Some things in life just aren’t fair. One of those things is how Ken Jennings can be so incredibly smart and also ridiculously funny. The game show guru and Alex Trebek’s arch-nemesis was kind enough to answer a few questions. If you’re not already, you need to be following Ken on Twitter. He’s fantastic.
1. So what are you working on now?
My new mobile app, a Mexican wrestling-themed quiz match called Trivia Death Match with Ken Jennings, is in the App Store now. Get in the ring, m***********s! Like in that Guns N’ Roses song with all the swears. I’m also working on a new series of amazing-facts books for kids, the “Junior Genius Guides.” The first ones come out this winter. And I’m trying to learn how to do that two-finger whistle that New Yorkers do in movies. How do people do that? Is it fake? I’m starting to think it’s fake.
2. What do you think people are hiding in those oversized cargo pants?
Fun fact: most of them are centaurs. They keep centaur accessories in all those pockets. Horseshoes, Altoids, oats. Carrot sticks. Bronzer.
3. Do you think Jurassic Park could ever become a reality?
Some parts are pretty plausible. Like a bunch of jeeps driving around the jungle looking at stuff? Or that Newman guy being a really crappy employee? I can totally see that.
4. After winning 74 games of Jeopardy! you were finally defeated by Nancy Zerg. Would you ever consider doing a romantic comedy with her?
She passed away last spring, Rob! CLASSY. Just kidding, I think she’s still alive. You know what, you’re right, a game show set could be very fertile ground for a rom-com. Imagine two bitter Jeopardy! rivals who hate each other onstage and off–but unbeknownst to either, they’ve been trading flirty messages on a dating site for months! “Krasinski. Bullock. LOVELY PARTING GIFTS.” With a grumpy Alan Arkin as Alex Trebek.
5. As a kid, how did you do in school?
My grades were good. Looking back, I can see that I was the annoying smart kid who could coast by with the absolute minimal studying required to get an A-. My low point was a 7th grade home ec class where I got a C+ because the apron I sewed was so terrible. One of the straps was even in the wrong place. It was like an Elephant Man apron.
6. What are your top five favorite movies of all time?
This is a lot tougher now that I have to choose which Fast and the Furious movie to leave off. Okay, serious answer: I’ll go 2001, Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Um, Spinal Tap. This Powell/Pressburger movie called A Matter of Life and Death. Aaaaaand. Wow, this is the worst. Apocalypse Now.
7. You were on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? as well. Can you describe what Jeff Foxworthy’s mustache is like in person?
It’s the best. It’s a brand-new utility paintbrush from Home Depot. It’s like a genetic splice from an Airedale terrier. By the way, I didn’t know until I was on 5th Grader that Foxworthy is a total fraud. The dude used to be an IBM engineer. He just turns on the trailer-park thing for the rubes.
8. What’s the weirdest celebrity encounter you’ve ever had?
Alec Baldwin was a guest before me on Letterman once and he came up to me in the makeup chair and asked me what my total Jeopardy! winnings had been. He said, “Don’t you give a cent to charity. Spend it all on yourself. Jet skis, cars, summers in Biarritz.” He walked away nodding sagely like he’d just given me the sum of his life’s wisdom. It was everything you would want an encounter with Alec Baldwin to be.
9. Can you describe your worst haircut in excruciating detail?
Oh man, I remember it like it was yesterday. The salon lady just would not shut up. How was my afternoon going? Did I have any plans for the weekend? Some song came on the radio that she liked and she told me she liked it, I guess I looked pretty interested in her musical tastes or something! Longest fifteen minutes of my life. My hair looked fine at the end btw. It was just a trim.
10. What is your favorite thing about me?
You’re a pretty good kisser. Not the best on technique, honestly, but your skin and lips are very smooth.