Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I was on Jeopardy twice.

I won.


I interviewed Bob Barker (The Price is Right), Pat Sajak(Wheel of Fortune) and Alex Trebek for a series on CBS I did on Game Show Hosts. It was that last interview that set me up to appear on Jeopardy. They had a thing called Celebrity Jeopardy and when Alex found out how big a fan I was of the show, he said he would personally see that I was on it. Now, some purists might say 'Celebrity' makes it an easier game.

Didn't care.

I was going to be on Jeopardy.

Before I knew it, I was in their Green Room going over the dos and don'ts of the game. Wait until Alex finished saying the answer before you rang in with your question because if you were early ringing in, you were blocked out.  Don't get discouraged if you fall behind. Stuff like that.

I played against Robin Quivers, Howard Stern's sidekick. A little known fact is that when I left Detroit radio to go to a Chicago radio station, I was replaced by a young DJ from Hartford, Connecticut. Howard Stern.

Actor and Saturday Night Live alum ("making copies"... the movie Deuce Bigalow) Rob Schneider rounded out our threesome.

And the game was on.

Alex called it, "The Annual Exercise in Humility."  At the end of the Jeopardy round, I had $4100, Robin had $2500, and Rob (who was very funny) had $800. We played for charities and mine was CSAAC. Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children in Rockville, Maryland. I have an autistic brother who lives there, Sean, and they do great work.

Double Jeopardy was next and when that smoke cleared it was me with $11,700, Robin, $6500 and Rob, $700. The Final Jeopardy category was Mountains. The answer was Range of Mountains where Danny Kaye, Alan King and Rip Van Winkle gained fame. I was the only who wrote down the correct question: What is the Catskills, and victory was mine.


It also vindicated Alex, since he'd gone out on a limb for me and I proved him right. Win and win. All during the flight home I kept laughing to myself, thinking, "Wait till they see this." I won on Jeopardy.

I found out after it ran that you can know your stuff and be erudite (look it up) but if you win on Jeopardy? People all over the country say, "You're smart!"

Right after it aired, Howard Stern had me on his radio show to play again. When we did, the winner was...Fred Norris. Fred is a member of his posse and pretty smart. Actually, I didn't really care. It's one thing to win at Jeopardy on the Howard Stern Show. It's another thing to win on national television.

I think the word you're looking for is Booyah.
Jerry Orbach and Jennifer Grey

The second Jeopardy win was tougher.

It was called The Jeopardy Celebrity Invitational and Alex said, "We have invited back three former champions. The highest scoring celebrities in the tournament in which they participated in." It included the late Jerry Orbach. You know him from Law and Order. You may also know him from the movie Dirty Dancing. Remember the line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner?" Jerry Orbach played Baby's father.

Third guy? Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong who at that time was on a hit show, Nash Bridges. By the way, do not be deceived by the whole stoner mystique that surrounded Cheech and Chong. Cheech was very smart.

Gentlemen start your engines.
Cheech Marin, Don Johnson

After the first round it was Cheech at $3700, Jerry Orbach had $1400, and me in last place with $1200. It didn't look so good for the Kid. I remember thinking, "I don't have it today."

Double Jeopardy was different.

Before it started this ran through my head, "Play the board don't play the other contestants." I caught fire and my score caught fire, as well. At the end of that round it was Jerry with $3800, Cheech $5200, and me with $8800. I'd come a long way but we still had to play Final Jeopardy. The category was Words.

And then we went to commercial.

When we came back, Alex revealed the clue. "Merrythought is an old chiefly British term for this part of the chicken." You know the music they play at the end of Final Jeopardy as they show the contestants writing the answer? That music seemed like it went on forever.

Jerry wrote down--What is wishbone? That's correct. He bet everything and doubled his score. Cheech wrote down--What is comb? Which, as we know, was wrong. Bet it all and lost it all. I wrote down wishbone, bet $3000, and finished on top.

Hallelujah! I had won again.

And that's the story of how I won twice on Jeopardy.

Subscribe to my blog: Mark McEwen's World
Follow me on twitter: @mcewenmark
Like my page on facebook:
And also visit my website:

No comments:

Post a Comment