This Guy Lost Thousands for Saying 'Gangsta' Wrong on 'Jeopardy!'
Shows about trivia are fun and all, but the takeaways are often, well, trivial. You learn the names of some former-Soviet countries; you get to judge strangers for doing poorly under pressure. It's a nice way to pass the time. But on Monday's episode of Jeopardy!, as you can see in the tweet and video above, they stumbled upon a fundamental truth about the human condition: Better to be gangsta than gangster.
Alex Trebek, noted eater of six pot brownies, was reading for the category "Music & Literature Before & After" when he gave the following clue: "A song by Coolio from 'Dangerous Minds' goes back in time to become a 1667 John Milton classic." Contestants were required to combine the names of works of music and literature from different time periods. Contestant Nick Spicher responded, looking very proud of himself indeed, with the following: "What is Gangster's Paradise Lost." Trebek awarded him the points, and we all pretended it wasn't weird to hear him say that. Spicher now led the pack with $11,200.
But moments later, Trebek interrupted the game to reveal that the judges had reviewed the answer. It was, in fact, incorrect, by one syllable. "You said 'Gangster's' instead of 'Gangsta's' on that song by Coolio," Trebek explained. "We take $3,200 away from you so you are now in second place."
Before you decide whether this was an injustice, read this blog post from the judges explaining their reasoning:
"Although Nick’s response of 'Gangster’s Paradise Lost' was initially accepted, the hard R sound caught the ear of one member of the onstage team, who immediately followed up with a quick check," the judges said. "It turns out that 'gangsta' and 'gangster' are both listed separately in the Oxford English Dictionary, each with its own unique definition. Nick changed not only the song’s title, but also its meaning -- making his response unacceptable."
Spicher went on to regain his lead; his street cred, however, may never recover.