I first saw this almost ten years ago and to this day I still bust a gut watching it. Even then I never realized Will Ferrell would be the cinematic comedic giant that he is now. If you don't see the video screen below then either click the title or go here and find Alex Trebeck under the "tags " section .
If you find this 1/5 as funny as I do. Bookmark this web page and go back to it when you need a good laugh.
Celebrity Jeopardy! was a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live. It parodies the Celebrity Jeopardy! edition of the television game show Jeopardy! where celebrities compete and the game's level of difficulty is significantly reduced. Thirteen sketches have been aired to date, two per season from 1996 to 2002, and one in 2005 when Will Ferrell returned to host an episode of Saturday Night Live.
Will Ferrell appeared as host Alex Trebek in all thirteen sketches. Darrell Hammond also appeared in each sketch, eleven as Sean Connery. Norm Macdonald appeared in four sketches, all as Burt Reynolds. Jimmy Fallon appeared in six sketches and Dean Edwards appeared in two; neither playing the same character twice.
On the television special Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation, Norm Macdonald revealed that he created the sketch purely as an excuse to do his Burt Reynolds impersonation. Macdonald also stated that Reynolds is a fan of the sketch and that there were talks to do a sketch where the real Reynolds would crash the game and punch out Macdonald. Reynolds would then play the remainder of the game, with his answers being even dumber than Macdonald's. However, Macdonald was fired from Saturday Night Live before that sketch could be written.
Under the guise of a run-of-the-mill celebrity game show wherein celebrity contestants appear and donate their winnings to charity, the sketches usually begin at the start of the second round of Jeopardy!, called Double Jeopardy!. The host, Alex Trebek, welcomes the audience and introduces the celebrity contestants, along with their current scores. These are usually deep in the negative, zero (because they've never buzzed in), or a very low positive score, such as $14. Both the host and contestants are played as caricatures of their real-life personalities. Trebek, known to strictly enforce the rules, is the beleaguered straight man. He is generally the only person on stage interested in engaging in a game of Jeopardy! The contestants, who often appear either unaware of what the game is or uninterested in playing it, either ramble incoherently, deliver irrelevant monologues, or openly antagonize the host. Whenever a contestant takes the game seriously, he or she proves utterly incapable of answering any of the questions correctly. In thirteen sketches, no contestant ever buzzes in and gives a correct response. Meanwhile, Trebek makes little or no effort to hide his contempt for the celebrities’ stupidity, and in return he is bombarded with sophomoric insults from Sean Connery.
In order for a game of Jeopardy! to progress, the contestants select clues, arranged in a grid by category and point value, so Trebek can give them. Many times, the celebrities refuse or fail to select a clue, grinding the pace of the game to a halt. Often, Trebek violates the rules and selects the category himself. At first, the show employed reasonable categories such as "Movies" and "Popular Music," but as the celebrities’ ineptitude grew more apparent, the categories became more and more childish. Many category names, such as "Colors that end in 'urple,'" suggest that the contestants could infer the correct responses before hearing the clues, and categories such as "Automatic Points" do not even require responses. Jeopardy! standby "Potent Potables," a category about alcoholic beverages, is always offered but never selected by Trebek or a contestant. Categories that do not fit this profile are often misunderstood by the celebrities and transformed by one of the contestants (almost always Connery) into sexually suggestive phrases. For example, he misreads "The Pen is Mightier" (a category about literary quotes) as "The Penis Mightier" (which the contestants believe is a penis enlargement product). In addition, Sean Connery occasionally modifies the board; for instance, he uses a marker to change "I have a Chardonnay" to "I Have a Hard On" and once sticks a piece of paper reading "Things Trebek Sucks" over the actual category, "Potpourri".
Trebek eventually grows exasperated with his inability to conduct the show and cuts it short by moving to the Final Jeopardy! round. Often, he discards the scripted category and question in favor of something much easier, such as asking the contestants to write down their own question and answer it, or make any mark whatsoever to earn a correct answer. Sometimes, the show itself delivers a childishly simple category such as "First Grade Math" or "Horsies." Despite constructing scenarios wherein it appears impossible for the celebrities to fail, they invariably do.
On rare occasions, contestants answer Final Jeopardy! correctly, but such success is never accompanied by an appropriate wager, rendering the whole effort pointless. Connery occasionally provides a correct answer but uses his wager to transform the text into something rude. For instance, when Trebek asks the contestants to write anything at all to earn a correct response, Connery writes "below" for his response, which Trebek acknowledges as correct, and writes "me" for his wager, so his screen reads "below me", a reference to fellatio. These instances and others indicate a shift in Connery’s character: first portrayed as stupid and clueless, Connery eventually demonstrates that he is aware of the nature of the show and capable of answering the questions, but he prefers making rude jokes and frustrating Trebek to attempting to win the game. Trebek then ends the sketch, sometimes by announcing that money will not be given to charity or declaring his intention to resign or commit suicide.
Initially, Burt Reynolds had been the celebrity who appeared on each episode, and there are some indications that he was to develop an antagonistic relationship with the host as well. When Reynolds appears for the last time on the sketch, he misreads categories in the way Connery does and insists that he be addressed as "Turd Ferguson" because "it's a funny name." For Final Jeopardy!, he merely tells Trebek "don't bother, I didn't write anything." He also antagonizes Trebek during the sketch.
End of the sketch
The sketch was initially retired on Will Ferrell’s departure from the SNL cast in 2002, but it returned for another appearance on May 14, 2005, when Ferrell hosted for the first time since leaving as a regular. His last line in the Celebrity Jeopardy! sketch was "All Right. That's it. I quit. Once and for all. Really. Good night." The second-to-last sketch featured the real Alex Trebek in a cameo appearance wherein he gives the Trebek character a sendoff on Will Ferrell's last show as a member of the SNL cast.
Relationship with the real Jeopardy!
On the September 5, 2001 episode of Jeopardy!, all the Double Jeopardy! categories were inspired by the sketch. They were “Sean Connery,” “Surprise Me, Trebek!”, “Therapists,” “Things You Shouldn’t Put in Your Mouth,” “The Number After 2,” and “Rhymes With ‘Dog’.”
On the June 27, 2006 episode of Jeopardy!, the first category of the second round was “Japan-U.S. Relations,” one of the many categories misunderstood or misrepresented by the Connery character (he cited it as "Jap Anus Relations").
In the 2006 Celebrity Jeopardy! tournament, categories included "Surprise Me, Trebek!" and "Answers That Start With 'Feb'," which both reference the sketch.
On the September 24, 2008 edition, one of the categories in the Jeopardy round was "Starts with Feb, Trebek!", of which contestant Brian Levinson did his version of Sean Connery's voice in asking for the category, and Trebek said "You can keep doing it [in Connery's] voice." Four days later, another SNL inspired category - "Months That End in 'Ber', Trebek" - was one of the first round categories.
While the real-life Alex Trebek shaved his mustache in 2001, Ferrell’s Trebek character retained it.
The board on the Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches features seven categories of four answers each, different from the real Jeopardy! board of six categories with five answers each. Also, when the real Jeopardy! doubled its dollar amounts in 2001, the board in the sketches retained the original 1984-2000 cash setup.