Hasan Minhaj Somehow Has to Apologize for ‘Trying to Make ‘Jeopardy’ Fun’

Hasan Minhaj Somehow Has to Apologize for ‘Trying to Make ‘Jeopardy’ Fun’

Jeopardy! and its spinoffs have been on the air for 58 years with more than 9,000 episodes and, over the course of its storied history, the game show has hosted enough contestants to fill a mid-sized baseball stadium. That makes the unofficial title bestowed on The Patriot Act’s Hasan Minhaj of “Most Annoying Contestant Ever” unintentionally impressive and unfortunately historic.

Following Minhaj's appearance on Celebrity Jeopardy! this past Sunday, he went on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to offer an “apology” to Jeopardy! fans for, as Twitter put it, “sucking the life out of the episode” and being “one of the most annoying, obnoxious human beings” that they’d ever seen. Minhaj spoke from the heart when he looked into the camera and solemnly spoke the words, “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.”

As Minhaj pointed out, Celebrity Jeopardy! has hosted far more morally dubious guests than himself, such as prospective Pennsylvania Senator Doctor Oz. Therefore, the former Daily Show correspondent drawing such ire in light of the program's past contestants feels a little hyperbolic. That is, until you start to review the tape.

The clips show a spastic, showboating and hyperactive Minhaj pumping his fist and flailing his arms while a significantly more sedate field of Wil Wheaton and Troian Bellisario blow past him on the scoring table. Asked one Jeopardy! fan on Twitter, “Is Hasan Minhaj on cocaine? What the f— is going on with celebrity jeopardy,” to which Minhaj responded, “I’m not cool enough to do cocaine. Everything you hate about me is who I really am.”

Minhaj defended his enthusiasm on The Tonight Show, saying, “When you’re playing Jeopardy! at home in your sweats … you think you’re the s—, but you don’t know what that game does to you in the arena.” While Jeopardy! traditionally holds a more stoic and stately air than that which was on display from Minhaj, the spirit of competition manifests itself differently for different people. In Minhaj’s case, that meant talking trash to Wheaton and hassling host Mayim Bialik about what Minhaj claimed to be a faulty buzzer.

“I go, ‘Mayim! My clicker, my buzzer, I’m buzzing in!’ and she goes, ‘Your buzzer’s fine.’ I go, ‘You’re gaslighting me.’ She goes, ‘No, I’m not.’ I go, ‘You’re victim-blaming now,’” Minhaj described of his clashes with the gamemaster. Crying that the button isn’t working seems like the same excuse that everyone’s little brother made whenever they lost in Super Smash Bros. so it starts to make sense why Twitter waxed hyperbolic about Minhaj’s appearance, with one user opining, “I have never seen a more grating human being in my life” about the two-time Peabody Award winner.

As Minhaj pointed out, “Jeopardy is like American elections: Winner take all. There is no second or third place, so it incentivizes bad behavior.” Minhaj took home third place with a final score of $0, fittingly losing all of his money on a “Double Jeopardy” question about bankruptcy laws. 

Minhaj had a sense of humor about his historically poor reception on the program, telling Fallon, “Maybe my dad was wrong. He said I’d never break records on that show.”

Put this one next to your Peabodys, Hasan.

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