‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Brad Rutter Recalls Hilarious Prank Alex Trebek Pulled on Contestants
Danger! Champion Brad Rutter fondly remembered Alex Trebek.
He says Trebek came out once without pants to calm the nerves of the participants.
Trebek's last episode aired January 4-8 - his last recording was on October 29, just 10 days before he died of pancreatic cancer.
Although Alex Trebek mostly wore his stoic, playful face, he was seen hosting Jeopardy !, he had a wonderfully dry sense of humor. Most of all, he took care of the participants in the show - and in a radio interview with Glenn Kalina from WOGL, Jeopardy! Champion Brad Rutter shared a memory that mirrored both sides of the game show's host.
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In 2005 Rutter competed against Jerome Vered and Interim Guest Jeopardy in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions! Host Ken Jennings. With a lot of prize money, everyone was understandably trembling in their boots.
"We were so nervous, we were all pale as a ghost," Rutter recalled. Then one of them joked ("I don't remember who," said Rutter.) That in order to "ease the tension," they should play without wearing pants. "What we didn't realize was that our microphones were live and Alex heard us," said Rutter. When it was time for Trebek to join them on stage, his name was announced and he came out pantsless.
Obviously, that moment wasn't televised, but it's a precious, fun memory that is dear to Rutter. Unfortunately, due to the competitive and secretive nature of quiz shows, Rutter said there wasn't much interaction with Trebek outside of filming.
"You really mustn't talk a lot," he explained. "I was lucky enough to be on the show so often that I got to know Alex a little." He added that the host's dry sense of humor "was even more personal than you would see on the show".
Trebek's final episodes of Jeopardy! aired Jan. 4-8 - his last recording was on October 29, just 10 days before he died at the age of 80 and lost his battle with stage four pancreatic cancer. Before signing out for the last time, he gave the world a goodbye glimpse on his sentimental side, with an emotional speech about unity and kindness amid the ongoing global pandemic.
"We're trying to build a gentler, friendlier society and if we all do just a little bit we'll get there," he told the camera. Oh Alex how will you be missed.
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