It’s 3 p.m.! Let The A.V. Club briefly make use of the waning hours of your productivity with some pop culture ephemera pulled from the depths of YouTube.
When the gameplay wraps on a gameshow, the day isn’t necessarily done. There are pickups, promos, tosses to local affiliates, and any number of other odds and ends to record. For Jeopardy!, which shoots an entire week’s episodes in one day, this can make for some lengthy afternoons. It’s hard to blame host Alex Trebek for wanting a drink as the day drags on.
The clip above contains outtakes from a 1990 promo for Phone Jeopardy!, a $5-per-minute 1-900 call-in version the game. Here Trebek can be seen getting increasingly annoyed and seemingly drunk as the shoot goes on.
“Keep watching Jeopardy, 24 hours a day, and call this number... you dumb son of a bitch, you don’t watch it 24 hours a day,” he says before hanging up a prop phone in disgust.
“Ah fuck,” he later adds.
Of course, we can’t say for certain that Trebek is drunk solely from watching the clip. Perhaps he was having a bad day, or simply can’t contain his hatred for Phone Jeopardy, which other promotional outtakes back up:
Maybe Alex Trebek prefers drinking all his beverages from wine glasses and cans that look a lot like beer. For what it’s worth, in a 2014 interview with Dan Patrick, Trebek claimed he wasn’t drunk, just being a dick. But if there’s no way to prove that Trebek was ingesting a few potent potables at work, what we can be certain of is that he does enjoy drinking before work. Here’s Trebek on that topic in a 2014 New Republic profile:
It’s impersonations of Hollywood icons that Trebek really nails, though he doesn’t like to let on how much effort he puts into the routines. “I’ve noticed in the last few years, I don’t think I’m very good at them anymore,” he told the “Jeopardy!” audience during one time-out. “Probably a factor of too much alcohol.
“If I could learn to stop drinking the morning of taping, that would help a lot,” Trebek continued. “But you see, um, I have trouble sleeping. Yesterday, for instance, I woke up at two o’clock and was awake until 5:15 and then my alarm went off at 5:25. Today I woke up at 3:00 and was awake until 5:20. . . . I’m of the old school, which says, ‘It’s five o’clock somewhere, so why not now?!’ ”
Elsewhere in the profile Trebek describes his exercise routine as “I drink,” brags about getting the most out of a split check at lunch by being the only one drinking, and jokes that “I no longer drink when I drive, I pull over to the side of the road.” In addition to drinking, Trebek also has been known to eat an entire tray of weed brownies. Overall, Trebek seems like he’d be a fun guy to hang out with. Just don’t ask him to promote Phone Jeopardy!