"It's actually a documentary about a really great party, a great game and really good food," says Balaban, most recognizable from a slew of great movies, including "A Mighty Wind" and "Best in Show."
Balaban, Oscar-winner Hilary Swank (search) and her hubby, Chad Lowe (search), are the driving forces behind the short-run series, which airs for five nights starting Monday at 9 p.m. EDT on AMC (search).
The show pits more than 40 celebrities against each other -- including Stanley Tucci, Lorraine Bracco, Julianna Margulies, Bebe Neuwirth, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jill Clayburgh, Billy Baldwin and Hank Azaria -- in wicked games of charades for charity.
Everyone who participated had the same amount of money donated to their favorite cause, while the winners' big prize was the opportunity to sneer at the losers.
"You just get to be superior and lord it over the other people," says Balaban. "It's amazing how interested people can get in winning, considering they don't get anything for it."
The show is based on the age-old parlor game, in which a player acts out a given clue while teammates try to guess what it is.
Between games, and in some cases afterwards, the stars gather for a meal and mingle.
"Win, Lose or Draw," the popular game show invented by Burt Reynolds in the late 1980s, was based on a similar concept -- except players tried to draw the clues on paper instead.
In this version, two teams separate into rooms in a New York City loft. They are each given the same set of clues and have to be the first to figure out the overall theme of the puzzle while trying to beat the clock.
"If you win two out of three games, it just means ... uh, you're better," says Balaban. "People get very excited to win. They can be cruel. There's a lot harassing and teasing. A lot of: 'I told you I was smarter.'"
In one instance, actress Rosie Perez got so excited she ran into the wrong room, shouted out an answer and nearly got bitten by the dog that lived in the loft.
To make matters worse, her competitors were in that room and she had given them the answer.
"She nearly stepped on the dog," jokes Balaban dryly. "That's the most dangerous it got. It's actually really emotionally dangerous.
"It's not physically dangerous -- except for the dog."