Thursday, July 24, 2008

Josh On Jeopardy

Back in February of 2007, I read two books about what it takes to be a Jeopardy champion. While I am no slouch in filling my brain with useless trivia, I really admire the guys and gals that can do it under the hot stage lights in front of uber-cool Alex Trebek. In the comments, Josh Fruhlinger of the Comics Curmudgeon blog mentioned that he would love to get on Jeopardy. Well, his dream came true.

He took the online test and finally made it. He and his lovely wife went out to California at their own expense (Jeopardy only pays the travel expenses of returning champions) and put the buzzer in his hand. His episode aired Tuesday night and Josh arranged for a watching party at PJ’s near the Johns Hopkins campus.

I got there to find a small crowd already gathered and I sat with some of Josh’s relatives and other blog readers including fellow Comics Cardinal Zippers the Mule. By the time the show started there were at least fifty friends of Josh and shanghaied bar patrons watching the big screen. We cheered his every right answer (and there were a lot) but the reigning champion was just a demon with the buzzer and got all the Daily Doubles. Josh’s only serious faux pas was not realizing that the Maryland state fish, the rockfish, is also known as a striped bass.

Despite his excellent play, he was third second going into Final Jeopardy where World Leaders was the category. In addition to being the world’s leading expert on newspaper comics (successfully defining a very narrow niche being one of the keys to internet success), Josh also writes an occasional column for Wonkette called The Foreigns where he mocks scandals that various foreign heads of state have fallen into.

And while his ‘question’ of “Who is Dubcek?” was close, the right answer of “Who is Golda Maier” eluded him. Still, Alex Trebek was impressed by the good guess as well as Josh’s fine fashion sense.

After the show Josh gave a brief tale of how the taping went and how little the contestants are allowed to hob-nob with Alex. He took some questions and everyone congratulated on his close brush with game show riches.

After the show, Josh sat down and we talked about all sorts of things like the nature of internet celebrity, the inner workings of Wonkette, and the ubiquity of internet porn. Despite being fellow Baltimorons and having had e-mailed each other in the past (I had even sent him a wedding gift), we had never met face-to-face. He didn’t even know my real name, but he recognized me immediately from the many pictures of myself on my blog.

One of my mantras for the internet era is that there is no level of fame too low to not have a cult of personality. And Josh deserves one since he has such a great attitude and sharp sense of humor. Now in addition to his roles as World Famous Comics Blogger and Occasional Wonkette Contributor, he can add Failed Jeopardy Contestant to his list of titles. And that is a genuine accomplishment I am sincerely envious of. Thanks for letting me live that thrill vicariously through you, Josh.

If you are here from either Comics Curmudgeon or The Gene Pool, check out all my comics posts.


Sue T. said...

Thanks for the party report! I had looked forward to setting a Season Pass for Jeopardy! on my TiVo so I could enjoy Josh's long, long winning streak, but alas, it was not to be... still, he did a great job.

Anonymous said...

I was so glad to see your post. I live a hop skip and a jump from PJs but was unable to celebrate Josh's latest venue into fame. Didn't think my seven month old were suffer the indignity of falling from the center of attention. Thanks for the play by play and photos. Makes it almost half as good as being there!

Elizabeth said...

Looks like you all had a fun time. I think I remember hearing somewhere that being fast on the buzzer is actually kinda of tricky. And the person returning is going to have the advantage of already using the buzzer.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Fun times had by all!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the write-up, yellojkt! My only correction is that I was actually in 2nd going into final Jeoaprdy -- I coulda won if Mark had gotten it wrong and I had gotten right, instead of, you know, the opposite, which is what happened.

The pics are great, especially the one of me and completely non-right FJ answer. D'you mind if I use some one or more of them?


yellojkt said...

Help yourself. Check your e-mail. I'll send the original. Or just download the ones I've used.

Anonymous said...

Tuesday was GF's first night home from her travels so you know I wasn't going to be allowed out. Looks like you guys had a fun time.

Did you see Josh got a brief mention in the Sun today (Sunday the 27th)? Scroll down about halfway.