During his tenure on the show, it appeared that being the host of “Jeopardy!” was a job Alex Trebek truly enjoyed. However, like most jobs, it had its downsides.
Trebek talked about this during an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos that aired on the CBC in 2008. Trebek passed away in November 2020. It was the host who brought up the topic of the negative aspects of the host’s job.
“I often wondered if being Alex Trebek at a cocktail party would be terrible, because everybody is just quizzing the hell out of you all the time,” Stroumboulopoulos said.
This did happen. However, Trebek said people came up to him for another reason.
“No. They used to do that,” the longtime “Jeopardy!” host said. “In the early days, they would either come to me and throw clues at me or they would correct my pronunciation.”
According to Trebek, fans were rarely correct.
“Most of the time they were wrong,” he recalled. “And, when they tried to say that the show had made a mistake I said, ‘Well, wait a minute. What do you think we said on the clue?’ And, they would tell me.”
Once the fan explained why he or she thought the clue was incorrect, Trebek said he would offer an explanation.
“I said, ‘You missed an important word. You have to pay attention to all the words in the clue. Otherwise, it will allow two or three different responses. We nail it down pretty tight,'” Alex Trebek recalled. “And they’d say, ‘Oh. OK.'”
Fans Would Write to ‘Jeopardy!’ to Point Out Possible Errors
Approaching Alex Trebek wasn’t the only way fans shared their points of view about perceived mistakes on “Jeopardy!”
“One lady wrote me in the early days of ‘Jeopardy!’ when I was the producer and I used to respond to all of the mail. And she said, ‘You made a terrible mistake. … So, I wrote her back and I said, ‘No. We didn’t. It is this, this, this.'”
Somewhat surprisingly, this “Jeopardy!” fan didn’t just receive Trebek’s response and leave it at that. And, what followed is pretty hilarious.
“She wrote me back – one of the few people who wrote back afterwards,” Trebek said. “And said, ‘I want to thank you so much for responding to my letter. My husband is the one who had told me all these years that was right. And now, I can nail him.”
This drew a big laugh from the crowd and from George Stroumboulopoulos. “You did her a favor,” Stroumboulopoulos added.
“Absolutely,” Trebek then said. “That’s my job in life – to do favors for women.”
You can watch Alex Trebek talk with George Stroumboulopoulos during 2008 below. His comments about friends and fans trying to correct him begin around the 1:40 mark of the video.