Uh huh

14 06 2009

I’ve had my digital video recorder for a little over a month. One consequence of this is that I have become addicted to Jeopardy. I like to think I’m reasonably good at answering the questions, but I could never appear on the show, for three reasons:

  • I am, um, less than calm under pressure.
  • I always suck at answering Final Jeopardy.
  • If Alex Trebek told me that I had gotten an answer wrong, it would be difficult for me to resist saying “Shit!” Which I suspect you still can’t say on the air.

One thing I realized after watching several weeks’ worth of episodes: Trebek has probably had to say “yes”, or some synonym, more times than just about anyone in human history. And it led me to wonder: how many different words or phrases does he use to tell contestants that they have the right answer?

In the spirit of scientific inquiry, I just watched last Friday’s show and wrote down every affirmative variation that Trebek used. Here’s the complete list:

  • Yes
  • Right
  • Correct
  • That’s it
  • That’s right
  • Right you are
  • Yeah
  • Good

That’s it. Over and over again. For year upon year (he’s been doing this since 1984). I don’t think I could do his job.

But I wonder: is he ever tempted to say “Yowza!” or “Fuckin’ A” or “Affirmative” or “Spot on” or perhaps “Jolly good”? And, in off-work hours, does he beg his friends and companions to please, pretty please, use assertive statements and not phrase anything in the form of a question?

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