Sporting his famous bowties, Brad Rutter was a force to be reckoned with on ABC’s The Chase, and now he’s back for more on the recently premiered second season.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Brad about the new season and what he’s been up to since we last spoke.
Check out the interview below.
Gabrielle Bisaccia: We last spoke about a year ago, right when season one of The Chase premiered. What have you been up to over the past year?
Brad Rutter: Trying to stay sharp, obviously. Trying to keep up with the news and current pop charts because I’m starting to get a little old and it takes a little more effort than it used to! Stuff is showing up that I have to work to keep current with. And just trying to stay in shape and hanging out. That’s really it because I’m under contract.
GB: I want to pivot to my most important question next. How many bowties do you own?
BR: I actually don’t wear many bowties ‘in the wild’. I probably have about five or six. So the ones you see are courtesy of our awesome wardrobe person, Victoria, who does a great job of getting the funky, yet still classy look that I have on the show. I have a few around that I wear to summer weddings, but don’t expect to see me on the street always wearing a bowtie!
GB: I’ve heard some good-natured ‘smack-talk’ amongst the ‘Chasers’ on social media, but who really had the best record of stopping contestants on The Chase?
BR: I think it would have to be James. I think he’s probably won the most, but the rest of us aren’t that far behind. Ken and I are pretty even, we have a similar record and I think Mark is either one and two or two and one so far.
GB: What, if anything, has changed from season one to season two of The Chase?
BR: We did tweak the gameplay a little bit in the hopes of getting more people to take the high offers in season two, which has certainly worked. I don’t think that anybody took the high offer in season one. People just see that middle number and stick with that. But in terms of encouraging them to go for it more often, that has certainly worked. Also, with more experience we get more used to doing the thing; it’s just a well-oiled machine now. We have a really complicated set and interface on the show and there were fewer glitches than you’d expect in season one, but there are even fewer in season two.
GB: Have you learned anything about yourself from your time on the show thus far?
BR: One thing that I always had in my head during final chases is that you see the clock moving and you think you’re running out of time, but two minutes is actually quite a bit of time to answer fifteen to twenty trivia questions. So, before, I focused on getting things out fast, but I think it’s more important to just take your time, even though that will be an extra second. But if that could get you to an answer that wasn’t coming to you immediately, it’s definitely worth it.
GB: Where did your nickname, Buzzsaw, come from?
BR: That was from Alex Trebek actually. This is going back years, but it was in my original Tournament of Champions in the quarter finals. I played the greatest game of Jeopardy! I’ve ever played against a couple of guys named Bob and Doug who were excellent five-time champions. For whatever reason, the buzzer timing and the categories just lined up perfectly for me and I had a huge lead going into Final Jeopardy. At the end of Double Jeopardy by way of trying to console them, Alex said, “Well Bob, Doug, you guys must feel like you just ran into a buzzsaw.”
GB: What was the hardest category or specific question for you from season one?
BR: I forget whether this was season one or season two, but during the final chase, for whatever reason, they asked about what movie the teacup ride from Disneyland came from. And of course, everybody knows that because it’s a really easy question! But for some reason, Alice in Wonderland was not showing up in my brain. It just goes to show that even the pros can have brain farts now and then!
GB: Do you have a particular technique or method for playing the game?
BR: I think one of the reasons I did well on Jeopardy! was just being able to block everything out except the question in front of me, which you have to do 60 times per show. So that was good experience and with The Chase, it’s the same thing. I just tune out everything and as far as I’m concerned, I’m not even on a tv set, I’m just seeing a question and trying to get to the answer.
GB: Which contestant, if any, really gave you a run for your money?
BR: Natasha from the summer episodes. I think she was the best contestant we had out of the show so far. She ended up beating me one-on-one in what was just an amazing performance!
GB: Any projects you’re currently working on?
BR: Not really because like I said, I’m under contract. Just knocking wood for a season three renewal!