How Do You Get On Jeopardy?

How do you get on @Jeopardy!? Take the on-line test. Even if you never want to be on the show, take the test. It’s 50 questions with a time limit. Nobody has to know. It’s kind of a no-harm-no-foul situation. Although they tell you right up front, you won’t get your score, and they won’t know how you did unless they contact you to come for an audition. I’ve taken the test for the last three years, fully expecting that I wouldn’t hear anything until the notice went up for next year’s test. And then…

 

In April I got the biggest good news/bad news joke I’ve ever experienced. “Congratulations!!” the email read. “You’re being invited to try out for Jeopardy!! Come to Chicago with hundreds of your closest friends. Here is your appointed time. If you can’t be here, then, forget it.” When my brain cells began functioning again, I realized that ‘then’ was the exact time I had to be in Los Angeles at the memorial service for a very dear friend. I admit it. I had a purely selfish moment thinking, “Well, heck, his wife will have other people to console her. It’s Jeopardy!” But his wife had arranged it specifically so I and two other frequent travelers could be there. My heart plummeted. I felt nauseous. And then, in the small print, I read, “If you have any questions or problems, call.” Did I call? Don’t be daft. Of course I called. And here is where I tell you the first great truth about Jeopardy!.

 

It is staffed by the most relentlessly kind, nice, funny, upbeat people I have met in my entire life. And I was in theater. I know. Honestly, I told the woman on the phone my plight, and she agreed that I had my priorities right(Whew! Aced the first question). She said she’d try to squeeze me in. Two days later I got the second, less drastic good news/bad news joke. They squeezed me in. I had an appointment for the day I would be heading home from LA anyway. All I had to do was swing through Chicago. Easy peasy. The appointment was at 9:00AM. Noooooooo!! I’m usually going to bed about three hours earlier. But if you thought I was going to call again, you can’t know how important this was to me. I sucked it up. I flew into Chicago, and I got my sorry butt up at 8Am so I could be at least marginally awake.

 

I arrived with about fifty people to meet in person for the first time, these relentlessly nice people(seriously. I was there at the end of a long week where they did try-outs from 7AM to 7PM, and they still seemed absolutely delighted to meet us all and hear the same stories over and over). We took another test(to make sure we were the ones who had taken the online version) and then we got to play a mock game with buzzers, cameras, lights and the contest coordinators standing in for Alex. I knew some stuff. I didn’t know some stuff. I thought I had a great anecdote to tell Alex. But really, I had no idea how I did. Except I could say for sure that I was one of the few they didn’t have to tell to speak up. And then…

 

“Don’t call, don’t write. We won’t tell you how you did unless you made it. We have 18 months to call, and we start calling in July. So go home and forget you were ever here.”

Actually after years of waiting out manuscript submissions, I’m really good at that.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the big call. And no bad news this time. Stay tuned…

(I’m going to be posting all this on my website www.eileendreyer.com in which I also hawk my Nov release Twice Temped. Because that’s my real job).