We could all use a little excitement in our lives right now. Hearing that “The Price is Right Live” was coming to Boise, and seeing it for myself, was just the excitement I needed this week.

It was great to see a full crowd, give or take a few empty seats, descend on Boise State University’s Morrison Center for the Performing Arts for a chance to come on down. As your neighborhood game show enthusiast, you can understand how excited I was to get my hands on a ticket to this show.

The feel of the live show is definitely different from the TV version, but the excitement for this show was certainly present in full force. There are some key differences between the live show and the real one, though:

• Contestant selection is much different, as it doesn’t include an interview with show producers ahead of time. Instead, you sign up to be a contestant at check-in, and your name is put into a digital “hat”, as I like to call it, to be picked at random.

• The set is much smaller than the TV version, as it has to fit on a smaller stage. The TV version has three sets of big doors, the live show two in this case.

• As I heard, four new contestants are indeed selected for each item up for bid round. But even though the winner of each round gets to play a pricing game, they don’t get to spin the big wheel. Instead, three new contestants are drawn to take on the showcase showdown. The winner of the showdown goes up against one randomly-selected opponent for a chance on the showcase.

• The payouts are lower for the pricing games, and the showcase participants both bid on the same showcase. You win half of it if you bid closest without going over, and coming within $250 gets you the whole thing.

• Essentially, 24 contestants are chosen to play with another dozen awarded door prizes throughout the show.

I didn’t get picked (How typical…) but I still had a blast at Tuesday’s show. And of course, I didn’t leave the Morrison Center without stopping at the show’s gift shop. I’ll set aside my t-shirt for a future trip.

I also got to meet, and bump elbows with, our host for the evening, Mark L. Walberg.

No, not the Transformers/Patriots Day/Ted actor … the game show host from TV! He’s been the announcer on Shop ’til you Drop (Lifetime, 1991-1995), and hosted Russian Roulette (Game Show Network, 2002), On the Cover (Pax, 2004), The Moment of Truth (Fox, 2008-2009), The Game Plane (Syndication, 2014) and Antiques Roadshow (PBS, 2002-2019). He currently hosts USA Network’s Temptation Island.

Meeting him face-to-face, I found that he’s actually a swell guy! Okay, I probably came off as weird when I basically recited his career, but he seemed to appreciate that. That and I see a bit of Bob Barker in him, as he’s not above saying what he means in his interactions with contestants. I appreciate that kind of humor.

You don’t have to get called on down to have fun with these shows. I had a great time, and I hope the show comes around again. If it does, may I invite you to come on down with me?

You bet your bottom dollar I’ll be back next time. 10/10, I highly recommend!

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