In September, for no particular reason, a seven-year-old video of Alex Trebek’s unimpressed response to somebody answering a question in Tom Hardy’s Bane voice went viral again. We were happy to revisit it, and so were our readers.
Jeopardy! clips, we posited, tend to occupy a particular realm of internet immortality, one comprised of “moments and images that burn bright then seem to vanish, only to reemerge somehow stronger, brighter, funnier.” The flood of Trebek videos, jokes, and speeches that reemerged in the wake of the host’s death on Sunday only reinforces that hypothesis.
Tributes to Trebek, whose optimism while struggling with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer inspired many, took numerous forms. Perhaps none, however, delighted as much as the many (well-meaning!) dunks he made on contestants over the years. Who can forget when he distilled nerdcore artists down to their essence—“Losers, in other words”—or chastised some very smart dorks for knowing nothing about football?
Or when he was dubbed “insensitive” for responding to a woman’s story about how her pygmy goat died after eating a bag of Quikrete with a query: “Was it a 60-pound or an 80-pound bag?”
As one very wise soul on Twitter said, “Alex Trebek was proof that you can be a kind person who also bullies nerds, 100% legend.”
Trebek’s clean-cut surface-seriousness allowed his blunt-force humor to land harder than that of most TV hosts, the modern standard of which tend to indulge in a kind of manic playfulness. So polished was his sense of professionalism that his moments of surprise felt, well, surprising.
We expect Steve Harvey or Drew Carey to stroll onstage without pants on. But Trebek? He earned that shit.
Trebek, too, was never afraid to let his hair down. Take the below scene from 2018's Game Changers documentary, in which Trebek makes Regis Philbin a turkey sandwich and changes into a kelly green sweater “just in your honor.” (Warning: This clip will make you sad about Regis again, too.)
Also trending this week? Trebek’s very first episode of Jeopardy! from 1984. Watch the cold open below and marvel at how fully-formed the man was from the get-go. And that mustache!
Now, because we’re all getting as choked up as Trebek does in this very sweet clip, some Celebrity Jeopardy!.
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