‘Jeopardy!’ Releases Hilarious Alex Trebek Clip Following 24/7 Streaming News

by Caitlin Berard

Legendary Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek was known for his calm, cool demeanor and unfailingly kind attitude. His mild-mannered TV persona, however, didn’t quite match up with his real-life personality.

Now, that isn’t to say that Alex Trebek’s kindness was insincere. But the recent clip released by the game show would suggest that his real-life vocabulary was a little more colorful than the carefully inoffensive lexicon he used on the show.

Jeopardy! is soon to receive its own Pluto TV channel, meaning the game show will be accessible to its fans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To celebrate this monumental point in game show history, Jeopardy! unearthed a clip from the last time it attempted round-the-clock availability.

The hilarious new ad for the Pluto TV channel includes a 30-year-old video of Alex Trebek attempting to record a campaign for Telephone Jeopardy. And it quickly becomes clear that the ad was not going well.

Telephone in hand, Alex Trebek says, “Keep watching Jeopardy! 24 hours a day,” in his bright hosting voice. His demeanor then shifts as he places the phone back on the receiver in frustration. “You dumb son of a b–ch, you don’t watch it 24 hours a day!”

Check out more of Trebek’s hysterical outtakes in the compilation video below:

What is ‘Telephone Jeopardy’?

So, at this point, you may be thinking, “what is ‘Telephone Jeopardy’? I’ve never heard of such a thing.” And that, my friend, is because…it didn’t go very well.

In the summer of 1990, Jeopardy! had what they thought was a brilliant idea. They launched a 1-900 number that fans could call to play the iconic game show from home and called it Telephone Jeopardy.

When players called the number, they were greeted by a recording of Alex Trebek explaining the rules. Trebek, however, did not read the questions. That task was handled by Johnny Gilbert, the “off-air voice” of Jeopardy!.

The rules were comparable to those for the beloved TV game and offered players similar prizes. Players could win $1,000 in a single day. And at the end of each month, the daily winners received a chance at $10,000, along with a trip to California to attend a taping of the real deal.

The catch, however, is that every minute on the line cost contestants money. In addition to the $2 cost of the initial call, players were charged a dollar a minute after the first.

As you might expect, the game was short-lived. Though the idea wasn’t necessarily a bad one, playing an automated version of Jeopardy! over the phone simply didn’t hold the same allure as shouting at a TV set while the real Alex Trebek presented clues behind the hosting lectern.