"They like being on TV," Carey said. "Everybody tells me after they lose, 'At least I got to be on. At least I got to meet you.' And I say, 'OK, if that's all you wanted.' "
Utahns will have a chance to do the former but not the latter on Friday, Sept. 14, when the "Price Is Right Live" roadshow comes to town. The traveling version of the show, hosted by Todd Newton, will be on display at Kingsbury Hall and has everything but the cameras. Contestants will "come on down," play pricing games and have a chance to win big prizes.
In addition to the lack of cameras, the other big difference is that you have to buy a ticket for this "Price Is Right." They're available for $30-$50 at kingtix.com or by calling 801-581-7100. Student tickets (with ID) are available at the box office for $15.
If you want to play, you'll have to register at the box office up to three hours before the 8 p.m. showtime; contestants will be chosen at random.
The current TV incarnation of "The Price Is Right" dates back 40 years, and being on the set is pretty cool even for jaded TV critics. It's like being inside a TV institution.
The entertainment value in watching the show is one part wish fulfillment, one part watching other people go crazy.
"People come up here and lose their minds," Carey said. "Somebody fainted up on the podium one time. This guy lost his showcase [showdown] and had a breakdown. Hid behind the end of the stage there, down on his knees, head in his hands. He kept going on, 'I blew it. I blew it.'
"And I'm, 'It's OK. You earned all the other stuff. You got a spa. It wasn't that bad of a day.' "
So many crazy things have happened to Carey since he began hosting the show in 2007 that few of them stand out for him anymore.
"It happens all the time becomes not unusual," he said.
But there was that time when his promise to former host Bob Barker to continue the tradition of urging viewers to control the pet population made Carey look a bit crazy himself. That happened during an episode with an audience made up almost entirely of pregnant women.
"I wanted to say something nice at the end of the show," Carey said. "So I said, 'I just wanted to say from the bottom of my heart I hope all your babies turn out happy and healthy, have a real good pregnancy. By the way, don't forget to spay and neuter your pets.'
"That was the stupidest thing."
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.