Humor columnist Dave Barry
claims to have invented a staple of the television reality show
: eating large insects for money. In his March 18, 1990
column entitled Beetlejuice Dave
described his idea for a game show entitled Eat Bugs For Money
. Here's how the show works: the host of the show brings out a large, juicy insect
on a plate. The contestants then write down the minimum dollar amount of money that they would have to be paid to eat it, and then the contestant who bid the lowest has to actually chow down. "Admit it: YOU would watch this program," writes Dave
, "In fact, right now you're saying to yourself, 'Hey, I wonder what channel that's on.'" Of course what was written in jest is now reality. There actually are television shows where contestants eat bugs as part of a contest with a cash prize: Survivor
and Fear Factor
, to name two.
In a February 6, 2003 entry on his own blog, Dave remarks that the TV executives get all the credit for thinking up the reality TV genre, while he and his former editor Gene Weingarten came up with the Eat Bugs For Money idea thirteen years prior, a development that angers him to no end.