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Ken Jennings is young, wild, and wants the world to know it

Photo: Rodin Eckenroth (Getty Images)

Regardless of how Jeopardy!’s current “Greatest Of All Time” tournament shakes out, Ken Jennings has used his return to the trivia show to cement a reputation as one of the strongest contestants it’s ever hosted. He’s cleaned up in the series and is currently poised to win if next week goes his way. But a preternatural skill at Jeopardy! isn’t all that defines Jennings. Oh no. He’s also a hip young guy who now wants to share his knowledge of sex techniques and youthful lingo with the world.

Perhaps because the moon has been positioned in the sky just right lately, Jennings used last night to shake up his clean-cut image a little bit. First, in response to a question about the “2-word phrase” featured in Taylor Lorenz’s article on inter-generational conflict for The New York Times, Jennings happily answered: “I get to say it to Alex! What is ‘OK, boomer?’” The crowd laughed and Trebek offered a “Thank you, thank you” (even though, as plenty of people across the internet are happy to point out, Trebek was actually born early enough that he’s a member of the Silent Generation, not a Baby Boomer).

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Having proved he’s up on the lingo of the day, Jennings later spotted an opportunity to express his non-trivia personality even further. Fellow “Greatest Of All Time” contestant James Holzhauer, soon after being defeated by The Mighty Ken on Thursday’s game, told Twitter, “My wife is going to make me roleplay as @KenJennings tonight.” That rapscallion Jennings, spotting an opportunity for the kind of joke that would never play under Trebek’s roof, used his out-of-studio time to respond, simply: “It’s all about timing on the button.”

This is, plainly, a very good reply to Holzhauer’s tweet, but it does call into question how much further Jennings will take this more relaxed, funny guy persona as the tournament winds up. If he wins, can we expect to see him dab? Will he, perhaps, take a skateboard out from under the podium and do a cool kickflip to celebrate his victory? For now, all we can do is wait with bated breath until next week’s “Greatest Of All Time” conclusion to find out.

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[via Entertainment Weekly]

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.