Alex Trebek seems like a nice man; he smiles, he speaks in a soft tone, he changes up his facial hair on a relaxing, generational scale. He certainly doesn’t seem to deserve the enduring nightmare that was forced upon him when Will Ferrell, Norm Macdonald, Darrell Hammond, and a team of Saturday Night Live writers brought the show’s “Celebrity Jeopardy” series of sketches to life. Who can say how many times Trebek’s affable Canadian face has fallen after being accosted by requests to “Suck it,” or after hearing his mother’s honor impugned? How many times has he had to smile in the face of declarations that “the penis mightier?” At the very least, though, the genial game show host could hopefully think he was safe from the attacks in his place of sanctuary, the temple to knowledge known as Sony Pictures’ Stage 10, where Jeopardy! is taped. At least, he could have, before today.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that the show’s latest Final Jeopardy invited contestants to “Blame Canada” if they wanted to score a win, it seems that one player, fact checker Talia Lavin, was unable to resist twisting the knife a little further. Instead of the correct answer, Lavin—who struggled with the buzzer throughout the game, earning one of Trebek’s rare, signature Gentle Jokes—wrote “The Love Ballad Of Turd Ferguson p.s. Hi Mom :),” which Trebek, being a consummate professional, was obligated to read on the nationally syndicated airwaves. (He omitted the smiley face.) This, despite the fact that no song even exists, and that “Turd Ferguson” was the fake name Norm Macdonald used while playing Burt Reynolds on SNL, and that Alex Trebek is a grown, dignified man who doesn’t need to say the word “turd” anymore. Anyway, because Alex Trebek is a modern saint, he took the response in good humor, and, if Twitter is to be believed, Lavin is alive and well, happily retweeting everybody talking about her, which may have been the plan all along. Which we wouldn’t play into, except she made Alex Trebek say the words “Turd Ferguson,” which is pretty funny when you stop and think about it.