I Should Be the Host of ‘Jeopardy!’

The choice is obvious

Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the news or not, but Jeopardy! is having a very hard time finding a host to replace Alex Trebek. Heir apparent Mike Richards proved to be one of the most inept Machiavellians in TV history. Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik have their own issues. LeVar Burton, beloved fan favorite, was kind of a dud when he got his special week in the spotlight. The whole process needs a background of “Yakety Sax” playing behind it.

But the solution has been staring Jeopardy! in the face the entire time, if only they would see it. There’s only one logical choice to host the show. Me. I’ve been waging a very quiet campaign to become the host of Jeopardy! for more than a year now. I am a household name in approximately 400 households. And now there is a Change.org petition. As of this writing, it has 136 signatures. After about a million more, the show would absolutely have to start paying attention.

Here are the main reasons why I need to become the permanent host of Jeopardy! They will persuade you.

I am a Jeopardy! champion. You might not know this about me, because I rarely bring it up, but I won three games of Jeopardy! in 2013, bringing home a total of $62,000 and then some. Back then, that was a lot of money. No, I’m not as successful as Jennings, or recent Tournament of Champions host Buzzy Cohen, or several hundred other multi-day Jeopardy! champions, but I’m still in the top, let’s say, 750 players of all time. I know what it takes to win on Jeopardy! It takes a lot of knowledge and courage and a smug little smirk. I will bring all my empathy and savvy to the game as I shepherd other people into making their dreams a reality. Maybe I’m not their idea shepherd, but I would certainly be better than Mike Richards or Dr. Oz.

A slightly less successful Jeopardy! contestant than James Holzhauer

I have appeared on television several times. Not only was I on Jeopardy! in 2013, but I also have been on television several other times, which has taught me the skill of not sweating too much when you’re wearing makeup. I’m quite comfortable on camera in any number of environments. In 2003, the world howled with laughter as Jon Stewart played my song “New York City Is A Pile of Shit” on The Daily Show. As you can see on the video and in the above photograph, I’m very comfortable wearing loud shirts on TV. It’s a skill.

I’ve also been on TV other times. Lost to history is my appearance on Dennis Miller’s CNBC panel show, where I discussed the issues of the day with writer Virginia Postrel, character actor Robert Davi, and Sir Charles Barkley, the Round Mound of Rebound. There is no evidence online that this appearance occurred, but trust me.

However, you cannot deny that I was once on “Red Eye With Greg Gutfeld.” Here I am offending Johnny Rotten, in a split screen, a mere 14 years ago.

I am full of memorable TV moments, and Jeopardy! loves those.

I have never done or said anything controversial. Unless you count getting high and having a temper tantrum at the 2017 World Series, nearly leading to my arrest. Or writing pieces for McSweeneys called “It Is Easy To Take A Lover In Cuba”, “I Am Friends With A Working-Class Black Woman,” or “Introduction To The New Slavery.” And then there is my song “I Wipe My Ass On Your Novel.”

You have to understand, that was a different time. I am sober now. Also, please ignore all archived articles of my Nerve.com column “Bad Sex With Neal Pollack,” which talked a lot about my masturbation habits. I have wiped all traces of narcissism from my personality and my writing.

In the COVID-19 era, I have said, publicly, that it was safe to go to the movies, and I’ve also stated that it’s OK to go back to your normal lives after getting vaccinated. That might seem controversial right now, but the world has a way of catching up to my opinions. I said, way back when, that the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions were a bad idea, and at age two, in 1972, I told my parents that Richard Nixon was a bad President and that “stagflation” was on the horizon.

Jeopardy! needs a host who knows the score, in more ways than one.

I am a dedicated trivia player and am universally beloved in the community. After appearing on ‘Jeopardy!’, I started a pub-trivia team that has competed in events all over the country. I am a staple, though not the staple, on the Online Quiz League, which is the future of competitive trivia, participating with a team where I am the fourth or fifth or even sixth best player, and have competed somewhat successfully in the Trivia World Cup. Even though I am in my 50s, I have the brain power and mental stamina of a man in his 40s.

I like people and know how to talk to them.  This isn’t actually true online, but it is true in real life. I’ve been a reporter for my whole career and am comfortable in any situation, around any type of person.

I have theatrical training. In the 1990s, I studied improv with the late Del Close. He was mostly dead at the time, too. Though I haven’t become quite as successful as some of Del Close’s other disciples, like Andy Richter, Amy Poehler, Adam McKay, or almost anyone else, there’s still time. I say “yes and” to Jeopardy!

Most importantly, I need a new suit. My only suit is more than 20 years old. I bought it for my friend Todd’s wedding in New York. On that day, I was stuck in Manhattan and my dress clothes were in New Jersey. We bought the suit off the rack and never bothered to get it tailored. It has blue pinstripes and makes me look like a character from a community-theater production of ‘Guys and Dolls.’ The men who host Jeopardy! always wear such nice tailored suits. I hope that Jeopardy! buys me three new suits. I will pay them back for at least one.

Put me in, coach. I’m ready to host. Today. Sign the petition. Bring me home to Jeopardy!

 

 

 

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Neal Pollack

Book and Film Globe Editor in Chief Neal Pollack is the author of 11 semi-bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoirs Alternadad and Stretch, the novels Repeat and Downward-Facing Death, and the cult classic The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. A Rotten Tomatoes certified reviewer for both film and television, Neal has written articles and humor for every English-language publication except The New Yorker. Neal lives in Austin, Texas, and is a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

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