HomeEntertainment‘Jeopardy!’: Alex Trebek Explained Why He Tried to Be a ‘Good Guy’ to Wrong Contestants

‘Jeopardy!’: Alex Trebek Explained Why He Tried to Be a ‘Good Guy’ to Wrong Contestants

by Halle Ames
(Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/ Getty Images)

We always saw Alex Trebek as the ‘good guy’ in the way he carried himself. He once revealed why he wanted to be seen as such to contestants.

Alex Trebek was known for his warm nature and comforting voice and demeanor. He was the life of Jeopardy! for over 36 years until his unfortunate death from stage four pancreatic cancer in November. He fought the dreaded prognosis for around 18 months.

In an interview with the Dan Patrick Show from August of 2014, Alex Trebek revealed why he wanted to be adored by the audience, which he was.

“Well, I want to appear to our viewing audience as a good guy, and I think when you’re the host, it behooves you to do that.”

While joking with Alex Trebek, Dan Patrick wanted to see the docile man’s alter ego. Trebek’s “darker side” that said what he really thinks when contestants buzz in with ridiculous answers.

“You’re not serious,” started Alex Trebek with a straight face. “Really? Did you not get past fourth grade? Did you not make it to grade six? Do you remember your grade six graduation? You got your driver’s license that year. Do you remember?”

Alex Trebek Always Remembered This Moment

Looking back on the years, Alex Trebek has pretty much heard it all, from the absurd to the flat-out appalling. However, he can only once recall a time where he put a contestant down for their struggle on Jeopardy!.

“Sometimes, the responses, as you indicated in your last segment, the responses are so far out of line that it’s almost begging you for the put-down. Let’s see. The only time that I can recall that I deliberately did a put down was for Lynn Redgrave in a Celebrity Jeopardy! thing, and she was not doing well and said, ‘oh, my signaling device isn’t working very well’ and I looked at her, and I said, ‘it’s not your signaling device.'”

Being the kind-hearted person Alex Trebek was, he immediately felt bad for the joke. He related being a host to a military commercial.

“To tell you the truth, I regretted saying that afterward because, cone on, you are the host of the show. You’re here every day. Your job is to run the game, help the contestants do their very best. It’s like the military commercials, be all you can be.”

Trebek closes, saying that he just wants to be wanted and not be seen as someone who puts others down.

“That’s my job as host, so if I’m nasty, the audience will not like that. They will think, ‘oh, he’s being a smartass. He is being this. He’s being that. We don’t want him anymore,’ and I want them to want me.”

Well, Alex, we always did want you, and now more than ever do, we miss your charismatic attitude.