For a variety of reasons, my life has not been my own the past few weeks. And that’s OK. I had a lot of fun, did a lot of stuff, saw a lot of people. My niece got married and I got to officiate, and it’s been a while since I’ve done a wedding. It was an honor to do this one.
But in the midst of all the craziness, George and I hied ourselves up to the great white north (OK, we went to Boston). Because we love not being home three out of five weekends? No! Because we can’t wait to need to change the oil on my car? No! Because I eschew sleep and survive on coffee, stress-based adrenaline and road food? Close! But no! Though I do love a good bag of Combos. Anyway. It was time to road trip it up there, and this jam-packed-in-the-middle-of-everything-else trip was all thanks to the day I opened my email and…(cue cartoon sound effect of eyes boinging out of their sockets…)
See, I’ve taken the Jeopardy! online test for…oh, I don’t know…the past four out of five years, I suppose (I skipped the test in January 2013 because it was being given right in the midst of two funerals and a vicious stomach virus; I felt justified in letting it go). You take the test, you forget you’ve taken it, you move on. So I was at the gym the day I got the email that said I’d been randomly selected out of the list of people who scored highly enough on the online test to qualify to audition in Boston. We had just finished Zumba and I was checking my phone (like I always do) before sitting down to gossip with the ladies in my class for ten or fifteen minutes (like I always do). When I scrolled through my email…there it was. “Congratulations! You have been selected for a follow-up appointment…”. D’oh! I picked up my gym bag, waved goodbye, and went straight home. I made George read the email before I let myself believe that was what I’d read.
Seriously. I felt all super-cool.
The mechanics of the Jeopardy! audition are shrouded in mystery. Once you take the online test, you have no idea how well you’ve done until and unless you are contacted by the people who have randomly selected you from their list of everyone who scored high enough to qualify. Then you go, and have no idea how well you’ve done until and unless you get a phone call some time in the next 18 months inviting you to come out to LA to compete. I made a flow chart in an attempt to demystify the Jeopardy! experience. From what I can understand, the process looks something like this:
So for all my friends and family who have kindly asked me how I did, I’m not saying “I don’t know” to be coy. Dudes, I? Frigging. Don’t. Know. The numbers look a little like this:
- 100,000 people took the online test in January.
- The search committee invites somewhere between 3500 and 4000 people to audition in-person.
- They only need about 400 contestants each year, so once you get to the audition you’ve only got about a 10% chance of making it to the show.
- There were a bunch of people in the room who had auditioned at least once. I felt like first-time auditioners were the minority.
With that being said, it was a fun day. I chatted with a bunch of other nervous, smart, nice people (except for that grade grubber…you know who you are). The audition panel asked us questions. I did my best to answer them. I didn’t think they were trying to trip anyone up; they were just getting us all used to the dynamics of the actual game, which differ wildly from shouting out answers at your TV, while wearing jammies and drinking a glass of wine. (TV producer types: you really ought to consider letting contestants compete with jammies and wine; could be off-the-hook good! Call my people.) They ask that possible contestants don’t publicly discuss the specific questions we were faced with and I can respect that, so…they asked questions that were wide-ranging in their scope of general knowledge. So if you’re a budding contestant, then my advice is to identify the gaps in your own knowledge and cram to fill them. If you cram and then aren’t asked a question about 19th-century US Presidents or state capitals, the worst thing that will happen is you’ll end up knowing more stuff. Quelle horreur!
Plus, I got some pretty swank Jeopardy! swag.
Dig my crazy-J earbuds!
In a full-on Jeopardy!-style carrying case!
And yes, the pièce de résistance, a gen-u-wine ersatz Jeopardy! buzzy-inny-clicker, cleverly disguised as a pen. Which is like a dream come true for me, because I’m partly convinced that with the right pen I can take over the world.
*nerd points if you get the “brain” quote.
Don’t think I don’t click this thing like a woman possessed. *clickclickclliickcikcickkclllcickcickickckcillciclciliciiik STAAAAAHHHHHHP!* (What? Just practicing my world domination, honey!)
That’s how it goes in my house these days. Let’s all take a moment and send healing vibes to the ever-patient George.
So that’s the story of how I auditioned for Jeopardy!. My advice: study facts ‘n’ stuff. Wear presentable clothing. Relax! And have some fun. Sure, winning money would be nice, but chances are, you won’t, and at the end of the day? It’s all a game.
Good luck! And remember…
I’m coming for YOU, Trebek.