Smush was hosted by Ken Ober and co-hosted by Lisa Dergan. The show, set in a basement party atmosphere, featured four contestants trying to "smush" the answers to clues together, to create a new smushed phrase. For example, the clue "A New England state + 'Flying Circus' man" would result in an answer of "Vermonty Python," formed by combining "Vermont" and "Monty Python". Smushes did not have to use the exact spelling of both words. For example, "Belly Lafghanistan" could be a combination of "belly laugh" and "Afghanistan."
Questions asked in round one were worth one point. Round two featured "Smush Tri's", where a three-part clue would form one answer. ("White taco topping + Couch potato's device + Frito-Lay pretzel brand" would become "Sour Creamote Controld Gold." from "Sour Cream," "Remote Control," and "Rold Gold.") Smush Tri's were worth two points. The final question in round two was the "Smush Quad," in which a four-part clue was presented. This was worth three points, and often served as an important question in close-scoring games. The players with the lowest scores after rounds one and two were eliminated from play. Co-host Dergan would keep score in these first two rounds by placing numbers on top of each player's name.
Round three was called the "Smush Chain." Clues would be given one at a time to a smush that would grow progressively longer. To score, the player must buzz in and recite the entire chain, starting at the first clue. A total of seven clues were asked, the first of which served as the base of the smush, and was not a smush in itself. (For example, the chain might become "Leap Yeardrum Major Tommy Thompson Twin Cities," by combining "Leap Year," "Ear Drum," "Drum Major," "Major Tom," "Tommy Thompson," "Thompson Twins," and "twin cities.") The first clue was worth one point, the second clue was worth two points, and so on, up to seven points. The player with the highest score went on to the bonus round.
In the bonus round, the contestant would stand in front of a mirror while co-host Dergan wrote a word or phrase on it with lipstick. The contestant would then be given five clues which could individually smush into that phrase. (For example, given the root phrase "Red Cross," the contestant could create "Inbred Cross," "Red Crosseyed," etc.) Each answer was worth $1,000, and answering all five in 45 seconds won $8,000.