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Hipster Game Show Rejects Host Their Own Contest at Staten Island Bar

By Nicholas Rizzi | May 3, 2012 11:03am

STATEN ISLAND — What do you do if you've always wanted to be on a game show but never got the chance?

Start your own. At least, that's what Matthew Ciuffini, 25, and Candice Higham, 28, decided to do.

The couple created "Hipster Speedbump," a live game show performed, though not filmed, for an audience of customers at the Full Cup bar and coffee house in Stapleton every month.

"I'm sure there's a lot of people, like us, that always wished they could be on a game show," said Ciuffini, of Bulls Head. "It's hard to get on those shows, and this is one that is accessible to them."

The show is a mix of "Jeopardy" and "Double Dare," with its own twists thrown in.

They started performing in November and have been doing it once a month since. Ciuffini hosts the show while Higham, a Port Richmond native who lives in South Jersey, acts as producer and helps run the show.

It takes the couple about a weekend to make up the questions and create PDF's used during the show. The crowds, initially only 15 people, have grown to roughly 30 people every show, Ciuffini said.

"Luckily, we've got a consistent fan base coming out," he said.

Attendees of the show are asked to write their names down before it starts. Higham randomly picks three names, and they each have to answer a simple question, like "When is Mother's Day this year?" to participate.

Each contestant gets a free drink for playing, and the winner receives a $50 gift card, providing they can answer a final question.

The show is split into four parts. First, the three contestants are asked trivia questions, with categories like "General Knowledge" and "Mathletes."

Afterwards, the person with the lowest point total has to hula-hoop the longest against an audience member vying for their seat.

Next, each contestant randomly picks a physical challenge, such as a blind-folded candy taste test.

The contestants with the highest total points move on to "Sticky Balls," a game where they roll ping-pong balls across the stage to land on a piece of double-sided tape.

The winner of that moves on to the final round, naming three songs from one artist that are played at the same time.

At Tuesday's contest, game show veteran Kevin Devlin, 30, had to pick out three Weird Al Yankovic songs — "Eat It," "White & Nerdy" and "Smells Like Nirvana."

Devlin eventually guess the third song just before his three minutes were up, scoring the $50 gift card.

"It wasn't until the song was almost completely over I got the third one," Devlin, a bartender, said.

Devlin is no stranger to tough last questions.

Last month he racked up $63,600 by being a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" His final question about the mass of the earth would have netted him $250,000.

"The question I lost on will plague me for the rest of my life," he said.

But while Devlin loved being a contestant on "Millionaire?," he enjoys watching "Hipster Speedbump."

"It's fun, it's goofy," he said. "It's always a good time."

The name "Hipster Speedbump" comes from when Higham, who was rejected from being a  "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" contestant, was driving through Williamsburg with a friend.

"We were driving through Williamsburg and there was just people walking through the streets," she said. "I just started screaming, 'Just hit them, they're a bunch of speed bumps!'"

"It sounded like a game show name," Ciuffini said.

"Hipster Speedbump" starts at 10 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at the Full Cup.