Venus Williams screamed in terror when she was given a giant snake to drape around her body on Wednesday’s episode of Game On! on CBS.
The 40-year-old tennis star was deathly afraid of snakes, as she’d several times intimated to show host Keegan-Michael Key, 49, who vowed to retain the info for later.
When her team lost the week’s competition to rival Rob Gronkowski, 31, and his squad, Venus was given a massive snake to hold.
Snake fear: Venus Williams screamed in terror when she was given a giant snake to drape around her body on Wednesday’s episode of Game On! on CBS
‘Venus, you must face your fears!’ Keegan-Michael urged her.
‘I’d rather not,’ the five-time Wimbledon winner said, turning to sidekick Ian Karmel, 35, and guest star Tony Hale, 49, formerly of HBO’s Veep. ‘I’m gonna send in my representatives.’
‘Venus has to do it,’ Keegan-Michael then announced. ‘The team captain has to do it. Those are the arbitrary rules that we’ve made up for our show.’
The crowd chanted ‘Venus! Venus!’ as the tennis player danced like Britney Spears in her I’m A Slave 4 U performance at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, where she held a snake.
Losing captain: The 40-year-old tennis star as captain of the losing team had the snake placed on her
Secret phobia: Venus told host Keegan-Michael Key that she was afraid of snakes
Too much: The tennis star screamed in horror as the snake wrapped itself around her
‘I’m so glad we won,’ repeated Rob, who was also terrified of snakes. ‘I’m so glad we won!’
Venus was put underneath the snake, which coiled itself around her and flicked its tongue in her direction, causing her to scream in horror.
‘Give us the Britney!’ Ian encouraged, moving his body like the pop star. ‘C’mon!’
Feeling grateful: Rob Gronkowski was glad that his team won because he also had a fear of snakes
Famous pose: Venus was encouraged to strike the Britney Spears snake pose
Bravely, Venus fought to regain her composure, then extended a leg like Britney had, and traced the floor in front of her.
She screamed again when the snake slid its head into her hair, shaking but trying to look calm.
‘Wow, that’s incredible,’ Rob said, laughing with his guest star, SNL’s Bobby Moynihan, 43.
In hair: She screamed again when the snake slid its head into her hair, shaking but trying to look calm
The season one episode was about facing one’s fears, as Game On!’s host pointed out.
For the first challenge, the captains of each team were hung upside-down from the studio’s ceiling, and required to do sit-ups.
Both Rob and Venus were afraid of heights, but they soldiered on with the task.
Challenge winner: Venus earlier beat Gronk in an upside down hanging sit-up challenge
After nine sit-ups, Rob couldn’t do another one, and rapidly plunged to the floor as the audience shrieked in disbelief.
‘No, no, no, no,’ said Tony, waving his hands as Rob’s descent slowed.
When he was asked how he’d liked the challenge, Rob smiled and said, ‘It was terrific.’
Fun game: When he was asked how he’d liked the challenge, Rob smiled and said, ‘It was terrific’
Venus, who was lowered down after 10 sit-ups, won the round.
‘I was up there, and I’m thinking, ”Did I let my insurance lapse? ‘Cause I’m gonna need this”,’ she said.
The second challenge found the teams competing against one another in the jump-rope sport of double Dutch.
Second challenge: The second challenge found the teams competing against one another in the jump-rope sport of double Dutch
To prepare, Venus, Ian, Rob and his sidekick Bobby Lee, 48, went ‘to the mean streets of New York’ to meet Mike, a world-champion jump roper who’d been doing it for 23 years.
All of them quickly got the habit of jumping two ropes simultaneously, but Venus—who showed up with blue hair—displayed extra skill, turning in circles as she jumped.
Rob followed her lead, then raised his game even further by hoisting Lee over his shoulders while he continued to jump through the ropes.
Turning circles: All of them quickly got the habit of jumping two ropes simultaneously, but Venus—who showed up with blue hair—displayed extra skill, turning in circles as she jumped
In the final assessment, Team Venus earned points for creativity, but Team Gronk won for their strong ‘partner interaction,’ said Erica Zenn, a Team USA Jump Rope All-Star.
Challenge three asked the teams to decide which athletes were afraid of which creatures.
Team Venus won the round, accurately guessing that David Beckham, 45, feared frogs.
Good guesses: Team Venus won a guessing game round, accurately figuring that David Beckham, 45, feared frogs
But none of the teams’ members knew that gymnast Simon Biles, 23, was afraid of bees, or that NFL star Cam Newton, 31, avoided baseballs.
Rob said his team wondered if David had pursued soccer after being hit by a baseball as a kid.
The three-time Super Bowl winner admitted that he had taken a ball to the face in his youth.
Face strike: The three-time Super Bowl winner admitted that he had taken a baseball to the face in his youth
‘That’s why my nose is so big right here,’ Rob said, pointing to its bridge.
‘You got hit by baseballs, and that’s why your nose is so big?’ Ian repeated slowly. ‘Did you just also get hit by baseballs everywhere else on your body?’
‘Yeah, I guess so,’ Rob replied, joking, ‘Then I started gaining muscles. It was unbelievable!’
The host: Keegan-Michael Key hosted the show on CBS
Asked what they were afraid of, both team captains then admitted they were scared of snakes, a comment that would come back to haunt them.
Neither one of them had gymnophobia, or the fear of nudity, however, as nearly-naked photos of Rob and Venus from ESPN the Magazine’s The Body issue were shown.
In solidarity, Lee and Ian took part in a similar photo shoot, posing naked but for sheets.
Nearly naked: Neither Venus nor Gronk had gymnophobia, or the fear of nudity, however, as nearly-naked photos of Rob and Venus from ESPN the Magazine’s The Body issue were shown
The fourth challenge asked teams to decide which of three minor league baseball mascots was actually Lee ‘in a very sweaty rental costume.’
The first mascot out was Bernie, from California’s Inland Empire 66ers, followed by Mama Peño, from Texas’ San Antonio Missions, and Blobby, from Vermont’s Burlington Bombers.
The mascots were asked to show the teams their special dance, the reaction they made when their team did poorly, and the things they did in the off-season.
Fourth challenge: The fourth challenge asked teams to decide which of three minor league baseball mascots was actually Lee ‘in a very sweaty rental costume
Blobby, who could barely lift his head, was often staring off the wrong way, and fell down onstage, was obviously ‘Blobby Lee,’ as Ian called him, earning Team Venus the point.
Challenge five required each team to run through a jungle-themed obstacle course while the other team tried to correctly answer more sports-related questions.
Each of the team members doing the course was dropped from the ceiling and had to climb up netting, sail a raft, slide into a mud pit and army-crawl over wet ground before scaling a wall.
Obstacle course: Tony Hale took part in challenge five that required each team to run through a jungle-themed obstacle course while the other team tried to correctly answer more sports-related questions
‘Tony Hale, my good friend, are you okay?’ asked Keegan-Michael, after Tony and Ian completed the course for Team Venus.
‘Nope, I’m not,’ Tony replied. ‘That was awful.’
Asked how he liked it, Rob—who went up with Bobby—said, ‘I feel like a lion!’ and roared.
Jungle king: Asked how he liked it, Rob—who went up with Bobby—said, ‘I feel like a lion!’ and roared
Team Gronk then answered eight questions to Team Venus’ five, and earned the overall win.
Venus, to her dismay, was left holding the snake.
Game On! will return next week on CBS.
Loss taken: Venus, to her dismay, was left holding the snake after her team lost