On June 2, 2004, Ken Jennings competed in his very first Jeopardy! game. He dominated the stage for 74 games straight until November 30, 2004, when his legendary streak came to an end. The game-show maestro had very few missteps during his time on the show. However, one of Jennings’ faux pas still lives on in infamy.
‘Jeopardy!’ Writers Surprise Ken Jennings With Gag Gift
This year, Ken Jennings marked 18 years since his historic Jeopardy! streak. The Jeopardy! champion-turned-host has truly earned his spot on the game-show stage. However, the Jeopardy! writers decided to remind Jennings of his humble beginnings with a hilarious “souvenir.” On October 8, 2004, Jennings infamously gave a wrong answer to a Jeopardy! clue.
“They printed me a souvenir at @Jeopardy! yesterday. Eighteen years later and there’s STILL no note about accepting any alternate answers [angry face],” the host wrote on Twitter. The picture showed a printed clue sheet for a 2004 episode.
The clue read: “This term for a long-handled gardening tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker.” The correct answer would be, “What is a rake?”
However, all those years ago, Jennings confidently gave a far less PG answer. “What’s a hoe?” Jennings guessed.
Trebek quickly answered, “No,” although he didn’t seem to process what exactly Jennings had just said. Once he did, he proclaimed, “Woah, Woah,” as the audience failed to contain their laughter. “They teach you that in school in Utah, huh?” Trebek jested.
Ken Jennings Suggests It Was A Trick Clue
Thankfully, Jennings is a good sport. While he was a bit red-faced all those years ago, it’s clear he appreciates just how humorous the whole ordeal was. With that being said, Jennings certainly wasn’t the only one who didn’t immediately think “rake.”
“The writer who gave the world this clue still works for the show and SWEARS it was not a trap. But I and the nice Lutheran minister to my left were both going ‘hoe’ there, that’s all I’m saying,” Jennings wrote in a later Twitter post.
Whether it was a trap or not, it’s a rare thing for a contestant’s faux pas to completely interrupt the show’s rhythm with waves of laughter. Fortunately, Ken Jennings’ legacy lives on as the all-time Jeopardy! champion and now as the show’s host. This hilarious game show relic will continue to delight as long as the internet keeps it alive.