‘Jeopardy!’: Mayim Bialik Says She’s Learned the ‘Language of Jeopard-ese’

by Michael Freeman

When I was a child watching Jeopardy!, the way the contestants spoke and the subject matter might as well have been a different language. Host Mayim Bialik seems to feel the same but thinks she’s hit her stride and learned the “language of Jeopard-ese.”

Today, Jeopardy! will kick off its two-week National College Championship, a special tournament airing on ABC. Ahead of its debut, Entertainment Weekly spoke to Bialik about the championship and what it entails. The outlet then asked her what she’s learned about the show after hosting it as long as she has. Joking there’s much she doesn’t know, she disclosed learning how it works, the language of “Jeopard-ese.”

“I’ve learned more what I don’t know than what I do, I think,” she said. “But learning the language of Jeopard-ese, as they call it, has been really special. I speak a couple languages and now I feel like I speak this language as well. It’s a really fun challenge, and it never gets old. Every game is different, and while it’s not acting, thinking on my feet and coming up with quick jokes if I can is its own kind of performance, and I’ve just really enjoyed it.”

Nevertheless, like most people, she still has to deal with nerves, particularly with Final Jeopardy. “I’m still nervous, so I’m hoping to continue to get more comfortable. Final Jeopardy is usually the hardest thing for me, and I’ve been having a little bit more ease with that. A lot of people wouldn’t know that, because we do a lot of things in pickups, but I think my pacing has gotten a little more even, which basically helps with my brain not getting ahead of my mouth.”

Mayim Bialik Also Says She Feels ‘a Bit Calmer’ Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ Now

As one might expect of someone mastering “Jeopard-ese,” Mayim Bialik is finding her rhythm as a Jeopardy! host. In a separate interview, she said she’s “a bit calmer” with her role.

Also speaking to TV Insider about the upcoming National College Championship, she said she’s feeling more relaxed with her hosting job. “My heart is not completely leaping out of my chest, which is what it did for most of the first months. I do feel a little bit calmer,” she stated.

It seems Bialik has come quite a way from how she was before and after the host drama the show endured. “I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and I think that’s just kind of how it is being a human,” she admitted. “My goal is to blend into the podium as much as I can and have it not be about all of that other stuff. … You know, that’s the nice thing about me. I really don’t have secrets, people. It’s all out there and I’ve made a YouTube video about it already.”