“Jeopardy!” doesn’t reward random guesses. And Max, a fifth-grade teacher from Culver City, learned this the hard way as a contestant on the show in 2007.
To be fair, the category was multiple-choice. So he had a 33% of guessing the most populous nation each time he buzzed in. Unfortunately for him, however, his geographical awareness wasn’t particularly sharp that day. The good news is that good old Kevin, a fellow contestant, was there to pick up the slack.
And what a day it was for Kevin. He very graciously accepted Max’s gifts, which came in the form of eliminated answers. Without fail, Max would buzz in first. He’d say the wrong country, naturally. And Kevin would swoop in with the correct answer.
You simply must watch the hilarious “Jeopardy!” clip below.
As you can see, Max’s confidence did him no favors. And he failed to learn from his mistakes with each passing prompt. Instead, he insisted on buzzing first and asking questions later. It’s certainly a strategy. And who knows? Maybe Max felt like he had the correct answer every time.
But he didn’t. And it got to the point where Alex Trebek and the audience couldn’t help but laugh at the pattern Max was creating. After Kevin cleaned up four straight failed attempts, Max’s torturous category was finally exhausted.
The ‘Jeopardy!’ Scores Before and After
The results? Well, Max started the “Jeopardy!” category with $1,000. He was very much in the game, with Kevin holding the lead at $2,400 and Erin in the middle at $1,800. By the time the category “The Most Populous Nation” was all said and done, Max had backslid to a painful -$1,800. And all of that effort helped Kevin to a commanding $5,200. Erin was just an innocent bystander, watching the massacre unfold.
“No fun for Max, but a good run for Kevin who leads with $5,200,” said Trebek during the episode. The late “Jeopardy!” host chuckled along with the audience as the category drew to a close.
The good news for Max? He redeemed himself in Double Jeopardy, climbing up to $19,400 and taking the lead from Kevin at $11,400. Unfortunately, the Final Jeopardy question proved too much for Max, and Kevin ultimately prevailed over the game.
Still, Max bouncing back from that devastating run was an impressive feat. And at least he gave himself a chance to win the game. One thing we know for sure is that once he got home, Max spent some extra time on geography with his fifth-grade class.