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How I got on Jeopardy! And how you can watch on Friday

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Here’s everything you need to know about my Jeopardy! appearance tomorrow.

Hey there, CQ readers. Got some big exciting non-IU news.

Tomorrow night I will be a contestant on Jeopardy!

Just over three months ago, I flew out to Los Angeles to tape my episode, say some answers in the form of a question, and of course, meet Alex Trebek.

When I wasn’t watching sports or cartoons as a kid, I was probably watching game shows. I’ve always been a big trivia fan - My high school quiz bowl team back in Vermont won a state title, and in Bloomington I would go to Scotty’s or The Tap to play trivia most weeks. Now, I host pub trivia at a bar once a week. So, as you can imagine, being on Jeopardy was always a dream of mine. And when the opportunity arose last summer to be on the show, I had to take advantage of it.

If you’re in the Indy area or Bloomington, Jeopardy airs at 7:30pm on the NBC affiliate WTHR. For other areas, just enter your zip code here to find out what time Jeopardy is on.

And now, I’ll try to answer the most frequently questions I’ve gotten asked the most since I got on the show.

How did you qualify to be on the show in the first place?

First of all, you have to take a 50-question online test. Jeopardy offers these about once a year. If you do well enough on that, then you do an in-person audition. There you’re promptly given another 50-question test, this time in person and with fewer seconds to answer. Next in the audition, you play a mock version of the game and do a mock interview. You then are put in the contestant pool for the next 18 months, meaning that the show could call you at any point during that time, and if not then you just won’t hear from them. Luckily, I got the call about two months after my audition. This was actually my fourth total audition - I tried out twice for the college tournament and twice for the real thing. Most people audition multiple times before being chosen.

Where is the show taped?

At Sony Studios, right outside of Los Angeles in Culver City. The Jeopardy set is right next door to the set of Wheel of Fortune.

What’s it like being on stage? Were you nervous?

Oh yeah. It’s impossible not to be nervous. The contestant coordinators do a great job of making sure we are all having fun and are staying loose, but still, it’s hard not to be a little in awe of everything on a television set. Also, it’s a much different feeling playing with the buzzer, answering in the form of a question, and waiting for Alex to finish reading the question before buzzing in, as opposed to my usual technique of yelling out the answer from my living room couch as soon as I know it.

What’s Alex Trebek like? Do the contestants get to hang out with him and quote their favorite lines from SNL and do Sean Connery impersonations?

The only interaction I got with Alex was during the taping of the show itself, when we do the interview after the first break, and when he talks to us at the end of the show while the credits are rolling. And, I got a picture taken with him in between the Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy rounds. But alas, no additional interaction with him. I hear he occasionally shows up at auditions though - especially in Canada, since he grew up in Ontario.

What are the other contestants like?

They tape 5 episodes a day, so you get to meet about a dozen of the other contestants in the green room beforehand. Everyone was very friendly and smart - I could tell whoever I’d be up against would be good competition.

Can you tell us what happens?

No.

Aww come on man, I wanna know!

No! What’s the fun in that? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Did Alex ask you who the NCAA’s #1 All-Time March Madness Team was?

No, but my response would have been “Who is the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers?”

Were any coaches in attendance? I hear Jim Harbaugh likes Judge Judy and Tom Izzo is a big Judge Mathis fan.

No coaches in the audience from what I could tell (unless you want to count my dad, who coached my some of my sports teams as a kid). I was hoping Lavar Ball would show up but I guess Jeopardy has yet to secure that Big Baller Brand sponsorship.


So, now that you know a little more about Jeopardy, here’s your schedule for your Friday night:

1. Watch me on Jeopardy!

(Check your local listings, but it’s likely on at 7pm or 7:30pm in your area unless you’re in Chicago where it’s at 3:30pm central time because Chicago has to be different.)

2. Watch Indiana men’s soccer play UNC in the College Cup Semifinal at 8:45pm on ESPNU.

Let’s do this. See you on TV.