Jayme Lawrence and her family have spent countless hours watching the classic TV game show “Family Feud.”
And earlier this year, Jayme realized that they could easily be on the other side of the screen. They needed to audition.
“The whole family was on board,” Jayme said. “We watch the show religiously. I thought, ‘We should just audition.”
Jayme, who also coaches cheer at Canyon High, became team captain for the Lawrence clan’s attempt, as the organizer. Their team quickly came together: Devon Lawrence, Jayme’s older sister; her dad, Jamie Lawrence; her mom, Trayc Lawrence; and her aunt Toni Trott.
Then began the lengthy audition process.
Jayme said she had to submit about a dozen photos of her family, and then when they received a call back from the show’s producers, they headed out to the daunting task of the audition, in front of about 100 families at a facility on the Universal Studios lot.
The family ran through a test of the types of scenarios that come up on the show in front of what seemed like a building full of strangers, and then awaited the word.
This was about eight months ago, and eventually, the Lawrence family did get their call back. And then Jayme got some more news — the family would need to reserve several weekends for another round of live-trial auditions the group would need to undergo if it was serious about making the cut.
“The first audition was in February, and then they gave us our callback in March,” Jayme said. The producers told Lawrence her family had made the first cut, but they then had to pick about six different weekends, and two days open in the week for the taping, if they made the final cut.
“And once you get to the live taping,” she added, “there’s no guarantee your family will get picked.”
The key, said Jayme, was the family was really excited about the opportunity, so they really tried to go “over the top,” with their emotions and reactions, a job for which the cheerleading coach was probably well-qualified.
Ultimately, the Lawrence family did make it through the several rounds of audition, which included another live audition in front of a studio full of other families hoping to compete, and then faced off with a family from Arkansas, finally under the “bright lights” of one of their favorite family game shows that they regularly watched together.
“There I was, ‘Lights, camera, action… it reminded me of when I was with Ice Capades and Holiday Ice performing before a live audience again,” said Jayme’s dad, Jamie, who previously competed as a professional figure skater. “Just like (Will Ferrell’s “Anchorman” movie character) Ron Burgundy, I was sure that a network after our ‘Family Feud’ debut would offer me an anchorman position,” he joked. “But, unfortunately, this did not happen. — However, I had great time with the family and we had our ‘15 minutes of fame,’” he joked.
Jayme also enjoyed the interaction with Steve Harvey, whom she described as “so nice” and someone who took the time to get to know all the competitors on the show.
“Being on ‘Family Feud’ was like auditioning to become a cheerleader,” Jayme said. “My favorite memory was when Steve asked me what I did for a living.
At the time, Jayme was working at Target, and Harvey asked her what he could buy at Target.
“‘Target has household items and so many clothes,’” she recalled saying. “He looked at me and said, ‘Now, does it look like I buy my suits from Target?’ Everyone started laughing and it definitely made me feel comfortable that he was joking with us.”
Jitters aside, unfortunately, the Lawrence family came up short on the show, losing control of the board after the initial question posed to the family: “What’s one thing you don’t want to do on a first date?”
One of the toughest challenges, Jayme said, was deciding which family member’s answer to go with, and she didn’t have much luck in that respect, she said.
The Lawrence family went with “not to get too drunk” — which, unfortunately, was not one of the most common things said of 100 people asked. The other team, she said, went with “farting.”
“It’s definitely a lot harder than it looks,” Jayme said of the auditions and the competition, “but it’s a lot of fun.”