5 Times Alex Trebek Was Funny on Jeopardy!

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5 Times Alex Trebek Was Funny on Jeopardy!

Alex Trebek, the legendary “Jeopardy!” host who died at the age of 80 on Sunday, will undoubtedly be remembered for his matter-of-fact manners and no-nonsense attitude. Over the course of 37 years, he commanded the game show with a steady delivery of questions (always in the form of an answer), and silently demanded the best from contestants, asserting his steely gaze on them as he awaited their answers. At times, he could be intimidating, but his quick wit and love of knowledge endeared him to the audience and transformed Trebek into something of a grandmentor to trivia nerds across the country.

He took the game seriously but never himself, and despite his tendency towards reservedness, he could at times be friggin’ hilarious. Always game for a good ribbing, the beloved host knew how to lower the temperature whenever things on the “Jeopardy!” set got too serious.

Below are five of Trebek’s funniest moments.

“Losers In Other Words”

Back in 2016, Alex Trebek delivered the decade’s sickest burn. After listening to a contestant describe the kind of people who like “nerdcore hip-hop,” Trebek nodded his head and offered a single-word assessment of her description: “Losers.” Brief but brutal.

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No Pants Trebek

2005’s Tournament of Champions was a tense time on the “Jeopardy!” set. According to game show legend, to relieve some of the tension, one of the contestants suggested they tape the show without their pants on. Upon hearing this news, Trebek, ever the supportive host, decided to join in on the no-pants party. In this clip, Trebek marches on stage in his dress socks and boxers and says, “I was informed back stage a few minutes ago that our three contestants Ken, Brad, and Jerome wanted to relieve some of the tension and said we must do the program without trousers.” Upon realizing that the contestants didn’t make good on their promise, Trebek quickly exits stage left while the entire audience applauds. Tension, relieved.

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“I Can Tell You Guys Are Big Football Fans”

It’s always the ones who aren’t trying to be funny that end up being the most hilarious. During this amazing scene, three “Jeopardy!” contestants fail to answer a single question about football which is the only category left on the board. After a contestant misses the $400 question, Trebek, sensing this won’t end well for any of them, asks “Should we just cut to commercial?”

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MC Trebek

An old white man rapping is the layup of comedy. In terms of netting a laugh, it’s easy but reliable material. Alex Trebek made the bit better by turning in performances that were subdued and serious as opposed to over the top. Instead of taking on a character, he stuck to his own, carefully reading lyrics penned by Lil Wayne, Drake, Biggy, and Kendrick Lamar.

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Appearing on “Saturday Night Live”

Without Alex Trebek there for Sean Connery to mercilessly barb, the Celebrity Jeopardy sketches on “Saturday Night Live” wouldn’t have been nearly as funny. Will Ferrell’s deadpan performance of Trebek was the perfect foil for Darrell Hammond’s crude and deranged interpretation of Sean Connery. Props are in order then for the host who inspired the sketch and proved he could take a joke or two when he showed up for a surprise cameo back in 2002.

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Abigail Covington is a journalist and cultural critic based in Brooklyn, New York but originally from North Carolina, whose work has appeared in Slate, The Nation, Oxford American, and Pitchfork

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