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7 Most Embarrassing "Celebrity Jeopardy!" Answers of All Time

Here are the most cringe-worthy answers ever given on the show.

In the realm of "Celebrity Jeopardy!" there have been moments of triumph and moments of utter embarrassment. From famous athletes to renowned comedians, even the brightest stars can falter under the pressure of the game show, even when the winnings go to charity. Here we delve into the seven most cringe-worthy answers ever given on the show. From Jalen Rose's baffling confusion over New England's statehood to Hasan Minhaj's eye-opening remarks about the series, these incidents left audiences stunned and amused. Join us as we recount the hilarious and sometimes painful missteps of these celebrities in the quest for Jeopardy! glory—ranked from embarrassing to the #1 most shocking.

Jalen Rose's Air Ball


Jalen Rose, a former first-round NBA Draft pick in 1994 and, until recent layoffs, an ESPN star, had a remarkably poor showing on Celebrity Jeopardy!. His lackluster performance, characterized by numerous mistakes, earned him a uncharitable reputation for being one of the worst contestants in the show's history. One notable blunder came when he incorrectly responded with "New England" to a question specifically asking for a state known for chowder and being the home of Gilmore Girls. New England is not a state!

Hiding Behind Podium in Shame


In one recent episode, the clue was: "This battery mascot that's been going and going since the late 1980s has entered the Oxford English Dictionary to mean something or someone persistent." Comedian Iliza Schlesinger got to answer first, and did so confidently: "What is: The Duracell rabbit?" No!  "What is: the Energizer Bunny," said Simu Liu, star of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Correct!  "Am I from Mars?" asked Schlesinger, mortified. "Who has even said Duracell in the last decade, how old am I?" "You're giving Duracell a lot of exposure right now. That's some free advertising right there," said Liu. "Can I get a free bathrobe and some denture – oil?" she asked, before hiding behind her podium in shame.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Ratings Mishap


In 2012, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the renowned basketball legend, found himself in the spotlight of a Jeopardy! mishap. With confidence, he identified "X" as the movie rating absent from a given list, only to be corrected by hist Alex Trebek. "You went in the wrong direction," Trebek quipped. "We were looking for a 'G' rating, not an 'X' rating. Remember, Kareem, this is a family show!"

In "Field of Dreams…."


One episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! sparked shock among sports fans when contestants failed to answer a question about the movie Field of Dreams. "In 'Field of Dreams' a question is asked, 'Is this Heaven?' — No, it's this midwestern state also known as 'The Corn State.'"  WNBA star Candace Parker, actress Torrey DeVitto, and comedian Patton Oswalt were unable to identify the correct response. "What is Wisconsin?" said DeVitto. No. "What is Nebraska?" said Parker. No. Oswalt didn't even try. "What is Iowa?" said host moment. The incident quickly gained attention on Twitter, with users expressing their disbelief and humor at the contestants' responses. Some viewers criticized the show for not referring to Iowa as "The Hawkeye State." 

Kareem Guesses Himself


In a memorable moment from 2009, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, him again) delighted viewers when he mistakenly identified himself as the answer to a question. The clue read, "Tell your old man to drag this '70s UCLA and Trail Blazer center (and Lanier!) up and down the court for 48 minutes."  This was a reference to Abdul-Jabbar's cameo role in the movie "Airplane!," but the judges were actually looking for the subject of the quote, not who said it. Yet with confidence, Abdul-Jabbar buzzed in and confidently responded, "Who is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?" to which an astonished Alex Trebek said, "No!" Since no other contestants rang in, Trebek explained that the correct answer was Bill Walton, not Abdul-Jabbar.

Hasan Minhaj Backlash


Fans of Celebrity Jeopardy! were a little unnerved by an episode starring comedian Hasan Minhaj, Wil Wheaton from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Troian Bellisario from Pretty Little Liars. Minhaj seemed particularly amped on stage and he humorously "apologized" to Jeopardy! fans on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. "To the fans of Jeopardy, I want to take this moment to apologize. I'm sorry I desecrated an American institution. I'm sorry I ripped your 7 p.m. linear TV pacifier out of your geriatric mouth. And most importantly, I'm sorry for trying to make Jeopardy! fun," he joked. He added: "You don't know what that game does to you in the arena." But that doesn't even compare to the #1 most embarrassing moment—read on.

Wolf Blitzer Tanks


In an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! that aired in September 2009, featuring CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Dana Delany from Desperate Housewives, and Conan O'Brien's sidekick Andy Richter, Blitzer didn't perform well—at all. Richter dominated the game, leading with $11,800, followed by Delany with $3,600, and Blitzer with $1,400. Blitzer managed to increase his score to $2,200 but eventually fell into negatives after incorrect answers. Richter excelled throughout, accumulating $39,000 in winnings. Blitzer received a pity bonus of $5,600, allowing him to participate in the final round. He correctly answered the last question, bringing his total score to $2,000.  Not great for a CNN newsman, to be beaten by a comedian. "Wolf had done well on a previous appearance on Jeopardy!, but on this game, the categories didn't line up with his areas of expertise," Trebek has said. "And Andy Richter was probably as good a Celebrity Jeopardy! player as we have ever had on the program."

Christopher Roback
Christopher Roback is an experienced news journalist specializing in political, science, and crime news. Read more
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