated person whose scrap you've drawn. In one memorable game, our friend Jessica drew Bono and began by saying "OK, this guy is an asshole." While B&B would not recommend this type of description as the most efficient path to sure victory in Celebrity, it was nonetheless a highlight. Some people just get you to speak from the heart.

You only have one minute to give your teammates clues in round one. If you don't know who the person is, just get your teammates to sound out the person's name. Collect as many correctly guessed names as you can. Play until all the names are out of the hat, alternating teams and rotating guessers and clue-givers each time the hat comes to your team. When the hat is empty, tally up how many scraps each team got. Clear enough?

Now put all the name scraps back into the hat. In round two, you can only say one word per celebrity name you draw. You can play off of mistakes or sound-outs that other players made in round one (e.g. "asshole"), so always pay attention! Go around until the hat is empty, tally up the points.

Round three is charades round! If your team guesses wrong while you're acting out Louisa May Alcott or Muggsy Bogues, you have to pick a new name, so be patient, guessers! Play until all the names are taken. This round usually takes the longest, and is the most hysterical, especially when you play with Aaron Hun or Bimbo.

Round four, should you choose to accept it, is the psychic round. Stare into your teammate's eyes and drill Axl Rose or Ulysses S. Grant (or whomever) into their brain!! You may want to skip this round unless you're really good, or trying to keep your guests from going home. Then start again with new celebrities!

If you have any questions or amusing Celebrity/celebrity anecdotes, please do the right thing and e-mail Betty and Bimbo today.

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