‘Jeopardy!’ contestant cites ‘SNL’ sketch, makes Alex Trebek say ‘Turd Ferguson’

18 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Jeopardy!’ contestant cites ‘SNL’ sketch, makes Alex Trebek say ‘Turd Ferguson’.

In an inspired homage to the “Saturday Night Live” version of “Celebrity Jeopardy!”, real-life “Jeopardy!” contestant Talia Lavin got Alex Trebek to utter the phrase “Turd Ferguson” on Wednesday night’s episode. Lavin, a fact checker for the New Yorker and recent “Jeopardy” contestant, found herself stymied by the final “Jeopardy” clue, “This song from a 1999 animated film about censorship had a word censored from its Oscar performance,” and in lieu of a legitimate guess opted to answer, “What is the Love Ballad of Turd Ferguson?” To the uninitiated, this may seem like a random outburst of lowbrow humor and, even though that’s probably true, it’s also a reference to one of the most amusing bits of recurring “Saturday Night Live” humor in history. Unlike previous “Jeopardy!” rounds that require contestants to respond verbally, the Final Jeopardy round requires contestants to write their responses, which Trebek later reads aloud. During Will Ferrell’s tenure on the show, he famously portrayed Alex Trebek in the late-night show’s “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketches, in which Trebek would be intellectually tortured by mind-numbingly stupid contestants, none so hilarious as Burt Reynolds, as portrayed by Norm Macdonald. Hi Mom.” On the off chance the the many Trebek-directed insults by Norm Macdonald’s Burt Reynolds aren’t a staple of your vocabulary, Lavin’s answer refers to an iconic SNL sketch in which Will Ferrell starred as a perpetually fed-up version of Jeopardy’s host.

Not since IBM’s Watson computer handed human contestants’ asses to them on a silver platter had the 50-plus-year-old game show earned so much national attention. “I had only 30 seconds to think of a joke that was clean enough to make it on the air. But Lavin, fortunately, is by no means the first Jeopardy! contestant to take the agony of game-show defeat and turn it into a triumph for all humanity. I love [comedian] Norm Macdonald, so I’m pretty psyched that ‘SNL’s’ best-ever skit is getting more exposure.” In that popular sketch, Macdonald portrays Burt Reynolds, who insists that an exasperated Alex Trebek (played by Will Ferrell) refer to him as Turd Ferguson. It’s a funny name.” (Reynolds also appears later wearing a giant foam cowboy hat explaining that it’s funny because it’s bigger than a normal hat.) Burt Reynolds on “Celebrity Jeopardy” is so popular that it actually recurred in “Saturday Night Live’s” 40th anniversary episode, complete with Ferguson moniker and comically oversized foam cowboy hat.

Setting: February 2011 (the episode that found Jennings, who provided the correct “Final Jeopardy!” answer, still losing to the supercomputer Watson) Back on the real-life “Jeopardy!” set, Trebek approached Lavin about her unorthodox response. “Alex asked me who Turd Ferguson was,” Lavin told TODAY.com. “I was like, ‘He’s from the ‘SNL’ skits about you.’ He was like, ‘Oh, I haven’t watched them in awhile.'” Trebek may not have gotten the joke right away, but he’s often had a little fun at his own podium, where he’s been known to rap lyrics to popular songs — on more than one occasion. Unfortunately for Trebek, Reynolds was right all those years ago: Turd Ferguson is a funny name, and Lavin will go down in history as one of Jeopardy’s funniest (and finest) contestants. I think my favorite tweet was from someone who wrote, “I pray to baby Jesus that Talia finds her chill.” Someone made an Instagram collage of all my sad buzzer faces.

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