Bizarre Things That Happened On The Set Of Jeopardy


Airing under the steady hand of host Alex
Trebek since 1984, Jeopardy! is a smart game show for smart people. But every now and then, Jeopardy! lets its
hair down – or submits to the chaotic nature of the universe – and the well-oiled game
show machine collapses in on itself to hilarious effect. Jeopardy!’s producers like to mix up the format
once in a while. A stunt category can generate viral acclaim
or even elicit chuckles from the show’s notoriously serious contestants. Sometimes Jeopardy! enlists a celebrity to
read the clues, and they’ve employed the eager, young “Clue Crew” for a few years. But no format-breaking stunt will ever be
as fun or weird as Alex Trebek singing familiar nursery rhymes with his voice treated by Auto-Tune. Yes, that odd robotic voice effect utilized
on so many early 2000s hip-hop songs made its way to Jeopardy in 2010. Contestants correctly guessed all five entries
in the “Alex Meets Auto-Tune” category, in which Trebek creepily sang passages from public
domain songs. “…the pipes are calling, from glen to glen
and down the mountainside” Trebek clearly enjoyed this lark, too. “You know, I sound that way every day when
I’m not hosting Jeopardy.” In 2005, Jeopardy! held its first-ever Ultimate
Tournament of Champions, partially as an excuse to get 74-time winner Ken Jennings back for
a few high-profile episodes. In a special three-game final, Jennings squared
off for bragging rights against fellow champions Brad Rutter and Jerome Vered. The winner, Rutter, took home an astonishing
$2 million. During the final three-game stand, the contestants
concocted a unique way to relieve the stress of such high stakes: they’d play the game
free of the burden of pants. When host Alex Trebek found out about it,
he thought it would be a fun way to show solidarity, and so, when he came out onto the Jeopardy!
stage at the top of the episode, he was pantsless. “They said we must do the program without
trousers. Now can we get a camera behind to see if they’ve
done the same as I?” They hadn’t. You got pranked, Trebek. In a March 2015 episode, returning champion
Kristin Sausville laid waste to her competitors. By the time “Double Jeopardy” ended and “Final
Jeopardy” was ready to begin, one had amassed negative $200, and the other racked up negative
$6,800. Per Jeopardy! rules, they were ineligible
to compete in the game’s final round, leaving Kristen unopposed. Rounding out a day of futility, Kristin got
the final clue wrong. Fortunately, she bet a conservative $1,600
and took home $6,800 for the day. Trebek remarked that it was “not one of our
greatest days.” The “Final Jeopardy” category: State Capitals. The clue: “A 1957 event led to the creation
of a national historic site in this city, signed into law by a president whose library
is now there too.” The correct response: Little Rock, Arkansas. Heading into that last round, players Mike
and Claudia were tied with $13,800 each, with Randi at $6,000. Unfortunately for Randi, she bet everything,
and lost everything, because her reply was wrong. Viewers then learned that Claudia and Mike
had followed the same trajectory: betting everything on an incorrect response, resulting
in a three-way tie, with all three players registering $0. There was no returning champion on the next
episode. The rapper Coolio became the center of a Jeopardy!-related
pedantic storm in 2017. A contestant named Nick Spicher selected “Music
& Literature Before & After” for $1,600. The clue: “A song by Coolio from Dangerous
Minds goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton classic.” His response: “Nick.” “What is Gangster’s Paradise Lost?” Spichler got his $1,600 and the game continued,
but then judges reversed the decision. A judge explained on the Jeopardy! website: “The hard R sound caught the ear of one member
of the onstage team, who immediately followed up with a quick check. It turns out that ‘gangsta’ and ‘gangster’
are both listed separately in the Oxford English Dictionary, each with its own unique definition.” Spicher went on to win the game anyway. Alex Trebek voiced an animated version of
himself in a 2006 Family Guy cutaway gag, where Mayor Adam West writes “Kebert Xela,”
as his “Final Jeopardy” response. Alex reads it aloud and… “Ahhhhh!” “Only saying his name backwards can send him
back to the fifth dimension where he belongs.” On a 2007 Jeopardy! episode, returning champion
Jared Cohen entered “Final Jeopardy” with just $1. With no way of winning the game, he wrote
“What is Kebert Xela?” “I heard that sends you back to another dimension.” “Sends me back where?” “To another dimension.” “To another dimension, yes.” Jeopardy!’s “Kids Week” is no cake walk. The judges hold the young players to the same
impossibly high standards as the adults. Maybe it builds character; we can only hope
it did for poor Thomas Hurley in 2013. On the last “Final Jeopardy” clue of the tournament,
Hurley thought he had the right response, “Emancipation Proclamation.” But he added an extra “t.” “That’s unfortunate. The judges are ruling against you.” Hurley lost the $3,000 he bet, taking his
score down too $6,600. Contestant Skyler Hornback also wrote down
the correct response, but spelled it the right way, winning $66,600. So Hurley wouldn’t have won anyway, but it’s
still a harsh moment. Jeopardy! is a rapid-fire game show, which
means sometimes contestants find salacious things coming out of their mouths that even
they didn’t expect. On the clue, “If Andy yearns for Brenda & Brenda
cares about Charlene who pines for Andy, the 3 of them form one of these,” contestant Kara
Spak speedily buzzed in. “What is a threesome?” The audience laughed, she cringed, and another
contestant correctly responded, “What is a love triangle?” Then Alex couldn’t help but joke about the
slip-up. “Kara has obviously had much more experience
than I.” While Alex Trebek has hosted other shows and
a different host – Art Fleming – preceded him, it’s hard to imagine Jeopardy! without
the Canadian stalwart behind the podium. Which is why a 1997 switcheroo was so surprising. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! run back-to-back
on many local TV stations, and it must have shocked viewers when their hosts got mixed
up. Trebek helmed an episode of Wheel of Fortune,
while that show’s regular host, Pat Sajak, stepped into Trebek’s shoes over on Jeopardy! It was all a gag; the episodes aired on April
1, 1997, April Fool’s Day. Jeopardy! once again embraced the spirit of
April Fool’s Day for its April 1, 2016 episode. Producers loaded the half-hour show with10
Easter eggs, and neither Trebek nor any of the contestants made any mention of the zaniness
afoot. It was up to viewers to spot each joke. A few examples: The show recycled footage
of Trebek’s famous pantsless entrance from 2015. All the players’ scores briefly appeared backwards. After a commercial break, the “JEOPARDY!”
slug at the bottom of the screen was misspelled. When Trebek asked contestant Todd to select
a clue, IBM supercomputer Watson briefly appeared as “Todd.” And in that sweet spot where fun prank and
fan-service meet, Trebek appeared in some old footage with his famous mustache, which
he’d shaved off years earlier. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
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15 Replies to “Bizarre Things That Happened On The Set Of Jeopardy

  1. Alex Trebeck has been a part of my daily life for the past 35 years and it will be a sad day for me when he is no longer on the show 😭

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