Ken Jennings Hilarious ‘What is a Hoe?’ Moment on ‘Jeopardy!’: Was the Question a Set-Up?

by Clayton Edwards

Anyone who follows Ken Jennings knows two things about him. First, he is a trivia genius. To say that the guy is incredibly smart is almost insulting. Second, he has a great sense of humor. You can see it all over his social media and in many of his television appearances.

Ken Jennings is the highest-earning “Jeopardy!” champ in the history of the show. Jennings was also an interim host. At the same time, he is a prolific author with a dozen books under his belt. However, the most memorable thing about his quiz show career might be that one time he answered “What is a hoe?” on “Jeopardy!” If you’re unfamiliar with that moment, check out the clip below.

Ken Jennings, Alex Trebek, and just about everyone else got a good laugh out of the answer. Many fans of both the quiz show and the champ have debated this answer since the episode aired. A large number of fans fall into one of two camps. Some think that Ken was robbed. They think it should have been counted as a correct answer. In fact, there’s a whole Reddit thread discussing whether or not Ken was robbed. On the other hand, some fans believe that the question was a setup. They believe that the clue was worded in such a way to get the “hoe” response from contestants.

What Does Ken Jennings Think?

Ken Jennings addresses the “hoe” controversy on his website. Ken explains that when he buzzed in, he was certain it was the correct answer. However, by the time his thumb actually hit the button, he wasn’t so sure. In fact, he was pretty sure it was the wrong response. On the other hand, the clue was only worth $200 and he had plenty of money on the board. To him, it was worth the money to ask Alex Trebek, “What is a hoe?”

Ken Jennings goes on to explain why he knew the response was incorrect. The garden tool, Jennings explains, is spelled “hoe.” On the other hand, the other form of the word is spelled “ho.”

So, Ken Jennings doesn’t think he was robbed at all. Not only does he know it was incorrect but he also thought a minor loss was totally worth the laughs. However, Jennings wonders if the clue was a setup just to get someone to give that response.

To support his theory, Ken Jennings points to the man who actually had the correct response Pastor Al Lindke. On the next commercial break, the Pastor told Jennings, “I’m glad you beat me to the buzzer on that one because I was going to say ‘What is a hoe?’ as well. My congregation never would have let me live it down!”

So, was Ken Jennings robbed? Not at all. On the other hand, there could have been someone behind the scenes with a great sense of humor who just wanted to see if someone would take the bait. We may never know.