Saturday Night Live has been spoofing game shows for decades now, and Jeopardy! is no exception! Over the years, SNL’s most frequent game show sketch adaptation has been Celebrity Jeopardy!. Turns out it’s easy to poke fun at America’s favorite quiz show when you’ve got some top-notch comedians on the panel!
Celebrity Jeopardy! has provided the cast’s members with an opportunity to show off their best celebrity impressions. Usually, SNL’s host of the night portrays a celebrity contestant, as well. These celebrity portrayals were often unflattering, to say the least, as the sketch revolves around them struggling to come up with feasible answers or even give an answer at all.
The sketch mainly aired from 1996 to 2002, during which Will Ferrell was a main cast member on the show. Ferrell always portrayed longtime (and, in this case, long suffering) Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek in this series of skits. He has since reprised this role when he’s hosted the show, as well as during special episodes.
Each SNL Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch begins with Ferrell’s Alex Trebek reading out the names of every category. Some of these are pretty basic ones that are occasionally featured on real Jeopardy! episodes, such as Celebrities, Potpourri, Potent Potables, and U.S. History, while others are written specifically to garner a laugh from the audience. As the celebrities failed to answer any (of the incredibly easy) questions correctly, Ferrell as Trebek would grow increasingly frustrated, often quipping something to the likes of “I hate my job” or insulting the faux celebs.
Below we’ve listed our favorite hilarious categories from SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy!, along with some questions played during them. Cringe along as you read these laughably easy questions that anyone could answer—anyone except for the sketch’s celebrities of the night, of course.
Many of the listed categories on SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy! are never played, as each sketch’s run time is usually no more than a few minutes long. For the sake of brevity, we’ve omitted most categories that don’t feature a question, but we’ve left in a few that made us laugh.
Keep reading to learn more about the hilarity of every Celebrity Jeopardy! category on SNL.
Despite this question having a comically obvious answer, none of the contestants in this sketch get it right. Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds drawls out “uh… I don’t know, Shakespeare” to serve as his answer. Better luck next time, Burt!
Question: This racing movie with Dom DeLuise told us that, yes, cannonballs can run.
Answer: The Cannonball Run.
At the top of this category, Sean Connery, played as always by Darrell Hammond, mispronounces ‘“S” Words’ as “swords,” frustrating Ferrell’s Trebek.
None of the contestants get this question right. First, Burt Reynolds, played by Norm Macdonald, answers “what is Popeye?”—obviously incorrect. Then, Hammond’s Connery and Martin Short’s Jerry Lewis blabber out some nonsensical responses before Ferrell’s Trebek can fill them in.
An aside about Darrell Hammond: over the years, he has appeared in all but two every Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches, most times impersonating Sean Connery. Since 1998, he has done this impression in every single Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch. The show’s writers know that he’ll bring the house down every time! He even reprised his role after his departure from SNL’s main cast.
Question: Popeye is this sort of man.
Bodies of Water
This was a Final Jeopardy category on the first Celebrity Jeopardy! spoof ever aired on SNL. The contestants write in their answers, which, to no one’s surprise, are all painfully incorrect.
Question: This body of water gave Salt Lake City its name.
Answer: The Great Salt Lake.
Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds incorrectly answers this question with Footloose. Needless to say, his answer was off by quite a bit.
Question: This play by William Shakespeare was about a merchant who lived in Venice.
Answer: The Merchant of Venice.
Words That Rhyme With Dog
This question plays off of the classic Beatles tune and goes on to prove that this category is even simpler than its name suggests.
Question: “It’s been a ‘Hard Day’s Night,’ I should be sleeping like a” this.
Anticipating that none of the notoriously dumb contestants will be able to answer questions about the Renaissance correctly, Ferrell’s Trebek preemptively pivots to the much more straightforward Shapes category before the game even begins.
Darrell Hammond’s impeccable John Travolta impression soars in this category. He wagers zero dollars on the Audio Daily Double, despite how easily attainable it is. Ferrell as Trebek asks him to “name this continent” as a voice saying “ASIA” blares. Somehow, he still doesn’t get it!
The question below was worth $800 dollars on SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy. Can you imagine if a question this easy were read on the actual show?
Question: This number comes between 5 and 7.
It’s almost needless to say that Hammond’s Sean Connery would pronounce this category egregiously wrong. To avoid inappropriate and insensitive jokes, Ferrell’s Trebek opts to bypass this category entirely.
Wrong answers for this simple question include a leather glove and a toilet. Yikes!
Question: You usually drink water out of one of these.
Answer: A glass.
Show and Tell
Molly Shannon’s Minnie Driver mistakes this handy tool for a popsicle, prompting ample laughter from the studio audience.
Question: Name this object.
Current U.S. Presidents
Seeing as only one president can be current at a time, it’s extra funny that the contestants can’t come up with an answer for this longwinded question. It references spoofed celebrity guest Jeff Goldblum (played by David Duchovny), who still comes up without an answer.
Question: He is the current U.S. president. He has white hair and you’ve probably seen him in the news. His first name is Bill. Mr. Goldblum, I know for a fact you’ve had dinner with him recently. His last name is Clinton. His name is Bill Clinton. Please someone simply say, “who is Bill Clinton?”.
Answer: Bill Clinton.
At this point a running gag, Hammond’s Sean Connery misreads the title of this category as something quite a bit dirtier, and Ben Stiller’s Tom Cruise does the same later. Even though the answer is written right up on the board, not a single contestant can guess it.
Question: This movie title is taken from the name of the book Gone with The Wind.
Answer: Gone with The Wind.
This category appears again later for the audio Daily Double. Ferrell’s Trebek plays the Batman theme song, which, of course, contains the title “Batman” in it several times.
The Number Ten
Every answer to this category should be the question “what is ten?”—but despite Ferrell’s Trebek telling the contestants this ahead of time, there’s zero payoff for their charities of choice.
Question: This is how many fingers you have.
Months That Start with “Feb”
Somehow, Hammond’s Connery manages to answer “Febtober” without a second thought. After that, Drew Barrymore as Calista Flockhart answers with “what is Febterday?” This sketch sure does its job of making these celebs look incompetent, huh?
Question: This is the only month that starts with “Feb.”
The Pen is Mightier
It goes without saying that Hammond as Connery pronounces this category incorrectly. Instead of answering, he begins to go off on a tangent about the might of his genitals. An exasperated Ferrell as Trebek skips the category entirely to curb the inappropriate conversation.
The Federalist Papers/Horsies
Originally, Ferrell’s Trebek announces the Final Jeopardy category as The Federalist Papers, but realizes he’s made a mistake and has given the Final Jeopardy category for the regular Jeopardy! show. He dumbs it down for Celebrity Jeopardy!, instead announcing the childish, open-ended category, Horsies.
Question: Are horsies pretty?
Answer: Yes or no, both answers acceptable.
A Petit Déjeuner
Perhaps SNL’s most famous Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch, this one begins with a reminder to the contestants from Ferrell’s Alex Trebek to avoid using ethnic slurs. In other words, you know it’s going to be a rowdy episode with rude and unruly players. And though slurs are largely avoided, it’s not a sketch that’s completely free of offense, we’ll tell you that.
In this skit, Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds has written his name on the podium as Turd Ferguson and refuses to answer to any name but that one. This gag has stood the test of time, and was even written in as a real Final Jeopardy answer for laughs during a 2015 episode of real Jeopardy!.
And, to the chagrin of Ferrell’s Trebek, Reynolds/Ferguson pronounces this category egregiously wrong. He then quickly moves on to a different category.
Fun fact: Later in the sketch, Macdonald’s Ferguson returns to the stage wearing a comically oversized hat, bringing the house down with peals of laughter.
Jimmy Fallon as French Stewart mistakenly answers this question with “onions.” Sorry, French, that’s far from close to the real answer!
Question: This condiment is made from mustard seeds.
Your Ass or a Hole in the Ground
This category didn’t get a question, but we sure wish it had gotten one to see what hijinks would have ensued!
Like many of SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy! questions, this one is extra childish and patronizing in an effort to show the stupidity of faux show’s celebrity guests. Hammond as Connery brings the house down by guessing “moo” and making a couple of immature “your mom” jokes.
Question: This is the sound a doggy makes.
Answer: Bow-wow or ruff.
Hammond’s Sean Connery misreads the second word of this category’s title as an expletive and, unprompted, begins listing off a load of foreign stars he’s supposedly bedded. Needless to say, Ferrell as Trebek is equal parts exasperated and disgusted at that one!
Things Trebek Sucks/Potpourri
That devilish Sean Connery, always portrayed expertly by Darrell Hammond, covered over the “Potpourri” category by sticking up a sign on the board that read “Things Trebek Sucks.” This taunting gag got a kick out of the audience and served to royally tick off Ferrell’s Alex Trebek.
Hot or Cold
An incredibly straightforward category, its questions implore the contestants as to whether an object is hot or cold. The clue featured is delivered by way of video Daily Double, announced by none other than Chris Kattan portraying Ricky Martin. Kattan is seen sputtering as he drinks the tea to show that it is indeed scalding, but the contestants have trouble comprehending, and not a single one gives a correct answer.
Question: Is this tea cold or hot, hot, hot?
What Ears Do
This category is only mentioned one time at the beginning of the sketch and a question is never drawn from it. However, it’s obvious what the answer is—to listen, of course—and dumbfounding how there could possibly be five questions drawn from this stupidly simple topic.
Is This A Hat
Similar to the previous category, Is This A Hat is never chosen by one of the fake celebrity contestants to answer from. If only one of them chosen this category, maybe they’d have actually won some money.
Colors that End in “Urple”
Clearly, this title is a hoot because there’s only one (painfully obvious) color that ends in “urple”—not several that could be milked for an entire category’s worth of questions. And its $800 question—the highest value of them all, at least on this board—is quite a simple one that the contestants still can’t answer correctly. Tobey Maguire as Keanu Reeves mistakes “urple” as “Urkel,” as in the character from Family Matters played by Jaleel White. Those SNL writers always know how to make ‘em laugh!
Question: This color ends in “urple”.
This episode’s Final Jeopardy category was originally “Famous Mothers.” Not wanting to give Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery the opportunity to make a dirty joke, Ferrell’s Trebek scraps the category last minute, telling the contestants to write anything they’d like on their podium. Hammonds as Connery still manages to write some sexual wordplay down as an answer, getting his wish, anyway.
Will This Hurt If You Put It In Your Mouth
Ferrell’s Trebek never got to read any of the questions from this category. We think that’s maybe for the best, given that Hammond’s Connery was at the podium!
Letters or Numbers
No one manages to get this ridiculously simple question right. Though Jimmy Fallon as Robin Williams buzzes in several times, he only does so to perform his own stand-up comedy routine.
Question: Is the number 5 a letter or a number?
Famous Muppet Frogs
Ferrell as Trebek announces at the start of the game that every answer in this category is “Kermit.”
An Album Cover
Predictably, Hammond’s Sean Connery pronounces this category incorrectly, making a lewd joke that Ferrell’s Trebek doesn’t find so funny.
Question: The Beatles’ “White Album” is this color.
Drummers Named Ringo
Both Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery and Ana Gasteyer as Martha Stewart answer this easy query incorrectly.
Question: This Ringo was the “Starr” drummer for the Beatles.
Answer: Ringo Starr.
Don’t Do Anything
Horatio Sanz as Ozzy Osbourne promptly loses this category by buzzing in—you only get points for this one if you do exactly as the title says!
States that Begin with “Californ”
While no questions were chosen from this category, we can just imagine how baffled the fake celebrity contestants would be by this one.
Famous Kareem Abdul-Jabbars
Similar to the category above, Ferrell’s Trebek didn’t get to any questions about Famous Kareem Abdul-Jabbars. However, seeing that there’s only one famous Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, we can’t help but wonder what the questions would have been.
Point To Your Nose
While this category was only mentioned at the beginning of this sketch, we wish we could watch as the celebrity guests, including Reese Witherspoon portraying Anne Heche, struggle to complete the simple directions given in its title.
For this category, Ferrell’s Trebek shows a photo of one of the fake celebrity contestants, and to get it right, one must correctly identify which of them it is. The photo in question, which features Dean Edwards impersonating Chris Tucker, reads “Tucker and Chan.” Despite the answer being literally spelled out for them, not a single celebrity can get it right.
Question: Who is this celebrity with Jackie Chan?
Answer: Chris Tucker.
Batman or Robin
The premise of this category is simple, as always: Ferrell’s Trebek shows a photo of either Batman or Robin, and the faux celebs must identify which one it is. Unfortunately, as well as predictably, all three of them come up short.
Question: Is this Batman or Robin?
Can you guess how Hammond’s Sean Connery pronounces this category’s name? Take it from us, it definitely isn’t safe for work. To avoid further verbal debauchery, Ferrell as Trebek skips this category.
Would You Like a Cookie?
For this sketch’s Final Jeopardy, Ferrell’s Trebek provides an easy category. Its name serves as the Final Jeopardy question, and players must answer “yes” or “no” to receive money for their category of choice. But do any of them do that? No, of course not!
Question: Would you like a cookie?
Answer: Yes or no.
Countries Between Mexico and Canada
While no questions were asked from this category, we shudder to think of the celebrities not being able to identify the United States as being the only country between Mexico and Canada.
Members of Simon and Garfunkel
You’d think that the musicians on this Rock ‘N Roll-themed Celebrity Jeopardy! episodes would know their famous musical duos—but alas, they most certainly do not.
Question: Of Simon and Garfunkel, the one that is not Garfunkel.
I Have A Chardonnay
Ferrell as Trebek describes what happens when a contestant chooses this category: “you automatically get the points, and I get a glass of wine.” Sound like a pretty sweet deal all around, but will any of the contestants take him up on it?
Hammond’s Connery tries to—by mispronouncing “Chardonnay” as, well, you’ll see. Yikes!
Fun fact—this was Will Ferrell’s final episode as a member of SNL’s main cast, and the real Alex Trebek joined the sketch at the end to provide him with the spectacular send-off he deserved.
Dave Matthews, played by Jimmy Fallon, and Bjork, played by host Winona Ryder, both answer this simple query egregiously wrong.
Question: This is the thing that becomes toast.
The Letter After “B”
Like the name suggests, every question in this category deals with the letter “C,” which comes after “B”. Tell that to Amy Poehler’s Sharon Osbourne who chose the question but failed to buzz in!
Question: The word “cat” is found under this letter in the dictionary.
How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up
In this category, Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek holds up any number of fingers, and the celebrity contestants must report back how many they counted. Clearly, this category isn’t as easy as it sounds for the notoriously dimwitted celebs.
Question: How many fingers is he holding up?
Apparently, if you choose this category, you’re automatically awarded points. Despite the urgings of Ferrell as Trebek, no one took advantage of this category.
Japan U.S. Relations
As usual, Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery reads this category’s title incorrectly, and it’s something we can’t repeat. A disgusted Ferrell as Trebek opts to skip this category entirely and asks the contestants to answer Final Jeopardy with a first-grade-level math problem instead.
Kristin Wiig as Kathie Lee Gifford chooses this category to reflect her own love of drinking, choosing to pull out a baggie of wine she supposedly brought from home. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get to answer a question—she gets sidetracked before Ferrell’s Trebek can read it out, and the game moves on.
This is the first SNL Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch in which a celebrity appears as themself: Tom Hanks dumbed himself down for the podium, and it seemed like he had fun doing it.
States That End in Hampshire
After Tom Hanks (playing himself) fails to choose a category, Ferrell as Trebek chooses this one for him. Predictably, he fails to answer the question correctly, giving the answer “what is South Hampshire?”.
A quick tidbit: This is the first SNL Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch in which a celebrity appears as themself: Tom Hanks dumbed himself down for the podium, and it seemed like he had fun doing it.
Question: This is the only state that ends in “Hampshire”.
Answer: New Hampshire.
Catch These Men
This was Darrell Hammond’s final episode as a member of SNL’s main cast, and he milked his Sean Connery impression during it for all its worth. As usual, he pronounced this category’s title very incorrectly, throwing off Ferrell’s Trebek as well as the course of the game.
Ferrell as Trebek challenges the celebrities to write down a made-up word, and only Hammond’s Sean Connery succeeds—well, sort of. He seems to have written down a series of letters and numbers, only for it to be revealed that these marks were part of a larger doodle—one of a stick figure defecating on Trebek’s grave. As offensive as it may be, it got a huge laugh from the audience.
Letters That Begin with “G”
SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch made a final comeback during its 40th anniversary special. In it, a large cast of celebrity impressionists come in and out to attempt to answer stupidly easy questions, like always. This one was answered (poorly) by Jim Carrey as Matthew McConaughey.
Question: This “G” shaped letter comes between “F” and H.”
This category is about books, so Ferrell’s Trebek snidely remarks that the serially stupid contestants ought not to try their hands at it. Almost immediately, Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery incorrectly reads the title, prompting a laugh from the audience and a cringe from Ferrell’s Trebek.
Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber uses this question to implore the girl that he’s flirting with to join him on his next adventure. Not the time or place, Justin!
Question: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are about this person’s adventures.
Answer: Tom Sawyer.
Let it Snow
Like the previous category, Hammond’s Connery reads this category’s title as something far lewder than it’s supposed to be. Norm Macdonald as Burt Reynolds shows back up to buzz in, again very incorrectly. Connery finishes out the category by making another dirty joke about yellow snow.
Question: This is the color of snow.
State Your Name
Ferrell as Trebek says that any contestant can win money in this category by stating their own name. Unfortunately, the game never quite gets that far before the celebs all get out of hand.
No questions were ever read from this category, but they didn’t need to be for the audience to find it funny. Seeing as there’s only one famous Oprah, Oprah Winfrey, it’s hard to believe that even the dumbest celebrity wouldn’t be able to get this one right.
Other SNL Game Show Spoofs
Saturday Night Live’s Celebrity Jeopardy! is a hit sketch that has stood the test of time. However, it’s not the only SNL skit that spoofs a real game show.
SNL frequently features a recurring Family Feud spoof, in which Kenan Thompson portrays longtime host Steve Harvey. The contestants are often celebrities, so these sketches give cast members the opportunity to show off their best signature impressions.
More recently, SNL has aired a sketch called Black Jeopardy, in which contestants answer questions about Black culture. In this episode featuring Tom Hanks, a white contestant has mistakenly gone on the show. However, he ends up playing remarkably well, making a joke to the audience about how much easier it could be to bridge racial divides if white people put in the effort to listen.
We hope you enjoyed our compilation of all the silly categories featured in Saturday Night Live’s Celebrity Jeopardy spoofs.
Do you have a favorite SNL Celebrity Jeopardy! episode? Or a favorite category? Hit us with it in the comments below!