Things can get pretty heated on Jeopardy!, but the contestants usually keep things civil. However, a recent player revealed that he had a “nemesis” on the stage with him—the show’s host, Ken Jennings!
Duncan Bowling is an ICU nurse manager from Washington, D.C. Even though he was a first-time competitor on the game show, Bowling revealed that he was entering the game with a rival in mind.
“I understand I am your nemesis, Duncan,” Jennings started. “And I was not notified!” Bowling quickly explained that the animosity he felt for the game show host all started back when he was still a teenager.
“I was a high school quiz bowl contestant and whenever we would slack off in practice, my coach Ms. Waller would always say, ‘How do you think Ken Jennings got so far? It was not by slacking off,’” Bowling shared.
At the time, Jennings was on his record-breaking winning streak, impressing viewers with his trivia knowledge and buzzer speed. He has gone on to be the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time.
He continued, “Your name elicited a lot of eye-rolls from me back in the day. But I’m glad we can put the past in the past today.” Jennings laughingly responded, “If your quiz bowl coach is watching, I slacked off a ton in high school.”
Fans found the interaction hilarious, and the official Jeopardy! Twitter account even got in on the fun, posting a mock-motivational poster with the game show host’s face on it. “Success starts by wanting to prove your former principal wrong…..” someone commented on the post. Another person wrote, “The things quiz bowl teachers will say!”
All that quiz bowl training clearly came in handy for Bowling! He ended the episode in second place with $16,100. Troy Meyer, a Florida music executive, was the champion, continuing his three-day winning streak and taking home $35,000.
There’s clearly no real animosity between Bowling and Jennings, but his one-sided beef with the game show host was a hilarious start to the game and a hilarious callback to all of our high school days!