This week Jeopardy, frozen in time like Nic Cage's hairline, is having a series called "Power Players" where celebrities play for their favorite charities. Like its SNL sketch counterpart, these episodes are notoriously unflattering to the celebrities who want to prove their smarts. Wednesday's installment featured comedian Louis CK taking on journalists Kate Bolduan of CNN's At This Hour and Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post and MSNBC.
This should have been a lay-up for the journalists. They're answering questions in categories like "State Facts," "D.C. History," "CEOs," and "It's Not Rocket Science" against a guy whose semi-autobiographical show featured him masturbating in the pantry. Nonetheless, they crashed harder than Joanie Loves Chachi.
Louis owned them, ultimately beating Bolduan by over $18,000. Like 99% of celebrity Jeopardy appearances, the "smart" people looked like buffoons. Like when Andy Richter beat Wolf Blitzer by over $40,000. Or when quarterback Aaron Rodgers bested astronaut Mark Kelly and the not-so-wonderful Kevin O'Leary, who, like Blitzer, finished with a negative amount of money.
Bolduan and Capehart held their own through the first round. Bolduan even had a $200 lead on Louie. But Double Jeopardy was the start of a quiz show massacre.
The two journalists expected better of themselves and were visibly flummoxed at times, trying to give the impression that they totally knew the answer. At other times they were a little too happy to get one right. Capehart let out a Napoleon Dynamite inspired "Yes!" after getting a question right in Double Jeopardy. The $2,000 response brought him within $3,400 of Louis.
It's nothing against Louis. He's clearly a smart guy. But when a journalist who covers politics goes on a quiz show and doesn't know who the longest-tenured Supreme Court justice is, that requires a long discussion with a bottle of wine in an eerily quiet hotel room. It's not good for them, and it's not good for anyone to see. It makes you question a journalist for the wrong reasons, on the wrong criteria.
On the upside, Louis won $50,000 for the Fistula Foundation
. Additionally, it wasn't the all-out SNL Celebrity Jeopardy
parody that aired on Tuesday when CNN's Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes'
Lara Logan, and former RNC chairman Michael Steele only responded with depressing silence to the answer: this word "can mean a battlefield vehicle or a home for your pet fish." They didn't even have a guess.
Worse yet, in Final Jeopardy, with the answer "This country’s 2 main ethnic groups are Punjabi (who are also found in India) & Pashtun (also living in Afghanistan)" on the board, Steele's question was "What is a place far, far away?"
You don't even have a guess? Oh no.