Meet the compers: Jason Block
For my latest ‘Meet the Compers‘ interview, I’d like to introduce Jason Block from Brooklyn, New York. Jason has been comping (or should I say sweepstaking?) for over 20 years, but his biggest successes have been on TV game shows.
Hi Jason, and thanks for joining me here on SuperLucky for a Q&A!
Thank you, Di! It’s a pleasure to be here on your website.
How and when did you start comping?
I started comping in full around 1995. Before then, I entered radio contests from the age of 9.
You’ve won three trips to London as well as two European trips – did you enjoy it over here?
I have been to London, Spain and Holland – each one an amazing experience. My first trip to London was in 1999 with my girlfriend – we got to see three shows, and toured the city and Stonehenge. My next trip to London was from Visitlondon.com, when I took a buddy of mine to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers play in Hyde Park in front of 75,000 people – we also met David Blaine. In Spain I toured Granada, Seville and the Costa Del Sol with my sister – and in Holland I visited the Heineken factory, played poker in prison and went to Anne Frank’s house (just 200 feet from the Hotel). Europe was amazing, and I always enter trips to go back.
I’ve featured Opeyemi, a ‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’ winner on SuperLucky – I know you’ve won cash on the show too! Tell us about the experience.
Do you have enough time? (laughs). In January 2000, the show was the hottest show on TV in the US. I had applied in November 1999 nine times but failed. On January 4, 2000, I had made it through the phone playoff (which was active at the time). The same day, I won $10,000 in an online contest! That Saturday I made the playoffs, on Sunday I got the call and on Monday and Tuesday I recorded the show. They sent a car for me for the first day and I was sequestered in a room where every thing was confiscated.
On the show, I got through the Fastest Finger and had won $16,000 when the taping ended for the day – I returned with my Grandmother (100 years old at the time!) and my girlfriend the following day.
The final part of the WWTBAM appearance – from Jason’s YouTube Channel
I won $125,000 – not only that, it was the highest rated show for a non-celebrity in the history of WWTBAM. 33 million people watched, more than that year’s ER Season Premiere! My unique personality meant I was invited to appear on radio and TV chat shows, including the Rosie O’Donnell show. It was an amazing experience!
Which other TV gameshows have you been on?
I have been on Turn It Up (MTV), Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Catch 21 (GSN), Let’s Ask America and Cash Cab.
What would be your top tip or piece of advice for people wanting to get on a game show?
Be yourself and know the show you want to enter. They want people to be real. Contestant co-ordinators can spot a phony from a mile away!
What type of prize promotion do you enjoy most?
I love most of them, especially instant wins, daily draws and Facebook. Although, I rarely win Retweets or Twitter Parties. But I will!
What’s your favourite prize, and why was it so special?
I have a few. The Spain trip in 2006 allowed me to reconnect with my sister. I won a $1,000 Visa Card for someone who was in dire need during the holiday season in 2013. And I got to take my father to Las Vegas in 2011!
Are there any types of prize promotions you’d like to see more or less of?
I can’t say this one loud enough. VOTING CONTESTS SHOULD GO THE WAY OF THE DODO! They are the bane of sweepers’ existence. You can find hundreds, if not thousands of sites where votes can be bought and sold. Agencies must adjust to this and judge more honestly and fairly.
You have to pay tax on prizes in the US – how does this affect your hobby?
I wish I didn’t pay taxes! But it doesn’t really affect my hobby – I make sure I only enter contests I want to win. If I have to be taxed, I talk to my advisor
Is there a prize you’ve tried to win but it has always eluded you?
I have never won a car. That is my holy grail!
What do you think the future holds for comping in the US?
It’s going to be a very interesting time. I have been in the hobby for about 20 years and seen the decline of mail sweepstakes and the advent of online technology. Judging agencies have to be aware that this technology makes life easier for cheaters. Marketers and branders have to make sure the sweeps are fair, so that the brand will get good publicity.
Do you have any funny sweepstaking stories?
The day I got that phone call from Millionaire... my dad was sleeping after his teaching day was over. He thought it was a dream, but it was very real! The call was so good, I got paid $5,000 extra to have my reaction played on US radio stations!
Thanks Jason – I wish you lots of luck for 2016!