What Alex Trebek Really Thought of ‘SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy Sketches
In a peculiar twist of fate, Sean Connery and Alex Trebek passed away just eight days apart, on October 31 and November 8. In real life, they weren’t connected, but on Saturday Night Live they were sworn enemies on one of the show’s most popular recurring sketches, “Celebrity Jeopardy!” In one episode after another, Will Ferrell’s perpetually exasperated Alex Trebek offered the easiest questions imaginable to a series of incredibly dumb movie stars, including a foul-mouthed Sean Connery, played by Darrell Hammond.
Although the celebrities were typically the butt of the joke, Ferrell’s Trebek was always a bit more short-tempered than his real-life counterpart. So what did the real Trebek think of SNL’s interpretation? Steve Higgins, the man who first came up with the idea for the “Celebrity Jeopardy!” sketches while he was a writer on SNL, penned a guest column in Variety about how the sketches began and why they became so popular. And he revealed that Trebek was a big fan of the spoof:
Trebek told Lorne that he loved the sketch. I was always very happy about that. That would have been terrible, if he’d thought it was anything but love. You really can’t parody something if you don’t love it, or else it’s just mean. Norm [Macdonald] and I used to play Jeopardy! in his office. It’s just one of those things that is pure goodness.
Higgins credits his wife with the first suggestion of a Jeopardy! sketch while they were watching the real Celebrity Jeopardy! — the celebrities were doing so poorly, she thought a sketch version could be funny. Higgins wrote the first one with Adam McKay and then with other writers throughout his tenure with the show.
In the column, Higgins calls Trebek “probably the best game show host in the history of game show hosts.” As for the sketches themselves, Higgins says they’re “the best thing I’ve ever done.” Raise a potent potable to Alex Trebek and Sean Connery, and enjoy some of the best “Celebrity Jeopardy!” sketches from SNL below:
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