Usually, when TV game show contestants are asked to talk about their family, the answer is sugary sweet. But, when a San Diego man competed on “Wheel of Fortune” Monday night, his deadpan response was far from ordinary.
The exchange between contestant Blair Davis, 50, a resident of Cardiff, California, and “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak began innocently enough. Sajak mentioned where Davis lived and that he owned a small trucking business in San Diego County. Davis nodded.
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“Talk about your family,” Sajak said.
And then, the small talk suddenly got interesting – and awkward.
“I’ve been trapped in a loveless marriage for the last 12 years, to an old battle-axe named Kim,” Davis deadpanned.
Sajak – typically composed – couldn’t hold back the chuckles. The audience started laughing, too.
“She cursed my life with three stepchildren named Star, RJ and Ryan, and I have one rotten grandson,” Davis continued.
The camera panned back to Sajak, who was still laughing.
“Yay!” Sajak said. “No wonder you came here; you just wanted to get away from everybody.”
As the crowd kept giggling, Sajak looked at Davis and clarified: “I know you’re being facetious.”
Davis grinned from ear-to-ear.
“Absolutely. I love them like nobody’s business,” he said.
Sajak continued the banter by asking Davis about his long beard.
And that question was just the ticket.
At that point, Davis softened up and talked about his “rotten” 7-year-old grandson who, evidently, has a whole lot of pull.
“I started growing the beard a couple years back and every time I threaten to shave it off, he gives me a really hard time,” Davis explained.
“So, it’s going to stay,” Sajak stated.
“He’s grown used to it,” Davis added.
“OK, good to have you, don’t get it tangled up in the Wheel, that’s all we ask,” Sajak said, wrapping up the intro.
Video of the memorable, 50-second exchange was posted on the game show’s Facebook page with the caption: “We appreciate a stark sense of humor.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the video clip had garnered more than 65,000 views on the social media platform, and dozens of comments.
The sudden, viral fame has kept Davis busy this week. He’s been making his round on media outlets and dropped into the NBC 7 studio in San Diego Wednesday to talk about "Wheel of Fortune" and – most importantly – Kim.
Davis said his wife wasn’t only in on the game show razzing – it was her idea. He said they watch "Wheel of Fortune" together every night and often comment on the squeaky-clean contestant introductions and how some contestants must be embellishing how patient and loving their families are.
"I told my wife, if I ever got to be on ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ I was going to be honest," Davis told NBC 7. "And I think I went a little bit overboard, but it was on purpose."
"It wasn’t a surprise to her. She has awesome sense of humor; we have a wonderful relationship – we’re best friends," he added. "Kim loves it. She was in on it; it was 80% her idea. She’s the brains behind the operation, that’s for sure."
Davis said he and his wife both often work from home, so they spend a lot of time together. His TV moment, he said, was really just for her.
"I think it’s what makes it so funny," Davis explained. "The joke isn’t really for everybody else; the joke was for her and I."
Davis met his wife 15 years ago. He said he knew right away he had met his match.
"The moment I saw her, I knew I was going to marry her," he recalled. "I told her that night."
After all this time together, Davis said humor has been a cornerstone of their relationship.
"Nobody takes much very seriously in my house. Something is always being laughed at," he said.
Davis knows that’s not unique to his marriage. He believes most great unions are likely rooted in at least a little bit of laughter and humor.
Davis said that’s probably why people are relating to his video and sharing it with others online.
"Because it’s so real, because it’s so normal," he told NBC 7. "It’s just so down to earth. It’s just how most people think, how most people react."
Davis said he auditioned for "Wheel of Fortune" in July and taped the episode in August. Now, two months later, he’s living in the fast world of internet fame.
It’s a strange world, he admitted, especially since he has "zero social media footprint." Davis isn’t on Facebook, he doesn’t have a Twitter, he doesn’t use Instagram.
He said he only knew he had gone viral because his daughter told him.
"She’s my social media manager," he said, laughing.
When asked if the viral fame had made him want to join social media, Davis’ answer was – of course – blunt and honest.
"No, not a bit!" he told NBC 7.
For now, Davis said he will enjoy the ride of his game show moment offline. He’s not worried about what’s next.
After all, Kim is still on his side.
"I had a really good life before this, I’m going to soak it in and take it for what it is, but I’m going to return to my really good life after this," he said. "I’m super content. I’m super happy."
In San Diego, "Wheel of Fortune" airs weekdays at 7 p.m. CT on NBC 7. Check local listings for channel and showtimes in your area.