By now, we know most of the trivia about Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy! champ who won $2.5 million with a record 74 straight matches: Grew up in a Mormon family in View Ridge, high-schooled in Korea, lived in Utah, attended UW and BYU, now lives here in the 'burbs. But did you know he was asked to run for Orrin Hatch's senate seat and has, in his words, "Never been high--except on a drug called Ken Jennings!"? And that Christina Aguilera, born Mormon, was "Not our finest effort . . . "? Jennings recently blurted out this and more on Reddit, giving the lowdown on Alex Trebek while answering live-blog questions under the name of WatsonsBitch, a reference to his domination by IBM's supercomputer. Like a lot of brainiacs, he's a incorrigible smartass. A sampling:
Trebek takes a lot of heat for being sort of smug and starchy on camera, but that's just for TV. In person he is sort of a nut, always doing goofy jokes and accents and little bits of soft-shoe and stuff. He's like your good-natured, slightly-losing-it grandpa.
Why do seniors try to grope him?
Old people can't keep their dry, lilac-scented hands off me. Man, do old people ever love Jeopardy. I can't go anywhere in public where there might be old people, like Hallmark stores or cemeteries.
How does he train for the A&Q?
I watched the show obsessively. This is pretty nerdy, but I even watched it standing up behind my recliner at home, using one of my son's toddler toys as a makeshift "buzzer." (Insert dirty joke here.) My wife kept score for me. We made flash cards of presidents and "potent potables" and crap like that.
What do contests talk about in that post-game huddle with Alex while credits roll?
It's normally a pretty awkward social scenario. Two of you are shell-shocked and pissed, one of you has just realized he's going to have to come back and do it all again after a 10-minute tape break, and one of you is slightly drunk and wants to get out of there before the Lakers game starts.
Does he aspire to higher office?
Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Harry Reid (D-NV) both called me back personally in 2004 to try to get me to run for Orrin Hatch's Senate seat. I am not making this up. Win on a game show and you can apparently run for the U.S. Senate. That was when I realized the Democratic Party was f@#$ed in '04.
Are Mormons funny?
My Sunday-school teacher, when I was a Mormon teen, once memorably advised us that "There's nothing more overrated than sex, and nothing more underrated than a good bowel movement." It totally worked . . . I don't remember a single other sermon from when I was a kid, but I think about this guy exactly once a day, and then again once a week.
What kind of wheelbarrow does he carry his balls in?
My balls are carried for me at all times by the 13 contestants who lost to me on Jeopardy back in 2004 with a negative score, meaning they didn't get to compete in Final Jeopardy. They take turns.