What follows is a very brief excerpt of my newly published eBook, "How I Got on Jeopardy!...and Actually Won!" The full book is available on Amazon.com for a very low price.
Today is March 24, 2007, nearly a full month after my trip to Los Angeles. For anyone who stumbled across this by accident (because lord knows my friends all have heard versions and sections of this story already), I recently spent a good amount of time preparing for, thinking about, and appearing on the show Jeopardy. So that’s what all this is about.
I’m sitting here, in a Borders café, trying to figure out exactly how to explain all this. I also want to do my best to remember everything exactly as it happened and what I was thinking at the time. Of course, I haven’t actually seen it on television yet, and I’m sure that will jog some memories (or provide nightmarish flashbacks, whatever). Regardless, I wanted to write everything down for anyone who wants to know all the gory details.
I guess the easiest analogy is Mount Everest. No, that’s almost too easy, people can pay to be taken up Mount Everest. Maybe it’s more like the Super Bowl, a high pressure situation, over before you even realize it, with a lot of random chance involved in the ultimate outcome. Although NFL players can get back to the Super Bowl if they lose while on Jeopardy you only get your one shot at game show immortality. Maybe that makes winning Jeopardy harder than winning the Super Bowl. So fuck you Tom Brady.
The story actually begins sometime in the Winter of 2006. I was sitting at my desk at work, trying to think of ways to pass the time because let’s face it, offices can be boring at times. As is typically the case during the day, I’d run out of interesting articles to read or funny videos to watch, and needed some new diversion. Somehow, someway, I ended up going to the Jeopardy web page.
This wasn’t something completely new to me, the Jeopardy web page. I had gone there at least a couple times before trying to figure out how to be a contestant. Why? The same reasons everyone else has, fame, fortune, and all those Jeopardy groupies. I’ve always been a casual viewer of the show, and always thought I could do well if I just got the chance to get on there. I even knew the process, going to Los Angeles, taking a test, and a subsequent audition if you passed. And even though they specifically say don’t come to Los Angeles just to take the test, I have to say the idea had crossed my mind.
It wasn’t just false confidence (believe me, I have enough trouble with REAL confidence). Back in college, I tried out for the college edition of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. I passed that test no problem, but must’ve failed the part where they want you to be interesting and/or really really good looking. But who cares about Millionaire? Jeopardy has and always will be the holy grail of quiz shows. The opening theme, the form of a question phrasing, the condescending Canadian host, it’s the stuff little trivia genius’ dreams are made of.
So I was shocked to see they offered a new online test for contestant applicants! It was only a couple of days away, but I devoured all the information on the web site. It would be offered on one day, 8pm if I remember correctly, and would consist of 50 questions. If you passed you would be eligible to meet up with the production staff for another test and a full audition.