Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ugly Banter Would Jeopardize Game Show Appearance

I watch Jeopardy several times a week, matching wits against my wife and son. Despite the fact that I once bombed at an actual Jeopardy audition, these battles have convinced me that I would fare pretty well on the actual show. In fact, the only part of the show that concerns me is the required banter with host Alex Trebek between the first and second rounds.

It seems to me these stories need to be equal parts humor and intellect. Very few contestants actually get it right. Their stories are either too obscure or too dry, like, “Alex, I once celebrated New Year’s Eve twice when I crossed the International dateline.”

As lame as these stories are, I must admit I probably don’t have anything better. Many of my best stories are far too bawdy for national television.

“So Doug, tell us a little bit about yourself.”
“Well, Alex, I once hit my uncle in the gut with a golf ball shortly after his hernia surgery.”
“Ouch. That’s sounds painful.”
“I told him I had a bad slice.”

Or how about this gem?

“Doug, I understand you’ve been interested in finance from a very young age.”
“Yes, Alex. Funny you mentioned that. When we were teenagers, my friend Kenny and I used to tie strings around quarters to get free games at the arcade.”
“Um, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”
“Well, uh, don’t put that on the show.”

Something tells me these stories just wouldn’t make the cut.

In fact, most of my stories are so completely devoid of sophistication that I might tank the game on purpose, just to avoid returning as champion. After all, another day would mean another story. In a worst case scenario, I’d need five day’s worth of witty banter. That’s a lot of pressure. I could even get called back for the Tournament of Champions … and yet more stories like this:

“Doug, it says here that you once ordered in French at a Mexican restaurant in Italy.”
“No, Alex, I didn’t. You must have me confused with the other contestant. However, I did once celebrate New Year’s Eve with a grown man in a diaper.”

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