When watching Jeopardy!, do you pay more attention when the right answer or the wrong one is given? Do you take note of the host’s quirky asides? Jeopardy! may be known as a quiz show without many bells and whistles, but that doesn’t mean the contestants and hosts don’t have fun when a blooper arises. On the contrary, mistakes, and mishaps made while filming seem extra funny in the context of an otherwise dry show, making it feel more like an episode of SNL! Read on to learn about 27 hilarious moments that have made Jeopardy! such a fun watch.
Alex Blares His Voice
Episode: Friday July 13, 2012
In this funny moment, late host Alex Trebek uses this well-known device to read out the question. Contestant A.J. Motley completely disregards the category name (“Bull”!) when he answers, “what is a megaphone?”.
Alex booms “you are right!” into the device before quickly contradicting himself and allowing another contestant to give the right answer. Clearly, the fun of using a prop got the best of him!
Question: Use this device to really get your point across.
Answer: A bullhorn.
Max Crashes and Burns
Episode: Monday December 17, 2007
Contestant Max Zarou simply can’t catch a break while playing “The Most Populous Nations.” Alex Trebek repeating “Max, no!” over and over makes for a hilarious resounding chorus.
Question: Israel, Lebanon, Syria (i.e. which of these is the most populous nation?)
Mo Spins Out
Episode: Wednesday May 13, 2015
Sometimes it’s fun to watch players lose their cool. Celebrity contestant and radio comedian Mo Rocca expresses his frustration in a series of silly pacing and talking back after he answers a question incorrectly.
Question: This late creator of “Family Ties” wrote the memoir “Sit, Ubu, Sit.”
Answer: Gary David Goldberg.
Penn Corrects Himself and Wins Big
Episode: Friday May 15, 2015
Entertainer Penn Jillette knows how to work an audience. On this episode of Celebrity Jeopardy!, he quickly corrects an error and secures money for his charity of choice, doing so hilariously.
Question: In an 1851 novel, this character is monomaniacal, blasphemous, 1 for 2 in the legs department & ultimately doomed.
Pondering a Polycule
Episode: Thursday November 3, 2011
Polyamory must have been on the brain of contestant Kara Spak when she spoke too soon in this hysterical moment. Answering “what is a threesome?” on a primetime show might be a little embarrassing, but at least the audience was amused!
Question: If Andy yearns for Brenda & Brenda cares about Charlene who pines for Andy, the 3 of them form one of these.
Answer: A love triangle.
These Boots Weren’t Made for Churchgoing
Episode: Monday May 25, 2015
In this final Jeopardy!, two out of three contestants leave their answers blank. Eventual winner Choyon Manjrekar takes a funny risk, writing in the flamboyant, Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots. It’s entertaining to witness an otherwise stoic contestant show a great sense of humor.
Question: A Christian hymn & a Jewish holiday hymn are both titled this, also the name of a 2009 Tony-nominated musical.
Answer: Rock of Ages.
Alex is a Swiftie
Episode: Thursday February 14, 2013
Who knew Alex Trebek was such a big Taylor Swift fan? He expresses his disappointment when none of these collegiate contestants can identify one of her shadiest anthems.
Question: “Someday I’ll be living in a big ol’ city, and all you’re ever gonna be is” this.
Urban Dictionary Lingo
Episode: Wednesday, December 7, 2011
These contestants aren’t as uptight as they seem! Watch as they take down the “Urban Dictionary Lingo” category with expert ease.
Question: Drop 1 letter from the type of creature Sonic is in video games & you get this, one who monopolizes the aisle seat.
Who Is… Me?
Episode: Thursday, October 15, 2009
When basketball legend and celebrity contestant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar heard a quote of his own, he was quick to answer with his own name. Unfortunately, he spoke too soon. But imagine being famous enough that your words become a question on Jeopardy!
Question: Tell your old man to drag this ’70s UCLA & Trail Blazer center (& Lanier!) up & down the court for 48 minutes.
Answer: Bill Walton.
Good Luck Finding This in Theaters
Episode: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Another funny moment of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s is when he forgets the most family-friendly of the standard U.S. movie ratings and opts for “X” as his answer. Laughs galore!
Question: The 5 movie ratings in the U.S. are NC-17, R, PG, PG-13 & this one.
Start Making Ass-umptions
Episode: Friday, December 9, 2016
While contestant Tim Aten opted for the safe answer of “donkey,” the answer Alex was looking for was a little bit more profane.
Question: Zechariah predicted the new king would arrive in Jerusalem on one of these animals, & Jesus later does.
Answer: An ass
Some Guy in Normandy
Episode: Tuesday February 12, 2013
In one of Jeopardy!’s most famous moments, teen contestant Leonard Cooper forfeits Final Jeopardy!, writing in “who is some guy in Normandy, but I just won $75,000!” With such a big victory, he deserved to have the last laugh.
Question: On June 6, 1944 he said, “The eyes of the world are upon you”
Answer: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Ever Tossed the Pigskin Around?
Episode: Thursday, February 1, 2018
Clearly, the three competitors in this episode have never so much as held a football. Watch as they fail to answer a single question in the “Talkin’ Football” category.
Answer: The Purple People Eaters
Where’s Toronto, Again?
Episode: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
In the IBM Challenge, genius supercomputer Watson takes on human contestants. However, it made a major mishap during Final Jeopardy!, misidentifying Toronto as a U.S. city.
Question: Its largest airport is named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle.
Hide Your Kids
Episode: Friday, April 3, 2015
Yikes! In this infamous clip, contestant Tom Imler confuses c with the age of consent, seemingly without missing a beat. That’s a hard moment to just brush past!
Question: In common law, the age of this, signaling adulthood, is presumed to be 14 in boys & 12 in girls.
Who’s Afraid of Selena?
Episode: Monday, January 13, 2014
Contestant Michelle DeGrothy incorrectly identifies selenophobia as the “fear of Mexican music stars,” referencing the late Selena. What she’s describing sounds closer to xenophobia, it seems!
Answer: Fear of the moon
Wave to Mom!
Episode: Wednesday, September 16, 2015
When contestant Talia Lavin realized she didn’t know the answer to Final Jeopardy!, she figured she’d at least give the audience a laugh. She got to both embarrass Alex a little with her answer “Turd Ferguson” (in reference to an SNL Jeopardy! sketch) and say “hi, Mom!” too!
Question: This song from a 1999 animated film about censorship had a word censored from its Oscar performance.
Answer: “Blame Canada”
Nope, No Alfredo Here
Episode: Thursday, September 17, 2009
Celebrity contestant Wolf Blitzer was known on Jeopardy! for making blunder after blunder. Watch as he wrongly names this tube-shaped pasta as fettuccine. Anyone who’s eaten at an Italian restaurant can see that’s clearly wrong!
Aaron Delivers the Sass
Episode: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
In this chuckle-worthy clip, NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers implores Alex to go ahead and “celebrate” after a good game. We’ll take that advice!
Johnny Gilbert Takes on Pop
Episode: Friday, February 21, 2014
In this funny category, the voice of TV legend Johnny Gilbert reads lyrics to popular songs of today. Hearing his classic booming voice take on Beyonce, Katy Perry, and others is truly hilarious.
Episode: Thursday March 12, 2015
A question’s answer is almost never contained in its clue, which contestant Stephanie Hull should have known. Instead, she answers “metaphorically” after “metaphor” was stated in the clue. She earned a chuckle from Alex Trebek but, unfortunately, no prize money in this triple stumper.
Question: Speaking this way involves similes and metaphors.
The Joy of a Great Win
Episode: Friday May 11, 2012
During this Teen Tournament Final Jeopardy!, every contestant answers correctly, making for some jubilant moments. Winner Elyse Mancuso can’t contain her joy when she realizes she’s won. Watching her victory is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Question: When the future state of Iowa became part of the United States, this man was president.
Answer: Thomas Jefferson
Private Eye or Private Part?
Episode: Thursday, October 12, 2017
When Alex posed this query, he was certainly not expecting contestant Austin Rogers’s answer, which veered into the realm of genital insults. Someone doesn’t think too highly of detectives, it seems!
Question: Slang for a detective.
Alex at the Club
Episode: Monday, September 26, 2005
After this triple stumper, Alex busts out some interesting dance moves. He may have smarts, but his brief dance is spastic, causing a huge burst of laughter from the audience.
Question: Take a whirl on the dance floor under these lights whose name comes from the Greek for the “act of whirling.”
Answer: Strobe lights
What do April Showers Bring?
Episode: Thursday July 27, 2017
Contestant Justin Vossler disregards his Pilgrim clue and responds with “ground ivy.” Context clues are important, Justin!
Question: Also known as the trailing arbutus, it’s said to have been named by the Pilgrims; its bloom was the 1st seen in the spring of 1621.
Answer: The mayflower
Bane of My Existence
Episode: Friday December 6, 2013
Sometimes a Jeopardy! answer calls for a funny delivery to lighten the mood. In this episode, contestant Craig Cornish, Jr., says the name of this supervillain in the character’s own accent.
Question: Masked villain in “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Upside Down and Backwards
Episode: Friday June 15, 2007
In a last-ditch attempt to make the audience laugh, contestant Jared Cohen abandons this Americana Final Jeopardy!question and comes up with a unique answer, writing “Kebert Xela,” or the host’s name backwards. At least Alex got a kick out of it!
Question: The original one of these on Mass.’s Little Brewster Island was built in 1716; automation didn’t come until 1998.
Answer: A lighthouse
And there you have it! These are some of Jeopardy!’s silliest, kookiest, most joyous moments.
For more hysterical Jeopardy throwbacks, be sure to check out “25 Hilarious and Surprisingly Dirty Jeopardy! Questions” and “The 25 Worst Jeopardy! Answers That Will Leave You Laughing.”