Home Forums Humor & Entertainment Jeopardy!

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    How do they do it? How can these guys know all those answers, on all sorts of quaint subjects, Bang! Bang! Bang!

    How do you even get on to that show as a contestent? Must one be a rocket scientist? Do they study for it before their big day? What do they study for crying out loud!

    And, most importantly, why would anyone care to know so much useless stuff?? And waste so much precious time out of their lives learning all that garbage.

    I mean, hey, I know a decent number of answers before one of the contestents rings out “What is Ronald Reagan.” (And what’s up with that “What is” shtick.) But that’s the mundane information (which does get on the show.) But all those weird questions, wow!

    And, man, that Alex Trebek… he’s been there forever.


    It’s not so difficult, really. All it takes is keeping an eye on the news, reading history books, and having a decent retention rate.


    The program is almost 50 years old. The form of a question shtick is just that — to differentiate it from other quiz shows.

    I used to vanpool with a guy who had been on Jeopardy back in the Art Fleming days (no, Alex Trebek has not been on forever). My friend won the first day, but then bet the whole amount in Final Jeopardy on the second day and ended up losing. The question was something about Bette Davis.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Sam2– My dad was just like that but with an amazing retention rate.


    My father and I have a joke that if we went on together we would win- I know all the random history and literature facts and he knows all of the old pop culture facts (along with a very decent command of the other topics as well).

    I wanted to try out (there’s an online test they give every March) but the show is filmed on Shabbos.


    writersoul: I once got very far in the tryout process. It’s not always filmed on Shabbos and they make allowances for Frum Jews and Seventh-day adventists (at least, they did when I tried for the teen show).


    writersoul, where did you get this info? Jeopardy! is actually very accommodating of frum people– there was an online test over Sukkos a few years ago and they were flooded with complaints. They ultimately let us take the test on an alternate date. I have been taking the test for years and so far have not received “the call”.

    A quick google search turns up someone’s blog. He says that he attended a taping of the show of July 18, 2007, which happens to have been a Wednesday.

    shikron, yes, it is possible to study for the show. There are certain categories that are more common and one can reasonably expect to encounter them– for instance, gourmet food, ballet, opera, U.S. presidents, state capitals, and “potent potables” (alcoholic drinks).

    I think it’s actually very valuable to know the information that shows up on Jeopardy! It’s always broadening to educate yourself on a variety of subjects. I was really excited when my college made it into a Jeopardy! clue recently.


    jewishfeminist: To be completely honest, I never actually tried out after I heard that they film on Shabbos (I found this information on the website- I could theoretically have misread, and maybe it’s a recent development, but I remember getting a very strong impression)- I didn’t know they made allowances, and I didn’t think I would ASK or anything.

    I’m still on the email list, though- maybe I’ll try out this time (you think my school would kick me out if I got on? 🙂 Then again, you probably need to be pretty and photogenic and not heavy…).

    I’d honestly LOVE to go on. Especially since I’d be on the teen show, which would be extraordinarily easy except that I’m not exactly up to date on music and stuff.


    You pick up most Jeopardy material from being well read.

    Also, there’s a way of listening to the questions to figure out what they’re asking that’s often more simple than it appears. I can’t really think of an example of that right now.


    Yes, try to get on to the teen tournament if you can! I was so upset that I missed out on both the teen and college tournaments and now have to compete with 60 year olds who have had more education and life experience…oh well 🙁

    I used to watch the show “religiously” (I don’t mean this literally, so please don’t take offense) and I saw many contestants of different body types, etc. competing. They definitely pick contestants based on personality and if you don’t come across as “likable” they won’t pick you even if you’re a genius, but I don’t think looks are taken into account.

    Hatzlacha! Let us know if you get on 🙂


    I was once at a conference at Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, on a Thursday (IIRC.) They were filming Jeopardy! in the next room over from where our conference was. (The show spent a whole week in Chicago at that time.)


    jewishfeminist02: I have one more year for the teen tournament- I think I really will try out… *omigosh!* 🙂 Except this is the one situation where I regret my old-movie-centric popular entertainment habits.

    I sure hope I’m likable :)… Problem is that I’m not photogenic AT ALL.

    I never watched “religiously” or anything, but I’ve seen enough that I think I’d do pretty well. I remember kind of snickering at some of the teen questions, though.

    BTW: They have a website, J! Archives, with the questions from all 29 seasons, including the names and bios of every single contestant. I’m pretty sure it also includes celebrity, teen, and college games.

    Biology (joseph)

    That’s a bit far-fetched. More likely is that they are much less successful. Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein wrote a book about the idea.


    Biology: I’m not saying those are the numbers (that WOULD be ridiculous), but the concept that maybe the number of people auditioning is disproportionate is not far-fetched at all.

    The type of person who would try out for Jeopardy in the first place probably has at least a relatively decent ability in the first place- remember, there are so many factors that go into selection, whether logistics (can you take off from work long enough to try out/film, are you within a reasonable distance of the place where they shoot), personality and photogenicity (yes, that’s a word, I googled it just to make sure), etc. Intelligence and knowledge are part of it but not the entire thing.

    I’d be careful basing this off that book, though. The APA did an investigation of it afterward, and while most of the ideas were found to be true, many of the ideas concerning race and genetic intelligence were discredited. Even so there are plenty of books debating the concepts behind the bell curve when it comes to intelligence.

    While that is always the case in science, don’t rely on it like the law.


    A frum woman whom I know, was on the show and won the first day and did ok on the second. I doubt they gave her any problem about the taping. They surely tape during the week also. It’s way in advance.

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