Coming from the contestant side of “Jeopardy!,” Tournament of Champions host Buzzy Cohen didn’t have a background in presenting television game shows. In fact, the accomplished contestant’s day job is running a company that produces commercial jingles. So one thing Cohen had to learn quickly, among countless others, was that his mic is always hot on set.
As you might have guessed, “Mr. Personality” figured this out the hard way. But can we really blame him? For someone like Alex Trebek, who spent decades as the host of an iconic game show, awareness of a hot mic was second nature. For the uninitiated, however, minding every word and action probably has a pretty steep learning curve.
In an interview with The Ringer, Buzzy Cohen talked about a few embarrassing moments that came about because of his inexperience. Thankfully, they were just embarrassing enough to be hilarious.
“I also found out, of course forgetting I was miked up, that everyone can hear everything—so when you’re talking to the makeup person, Mike and Rocky and everyone are listening. Sarah was like, ‘Yeah, I joined you in the bathroom earlier today.'”
Now, it’s probably part of Sarah’s job to monitor the audio. But we can only hope that she recognized the intimacy of the situation and lowered the mic’s levels to spare Cohen major embarrassment. The “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions host was apparently laughing as he recounted the memory, at least. So it wasn’t too scarring an experience.
The ‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament of Champions Host Became Hyperaware of the Way He Speaks
An overheard trip to the restroom is funny in its innocence. But some aspects of a hot mic are slightly less amusing and a bit more annoying.
For example, a crew of people listening to your every word then telling you that you pronounce things “weird” is not particularly laughable. Well, not for the person being critiqued, anyway. Of course, Buzzy Cohen knows it’s part of hosting a show as popular as “Jeopardy!” And he wants to do the best job he possibly can in honor of the late Alex Trebek. But when it gets all the way down to the way someone pronounces the word “and,” you’re in the big leagues.
“Sarah was like, ‘You say animals with an accent.’ I asked her how she says it. ‘Animals.’ So then I go into the writers’ room and I’m like, ‘Apparently I say “animals” weird.’ And Michele just looks at me dead in the eye and says, ‘You say the word “and” weird as well,'” Cohen continued in his interview with The Ringer.
At least Cohen doesn’t have to worry about a hot mic as he watches the result of his hosting work. The “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions is underway this week. Be sure to follow along with Outsider as we keep you updated on all things “Jeopardy!”