Despite Jeopardy!’s reputation as a straightforward and occasionally pretentious quiz show, its writers sure know how to have fun. Sure, contestants can get a laugh with a hilariously wrong or just plain hilarious answer (sometimes to shocking degrees), but they’re not the only ones having fun! Amidst more traditional trivia, writers will often pepper in a category with a punny name or an outlandish topic, prompting a laugh from contestants and audience members alike. Maybe they borrowed some of the Saturday Night Live writers room for these! Keep reading to learn about 30 of Jeopardy!’s silliest categories, and test your trivia skills along the way by answering a question or two from each one.
“Peanut” “Butter” “Jelly” “Time”
In this kooky category, contestants were called upon to make the word “peanut,” “butter,” “jelly,” or “time” part of their answer. Its title references the classic viral meme featuring The Buckwheat Boyz’s song of the same name and a dancing banana emoticon.
Question: The sea nettle is one of these blobby creatures with stinging tentacles.
Question: Alliterative name for chunks of Styrofoam that spill all over the floor when unpacking a box you’ve received.
Gee whiz, I hope you know your undersea stuff! This cute category uses a silly pun to get its point across: this column of questions requires the contestants to call upon their knowledge of all things algae.
Question: Algae range from microscopic organisms up to giant species of this saltwater type that reaches 200 feet in length.
Question: Some green algae reproduce through asexual mitosis, in which these important genetic components are split into identical pairs that migrate to the two new cells.
SNL Cracks Us Up
What’s sillier than the most famous variety comedy sketch show of all time? In this episode, players were challenged to answer questions about famous skits and minute details of the show alike.
Question: Andy Samberg played this “Ted” actor as he “Talks to Animals” on “SNL”; say hi to your mother for me, okay?
Question: In 2015 “SNL,” & specifically this actress, cracked up Ryan Gosling as she described her abduction by aliens.
“Ow”! “Oof”! “Ack”!
This onomatopoeic category called upon contestants to incorporate one of the aforementioned exclamations into each of their answers. Turns out it’s easy to hide any of these three common expressions of discomfort in everyday words!
Question: A-yup, it means ridiculous or silly, as in the name of a Disney dog.
Question: They’re available for a reasonable $250 at Sajak’s House o’ Letters.
Zodiac Rhyme Time
Calling all aspiring astrologers! This category required that contestants decipher jokey clues to create rhymes with specific zodiac signs. In other words, one needs knowledge of the stars and the thesaurus to answer these funny questions correctly.
Question: A new breed of dinosaur whose name means “bull lizard.”
Question: The fishes’ frozen carbonated beverages in a variety of flavors.
I’m Sorry, Dave
Gosh, Daves everywhere can’t seem to catch a break, huh? In this episode, players were asked about well-known apologies issued to several famous Davids.
Question: A 2008 Best Picture nominee hinges on whether a former president will apologize during an interview with this man.
Question: Before losing to David Cook, he sang “Apologize” with One Republic on the 2008 “American Idol” finale.
Straight Outta Compost
This category’s witty title juxtaposes the name of the groundbreaking and controversial biopic about a gangsta rap supergroup with, well, compost. These compost questions might not be as riveting as Straight Outta Compton, but environmentalists will be pleased to see their favorite quiz show inadvertently promoting sustainability.
Question: Done with that Hubba Bubba or Nicorette? Yes, you can go ahead & compost this.
Question: After finishing a $15,000 bottle of 1985 Richebourg Grand Cru, you can put this in your heap, as long as it’s natural.
Been on the internet lately? In this episode, contestants were challenged to recall their knowledge of recent silly online trends.
Question: For some reason, a picture of this athlete crying after his NBA Hall of Fame induction in 2009 became meme-worthy in ’16.
Question: 2013 was the year of this saucy dance, even done by Willie of “Duck Dynasty” on the Country Music Awards.
In terms of punny names, this category takes the cake—er, c-eh-ke. Players had to answer questions about Canadian ballet, making this one extra niche group of questions.
Question: “Not only the lovers… swoon” was said of this Shakespearean work from the National Ballet of Canada in 2009.
Romeo and Juliet
Question: Alberta Ballet’s “The Fiddle and the Drum” is set to the songs of this female singer born in Alberta.
This is One Slimy Category
Eww! While these questions may not have been written to disgust contestants, they definitely bring to mind all things gooey and gross. See if you know these slimy answers.
Question: The picture seen here represents this idiom, meaning a source of an unpredictable problem.
Can of worms
Question: The sliminess of this vegetable seen here in cross-section is what helps it to thicken soups & stews.
Here’s the Naked Truth
Episode: Friday, December 29, 2017
Ready to bare it all? Even though Jeopardy! may be appropriate for the whole family, these questions all revolve around nudity.
Question: This magazine that pretty much owns the nude pregnant celebrity cover showcased Serena Williams in August 2017.
Question: “O” my, said viewers at the Salon of 1865 on seeing this very un-romanticized nude by Manet.
This category’s title brings to mind the classic children’s craft putty, Play Dough. However, each question asks about a theatrical play or musical involving money in its plot or lyrics. Pretty punny, huh?
Question: In this show, Nathan Detroit needs a thousand bucks for the oldest established permanent floating crap game in N.Y.
Guys and Dolls
Question: This character in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” says he’s worth “ten million in cash an’ blue chip stocks.”
People Sexiest Man Alive Movie Team-Ups
Uh-oh, is this appropriate for prime-time? This column of questions asks contestants to test their knowledge of People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive annual recipients. There are some lookers in this category, for sure.
Question: Chris Hemsworth fought alongside this 2018 Sexiest Man who played Heimdall in all 3 “Thor” movies.
Question: Patrick Swayze & Keanu Reeves brought the sexy to this surfing/bank heist movie.
A (Taylor) Swift Category
Any Swifties in the audience? This category uses silly lyrical clues to ask contestants about all things Taylor Swift.
Question: “I knew you were” this “when you walked in.”
Question: “Someday I’ll be living in a big old city, & all you’re ever gonna be is” this.
Songs For Your Cat
Here, kitty kitty! This is a perfect cat-egory for any musical whizzes with a love for felines.
Question: Anything by this singer because she thanked her cat Kitty Purry in the credits of her 2008 debut album “One of the Boys.”
Question: Kitty can’t help but rock out when she hears Florence + the Machine belt out the hit called these “Are Over.”
Episode: Thursday, March 26, 2009
Need some lotion for those dry scrolling fingers? Contestants were tested on their knowledge of creams, ointments, and body butters with this slippery set of questions.
Question: Over-the-counter remedies for this teen affliction should have resorcinol, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
Question: The pink powder hemimorphite is also known as this, from which a soothing lotion is made.
A Whey With Puns
Hope you aren’t lactose intolerant! This category calls on contestants to integrate the name of this dairy byproduct into each answer to create a fun pun.
Question: This cliche says “where there’s” a document disposing of an estate, there’s also a 5% solution of lactose.
Where there’s a will, there’s a whey.
Question: It’s how you might learn by difficult experience, or the watery part of milk if it’s frozen solid.
The hard whey
There’s an Animal on the Billboard Chart
Let me hear you roar! Each answer in this category involves an especially wild pop song from the Billboard Hot 100.
Question: “Shake Me Down” by Cage the ____
Question: From Ylvis, “The ____ (What Does The ____ Say?)”
The Superb Owl
You may have heard of the Super Bowl, but what about the Superb Owl? After asking questions about the upcoming big game, this episode’s Double Jeopardy! round featured queries about all sorts of owl trivia.
Question: Not always living up to its name, the eastern this owl is known for its hollow whistles that run up & down the musical scale.
A screech owl
Question: These owl parts don’t move but still can make up 5% of the bird’s body weight; humans’ make up about 0.02%.
Johnny Gilbert Performs Today’s Hits
When Jeopardy!’s host need a break, a guest question-reader can provide a moment of levity. On this famous episode, entertainment legend Johnny Gilbert reads song lyrics of modern-day songs in his classic announcer dialect, making for a laugh-out-loud category.
Question: “If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it, ohohoh, ohohoh, ohohoh, ohohoh.”
Question: “I’m beginning to feel like a rap god, rap god, all my people from the front to the back nod, back nod.”
After an opening round category entitled “Comic Relief” that posed questions surrounding famous comedians, this Double Jeopardy! category used fun wordplay to put a spin on it. Instead of comedians, contestants were tested on their knowledge of well-known comic strips.
Question: Put out in 1941, More Fun Comics No. 73 had the first appearance of both Green Arrow & this underwater fella.
Question: T’Challa, AKA this superhero, was introduced in 1966 in a Fantastic 4 book; he hit the big screen in 2018.
The Black Panther
I Saw It On BuzzFeed
Before it became a staple of millennial internet history, BuzzFeed was featured on Jeopardy!. This category asks about viral memes and articles posted during the media company’s heyday.
Question: Scrunching up the face of a celeb is a meme named for this lazy arboreal mammal; Kristen Bell approves.
Question: BuzzFeed went viral with a post on the best (& worst) parodies of this Macklemore-Ryan Lewis song about a store.
I See What You Did There
Don’t be fooled by this category’s playfully accusatory title: it’s only trivia about optics—that is, the literal kind. Feast your eyes on these sight-based questions.
Question: What appears to be a simple bowl of water is actually filled with polymer-based jelly marbles that seem to disappear because they have the same index of this light-bending quality as the water.
Question: The ring is called a solar halo, and the two bright images on the side get this canine term when light passes through icy clouds.
The Ickiest of the “Icky”
Contrary to how it might sound, this category won’t make you “catch the ick.” Instead, it asked contestants to incorporate the word “icky” into every answer, making these a great set of questions for a wordy player with a good sense of humor.
Question: Before “wicket” it refers to a muddy part on the cricket pitch, or any awkward problem.
Question: A fussy baby who cries excessively is often described this way.
Played any Pictionary lately? In this category, a goofy graphic was used alongside a verbal hint to spell out clues for popular music groups. Watch the clip below to see these funny emojis in action.
Question: If you don’t like them, you must be a “Creep.”
Question: They have been affected by “Kryptonite.”
Three Doors Down
She wears shirt shorts, I wear…oh, how does that song go again? This funnily-named category asks contestants to identify various types of short-sleeved shirts.
Question: Simon Cowell is famous for wearing this letter-style T-shirt.
Question: Cilice is another word for this type of “shirt” worn by monks for extra filth & discomfort.
Fun With Dick and Jane
The Dick and Jane book series probably taught your grandparents how to read; now, they’re being spoofed on trivia shows. In this category, questions are written in the style of these children’s books, and the answer to each question is the name of a famous Dick or Jane—made adult, of course.
Question: See Dick. See Dick ride steeplechase in the ’50s. See Dick write “Bolt,” a 1986 mystery. Write, Dick. Write.
Question: See Jane. See Jane marry Lord Guildford Dudley at age 15 in 1553. See Jane have a rough 1554. Heads up, Jane. Heads up.
Lady Jane Grey
In the Urban Dictionary
Urban Dictionary, the notoriously slangy and scandalous internet dictionary, has been featured on Jeopardy! numerous times. It’s extra silly to listen as upright Jeopardy! contestants identify these funny terms with ease.
Question: A carnevoyeur is one of these who derives pleasure from watching others eat meat.
Question: If you’ve put a scoratorium in place, you’re trying to avoid hearing what happened in one of these.
A sporting event
Sweet Tome Alabama
Episode: Monday, November 2, 2020
Yet another fun wordplay! This category’s title twists a classic country tune to make a pun, asking contestants what they know about books that take place in Alabama.
Question: The plot of the book “Crazy in Alabama” includes a woman auditioning for this 1960s sitcom about country folks who come to California.
The Beverly Hillbillies
Question: This 1959 Tuscumbia-set play about a steadfast teacher & a stubborn young girl is the state’s official outdoor drama.
The Miracle Worker
Hertz So Good
Episode: Monday, April 27, 2009
No “ouch” here! This category about Heinrich Hertz will only hurt if you didn’t study up on physics.
Question: Hertz was the 1st to send & receive radio waves; this Italian devised a practical means for communicating via those waves.
Question: In the 1880s Hertz observed the photoelectric effect, for which this famous man would win a Nobel in 1921.
If you ever doubted that Jeopardy! could get kooky, hopefully you’ve been proven wrong. Tune into the show to see more silliness in action or check out some of our other Jeopardy! compilation articles, including some insider secrets like how contestants prepare for Jeopardy!, why (and how) contestants know so much, how much money Jeopardy! contestants really make, and more!