If you thought game show hosts have it all figured out, think again. The affable and talented Damon Wayans Jr., host of CBS’s latest game show “Raid the Cage,” confessed that he’d be in hot water if he were to participate in the show’s challenging trivia rounds.
In an exclusive interview with The Post, Wayans opened up about his struggles with dyslexia and how it might affect his performance in the show. “Let me tell you something, coming from a dyslexic guy myself, I would not be great at that trivia because I pronounce ‘quiet’ [as] ‘quite’ and I mix all these letters up,” Wayans, 40, told us. “Every time someone does well in the trivia round … if you ever see me go, ‘Oh, that’s awesome,’ it’s because I was like, ‘I could never have done that.’ I’m not crazy-dyslexic, but when it comes to trivia, I’d be screwed.”
Despite his self-proclaimed trivia struggles, Wayans, alongside co-host Jeannie Mai Jenkins, is set to bring the electrifying game show “Raid the Cage” to American audiences. The show, premiering on October 13 from 9-10 p.m. as part of “CBS Friday Game,” is based on the hit Israeli game show “Kluv Hazahav,” which originally aired in 2013 and has since been adapted in over 15 countries.
“Raid the Cage” features two teams of two contestants who must answer tricky trivia questions to gain access to the coveted “Cage.” This treasure trove is loaded with valuable prizes and some unexpected duds hidden in boxes. Once inside, contestants have a limited amount of time based on their trivia score to snatch as many goodies as they can before the doors slam shut and they lose everything they’ve collected.
Wayans explained that what sets “Raid the Cage” apart is its multi-round format, offering underperforming teams the chance to stage a comeback. “In this game, you’re never really out until it’s over because each team has three rounds to catch up, and people make mistakes. You can grab something you had no idea was worth however much it is, and it can put you back in the running.”
The adrenaline is a significant factor in the show, especially when contestants find themselves inside “The Cage.” Wayans said, “I think it affects people more in The Cage, where they just kind of go in there and black out. What’s interesting is that all the [trivia] answers are on the board; you just have to match the answer to the question, and there might be a little nervousness there — and sometimes people just aren’t good at trivia.”
One of the show’s unique challenges is that it’s new to American audiences and the contestants, making it more of a test to play the game. “There’s really no way [for contestants] to prepare for it, which makes it more fun for me as a viewer,” Wayans pointed out. “You have to be fairly good at trivia and fairly athletic to score in The Cage, and some people don’t know what the heck they’re doing!”
Adding to the pressure, Wayans shared a behind-the-scenes tidbit: “People don’t think about how the doors [to The Cage] are closing as time is counting down. When you get to ‘3,2,1,’ as soon as the timer hits ‘3,’ the doors are starting to close, and you have even less time than you think.”
“Raid the Cage” marks a new chapter in Wayans’ career as he takes on the role of a game-show host. His impressive resume includes roles in ABC’s “Happy Endings,” Fox’s “New Girl,” and appearances in hit movies like “Let’s Be Cops” and “Supercool.” Wayans revealed that hosting a game show is a different experience, requiring a unique set of skills. “This is more of a presentational performance,” he said. “You have to make information sound like you’re not just giving out information. There’s a lot of exposition that you have to build into the show. In acting, you memorize lines and make them your own; here, you can make [the lines] your own, but you still have to nail what the contestants need to do and be present the entire time.”
Get ready to witness the thrill, chaos, and high-stakes action when “Raid the Cage” premieres on Friday, October 13, at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Damon Wayans Jr. may struggle with the trivia, but he’s ready to guide contestants through the heart-pounding adventure in “The Cage.” Don’t miss out on the excitement!