Proof posted on Twitter but honestly you know it's me because I'm still using that stupid WatsonsBitch username from last time because I didn't want to lose all that sweet sweet karma.

My new book Because I Said So! came out Tuesday! It uses SCIENCE to debunk parental cliches like "Don't sit so close to the TV," "If you eat raw cookie dough you'll get worms," that kind of thing. Redditors helped suggest about thirty of the myths in the book, and I mailed them free copies last week as promised.

Here are some SHOCKING VIDEOS we made about how the book was written. Please check out the book if it sounds funny to you. It has GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT written all over it. (Not literally.)

This AMA might not be as good as the last one because I can't use any of the same jokes. Sorry in advance.

Edited to add: Okay, guys and gals, I have to run, I have a book signing tonight. Also, we just got knocked off the top of the front page by a homophobic milk carton. :( Sorry if I didn't get to your question, but I answered as many as I could. My parents always taught me: "With great power comes great response ability."

If you have enjoyed our time here together, please consider checking out Because I Said So! which is also me answering questions in smart-ass ways. Plus if its sales rank skyrockets after I do this, think of all the clout that Reddit will have in the publishing world. The Joyce Carol Oates AMA will be inevitable.

You can also see me regularly in Parade magazine,, Twitter, and places like that. Until next time, Reddit!

Comments: 2988 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

harx11437 karma

Any chance of you taking over as the host of Jeopardy if/when Alex Trebek retires. Any discussions to that effect happening?

WatsonsBitch3171 karma

We need to get that rumor started. I'd say there's virtually no chance, since they would probably interview people WITH ACTUAL TV HOSTING EXPERIENCE.

But that said, what a dream job. I would take it in a heartbeat. Trebek works on-set like 4-5 days a month, and I'm sure a big Sony truck full of cash backs up to his house once or twice a week. I just need to work on my French pronunciation and my transparently false sympathy at wrong answers.

Templeyak84908 karma

Do you ever watch Jeopardy and scream at your TV. HOW DID YOU NOT KNOW THAT!?

WatsonsBitch2902 karma

Ha, my son is 10 and he wants to watch Jeopardy EVERY NIGHT NOW. I always beg him to turn it off. It's my favorite show but nowadays when I hear the music and the smooth Canadian tones of Alex Trebek I find myself getting all nervous and keyed-up. Like I'm back in 'Nam all of the sudden.

MrDerk886 karma

I have to say, the inscription you put in my copy of Braniac is far and away my favorite ever, so thanks for that.

I guess that's not a question so... how'd you get so awesome and stuff?

WatsonsBitch1027 karma

You're welcome! I'm not sure that Rush Holt joke has aged all that well.

If I'm awesome at all it's only because I was bitten by a radioactive game show contestant as a child. (It was that weirdo with the beard who figured out how to cheat at Press Your Luck.)

captainjib728 karma

Any words of wisdom for a high school trivia team? We admire you.

edit: SURPRISE! i am female.

WatsonsBitch2352 karma

If you get the chance, talk to a girl sometime so you can tell your teammates what it was like.

zeppelin1023707 karma

Care to speak about the "hoe" incident? How much did Alex Trebeck bust your balls about that afterwards?

WatsonsBitch1803 karma

Here's the clip.

The only thing I remember happening during the next break is that "Al" guy on the end saying he was glad I beat him to the buzzer. He was also going to say "What is a ho?" and he was some kind of Lutheran pastor from Minnesota, he thought his congregation would never let him live it down.

I also wanted to ask the Jeopardy writers if that was a set-up, like that question was specifically phrased to get someone to say "What is a ho?" I suspect so.

stopdropanddrumroll297 karma

So did you actually know the right answer and just want to say 'ho' on national television?

WatsonsBitch932 karma


mashman922704 karma

Fuck, marry, kill. Alex Trebek, Rob Delaney, Watson. Go.

WatsonsBitch3425 karma

Uh, I'm here to talk about Rampart.

rchard694 karma

Will you name my new cat?

WatsonsBitch2018 karma

"Callipygian." It means "possessing beautiful buttocks."

Garizondyly824 karma

Is this how English linguists flirt?

WatsonsBitch1572 karma

With each other's pets. :(

abovemars662 karma

When you were on Jeopardy, what was the housing situation? Did they provide a hotel, or did you live in the area?

WatsonsBitch1841 karma

A lot of people are surprised to hear that Jeopardy doesn't normally pick up contestants' travel costs. You fly out, get a hotel, rent a car, all on your own dime.

In my case, I always stayed in this DISGUSTING little motel right by the 405 in Culver City. At first I chose it because (a) it was right next to the studio and (b) the marquee out front still said "COLOR TV! PHONES!" like I'm sure it had in 1965. This place was a craphole, but I kept on staying there with the hookers and whatnot during my entire 75-game streak. Didn't want to mess with my routine.

Franholio614 karma

I did Kids Jeopardy back in '02 and they paid for a roundtrip flight to LA for me and my family, 4 nights in the Beverly Hilton, and $600 in spending money for the trip. Guess the adults get a raw deal.

WatsonsBitch1326 karma

Yup. Tournaments are all-expenses paid. The regular joes get bupkis.


DouglassFunny47 karma

I spend a lot of time in Culver, was it Astro Motel?

slowbicycle51 karma

Astro or Deano's probably

WatsonsBitch602 karma

One of you is correct but I don't want to get too specific. (I left all my cash winnings in an AV duct there just like Josh Brolin does in No Country for Old Men.)

Salacious-574 karma

Do you still talk to Alex Trebek ever? Are you guys friends?

WatsonsBitch2378 karma

Contestants don't get to fraternize with Alex very much. This is partially due to federal laws that (still, 50+ years after the quiz show scandals) make it a felony to rig a game show. It's probably also due to the fact that Alex doesn't WANT to hang out with the contestants that much.

Still, I feel like we bonded. I remember he came back on stage and got a little teary-eyed after I lost my last game, which surprised me and then choked me up a bit. It was just like Brian's Song only we are both white and instead of getting cancer I just got kicked off a game show.

Salacious-778 karma

Follow-up: have you ever randomly encountered Watson in the streets or social function, and given him an icy stare?

WatsonsBitch2148 karma

It's so awkward. "Hello, Ken." "Oh...hello, Watson." Long pause, neither of us blinks. Room gets really quiet. Finally the nervous hostess takes my arm, leads me away from the buffet table telling me there are other people I simply MUST meet. Watson goes back to shoving bacon-wrapped shrimp in his stupid mouth because he's all old and stupid and fat now.

PhilSandifer537 karma

You are open about your Mormon faith as well as pretty openly and visibly progressive in your viewpoints. At least in terms of how the Mormon church is portrayed in the media, this comes off as unusual. I'm wondering if you can talk at all about that. I know you've been vocally critical of a lot of media depictions of your religion, and I'm wondering if this is a part of it. Is there a larger current of progressive Mormonism that just gets ignored?

WatsonsBitch1118 karma

By the numbers, there are certainly more conservative than progressive Mormons in the US, but plenty of Mormons are lefties like me. Famously, Harry Reid, one of the most powerful Democrats in the country, is Mormon.

The easy link between Mormons and conservative politics is really intensified by the fact that Mormons in mountain west states like Utah really ARE the nuttiest nuts on the nut tree. That's where you get the little towns mandating gun ownership or banning U.N. helicopters over their airspace or whatever. But I feel like that has more to do with frontier isolationist thinking in general than anything specific about Mormon belief. Over half of LDS church members live outside the US now, for example, and my experience is that Mormons in places like Europe and South America are social progressives by and large.

evluke504 karma

  1. If you could play any two historical figures in Jeopardy, who would they be and why?

  2. What was the must surprising myth you debunked in "Because I Said So!"

  3. Have you read "Under the Banner of Heaven," and if so, what was your reaction to Krakauer's portrayal of the Mormon faith?

WatsonsBitch1605 karma

  1. Warren G. Harding and Caligula, because I hear they were dumb as posts and I'M THERE TO WIN BABY.

  2. I guess there are over a dozen good studies now showing no link between sugar and hyperactivity in children. Weird, right? Parents are so invested in this "sugar rush" idea because no one wants to believe "Ugh, my kids are being a terror at this birthday party." They want to say, "Hey, that's what you get for filling my kid up on soda and cake."

  3. I have read it. Pretty simplistic view of how Mormonism's (occasionally) violent past affects the community today. I'm Mormon and virtually nothing in it felt familiar to me.

skiingbeing370 karma

Have you seen "Book of Mormon", and if so, your reaction?

WatsonsBitch1351 karma

Saw it on Broadway last year! Paid through the nose and it was worth every penny. I laughed until all my sphincters gave out. There's your blurb for Playbill.

Obviously it's in terrible taste, but it's in SUCH terrible taste that it seems almost beside the point to complain about that.

ologies428 karma

Will you be a reference on my next job application? It's competitive as fuck out there.

WatsonsBitch1670 karma

Sure. "I first met ologies wasting time during the middle of the work day on Reddit, a practice I'm sure he'd continue at your company..."

actionpark423 karma

what is a subject you would fail miserably at if it were a jeopardy category?

WatsonsBitch1012 karma


November1011406 karma

Anything cool behind the contestant podium that I should know about?

WatsonsBitch1503 karma

Some boxes of raisins in case you get hungry and a catheter thing if you have a nervous bladder. A lot of times when it looks like somebody is pondering an answer or a wager, he's just peeing.

No, not really. They're mostly hollow, each one has some kind of PC under it running the buzzer and touch-screen. One time the side case panel fell off my opponents' computer with a loud CLANG! They had to stop tape and the producer came running onstage shouting "The wheels are coming off the wagon!" in mock horror.

I told this story on-line one time and got an email from a disappointed Jeopardy publicist saying I "didn't have to tell EVERYTHING." So now I'm nervously waiting for my phone to ring.

chiggers371 karma

What's your favorite palindrome?

WatsonsBitch1277 karma

Here's one I made up on Twitter a while back. It's a little poem.

Pee with gin. Night. I weep.

Race_Bannon8366 karma

Initially I had a hard time believing your twitter account was you and not an imposter because the humor wasn't very PG (not that I have a problem with that), that said: you're damn funny! Ever thought about doing stand up? Or is writing the only way you want to approach humor?

WatsonsBitch729 karma

I don't really think I'm a good fit for stand-up. Those guys are legitimately FUNNY funny. Twitter mostly rewards clever, not funny. As the great Simpsons writer George Meyer once said, "Clever is the eunuch version of funny." Truer words were never spoken.

Plus all the travel, the heckling, the flop-sweats when you do a bad set, plus can you imagine being the guy who tries to go from being a Jeopardy contestant to doing stand-up? "HA HA CAN YOU DO FIVE MINUTES IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION?" "I'LL TAKE YOU'RE NOT FUNNY FOR $400 ALEX LOL!!!"

Maybe someday I'll write a book about funniness and have to try it out in George Plimpton "Paper Lion" fashion. But don't hold your breath for the Comedy Central special.

anonymous_doner361 karma

You're still the Jeopardy King in my eyes, Ken!!!

Are there any plans to get you back on the show at all?

WatsonsBitch976 karma

I only got the call in 2011 because IBM had a computer that could play Jeopardy. So maybe if somebody ever teaches like a chimp or a dolphin to play? I would totally come back for that.

WatsonsBitch952 karma

That's cool that Trebek grew the mustache back just for this special TV event.

qwantz350 karma

Ken what's your favourite kind of ice cream? I like all flavours pretty much.

WatsonsBitch1377 karma

Cool story bro.

Frajer306 karma

What is one advantage you have over Watson?

Where did the Kennections quiz idea come from? I love it

WatsonsBitch861 karma

Pretty much my only advantage over Watson is my Jimmy Stewart impression. Watson's is shit.

"Kennections" is a weekly quiz I do in Parade magazine, aka that awesome section in the middle of the Sunday paper where they have like fajita recipes and interviews with Kurt Russell. Parade proposed the HILARIOUSLY punny name, which I put up with because at least this way they can't fire me. Or if they do, they have to replace me with someone else named Ken. Ken Burns, maybe?

The concept comes from any number of game shows from my childhood where solving each round would give you one clue to some uber-puzzle, which is how Kennections works. There was even a 80s trivia board game with a similar gimmick, which you can still find at garage sales sometimes: Stage II.

skiingbeing1260 karma

If you unplug Watson, his impression of current Jimmy Stewart is dead-on.

Glenntertain269 karma

I sincerely hope Ken Jennings upvoted this.

WatsonsBitch733 karma


thejpn257 karma

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be on JEOPARDY?

WatsonsBitch966 karma

When it comes to Jeopardy, these are the three demandments of Hulkamania:

  1. WATCH THE SHOW. Every day, without fail. Watch it standing up. Pretend to click a ballpoint pen when you know the answer and try to match the timing of whoever's doing well that day.
  2. BRUSH UP. If there are lists of things you sort of know, get them down pat. Don't take up studying a whole new area (baseball, physics, opera) you know nothing about. But if you could know all the presidents with their dates in office, for example, or all world countries with their capitals, that would be awesome.
  3. JUST HAVE FUN. Look, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and most people will last less than half an hour. So don't hang everything on the outcome. Just try to enjoy the ride. You'll probably relax and play better today.

Also, don't wear a sweater, you will look like a douche. Make sure your story doesn't mention your cats.

SimpleManSC243 karma

Serious question: During your first run on the show, did you lose on purpose because you were tired of the game, made enough money, were homesick, etc?

WatsonsBitch768 karma

People always ask if I took a dive. Ugh. Look, I had a summer job where I was making like $35K PER HALF HOUR. No way was I quitting. I just got a question I didn't know.

A while ago I looked at the old episodes and I found at least 12 during my run where if just one question goes the other way, I lose. So it was really stretching the laws of probability for me to be on that long. The odds are on even a really good player losing MUCH sooner, what with the Daily Doubles and random categories and all.

I_open_at_the_close236 karma

What subjects do you feel are under-represented on Jeopardy?

WatsonsBitch979 karma

Proportional to their importance in the grand scheme of the universe: science, especially physics, engineering, and math.

Proportional to my interest and expertise in them: Marvel Comics of the mid-1980s

oryano227 karma

How did the Howard Stern appearance come about? That was a great segment, loved it.

Congrats on beating Fred!

WatsonsBitch479 karma

I guess somebody at Sirius saw the book and thought it would be a fun twist on "Win Fred's Money." I was pretty nervous...I've heard that segment a bunch of times and Fred NEVER loses.

Beating Fred, $5,000. Meeting George Takei, PRICELESS.

tequilasipper64 karma

Enjoyed you on Stern this week.
btw, good on you not to push the 'silicon' and 'silicone' difference.

WatsonsBitch115 karma

Ha, yeah. Trivia people are my people, but "BUT BUT BUT YOU'RE WRONG" is about my least favorite of their personality traits.

Piranhamonkey219 karma

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?

WatsonsBitch884 karma

Marshmallow Mateys. Nautically-themed Lucky Charms clone that poor people and college students buy in the big plastic bags at Grocery Outlet. So, so good.

preis1210 karma

Why don't you go on Wheel of Fortune?

WatsonsBitch828 karma

I'm blackballed from game shows now, like the card-counters who get kicked out of casinos. I'd need an awesome disguise to go on Wheel, like maybe a big handlebar mustache and a Texas accent.

KiddFriendly208 karma

What was your first purchase after receiving all of your Jeopardy! moneys?

WatsonsBitch660 karma

I think we got our first widescreen TV (we were sort of poor before that) and that fall my wife and I took a trip to France and Spain. Those were sort of the big blow-outs. Pretty boring, sorry. If you want to picture me in a rap video with a jacuzzi full of Cristal, feel free.

SnarkyHedgehog196 karma

Have people you go to church with ever been offended by your tweets?

WatsonsBitch684 karma

I don't think anyone at church reads my Twitter PLEASE DON'T TELL THEM ABOUT IT

cardozaa189 karma

What does Trebek smell like?

WatsonsBitch757 karma

He smells like Canada. Pine needles and maple syrup and a thick, beaver-y musk.

cobaltcollapse184 karma

I was going to ask this at Bumbershoot, but totally forgot D:

What's the oddest thing a fan of yours has done?

WatsonsBitch581 karma

Somebody wanted me to sign their baby with Sharpie once. OMG WE'RE NEVER WASHING THIS BABY AGAIN!!!

RawdogginRandos179 karma

Opinions on Star Wars VII, go

WatsonsBitch698 karma

Retell Phantom Menace from the POV of those guys with the terrible, offensive Asian accents. I bet they have a story to tell!

kartman44321163 karma

What is the least intelligent thing you've ever done?

WatsonsBitch453 karma

I'm totally absent-minded. Always losing my keys and stuff. A couple months ago I flew to the Midwest and back and managed to leave one of my carry-ons in the overhead BOTH OUT AND BACK. Had to go running back to the gate both times. So I have Alzheimer's at 38 basically.

felixthehat153 karma

Having a twitter account with nearly 100,000 followers, how do you deal with the no doubt thousands of insufferable idiots you must have tweeting bile at you? Any memorable trolls?

Personally I think you're one of the greatest at the twitter game, long may you continue :)

WatsonsBitch269 karma

There's a Darwinist process that's gotten rid of most of the trolls or the easily offended, either me blocking or (more likely) them unfollowing.

I still get stern lectures sometimes about how THAT'S NOT FUNNY BECAUSE... but that's just part of Twitter. Somehow it always seems so just and deserved when you get the ego-boost of the stars and retweets, but such a terrible, Rwanda-level injustice when someone DOESN'T like a joke and is a dick.

Timonaut130 karma

If you could have any superpowers what would they be?*

who is your favorite musician?

WatsonsBitch770 karma

The answer to both is "Flaming Lips."

SimpleManSC121 karma

Do you prefer Trebek with or without his mustache?

WatsonsBitch508 karma

His "FREE MUSTACHE RIDES" shirt is way less funny now.

MrNickDolan119 karma

Hi Ken. Favorite Twilight Zone episode?

WatsonsBitch276 karma

The famous, popular ones are famous and popular for a reason. But I also like "The Midnight Sun," the one with the heat wave. I saw it as a kid and had nightmares for years.

greg42069119 karma

What is your favorite Simpsons quote?

WatsonsBitch440 karma

It's not the biggest laugh, but the one I find myself saying most is probably "as was the style at the time!" which Grandpa Simpson appends to crazy wrong facts about the past. When you think about it, it's pretty useful in conversation, especially when people are telling boring stories.

Drfireball97 karma

Ken, a lot of people see you as very smart. What is one thing that you've done in your life that wasn't that smart? Possible something in your teenage years?

WatsonsBitch428 karma

I majored in computer science even though I really loved English literature. I thought CS seemed more practical/lucrative than writing or teaching.

Fast-forward ten years and I'm a crappy programmer and, through the weirdest of longshots, Jeopardy gives me a chance to quit my job and become a writer like I always wanted to.

Bottom line: the thing you like/are good at IS A SACRED THING. Don't screw around with it. Don't sell out too young. Not everybody gets Trebek-delivered redemption from that dreary office job like I did.

Arithered87 karma

Look: I don't want you to get offended, and I mean this in the most platonic, non-inflammatory manner possible, but may I make sweet, obscene monkey love with your brain? I'll be very respectful.

WatsonsBitch246 karma

Okay but Pretty Woman rules. No kissing the brain.

upvotegunner66 karma

What advice do you have for young Mormon people?

WatsonsBitch323 karma


Also, I know you can't smell it but some of you should take a shower.

Ruddiver59 karma

I loved the Book of Lists as a kid, do they still make that? do you remember those? what other trivia books are awesome? why is every sentence of mine a question? and are you reading it like my voice is rising annoyingly at the end of each one?

WatsonsBitch125 karma

Ha, I loved The Book of Lists! I'm writing a series of "amazing facts for kids" books now and a childhood friend said, "Make sure you get all the facts right!" Because we both remembered facts from trivia books we read as kids that turned out to be not to be true but then we believed them for decades anyway.

harx158 karma

Have you ever hung out with John Hodgman? Do you two just have trivia-offs? You with actual trivia and he with fake trivia?

WatsonsBitch162 karma

I've met Hodgman a couple times. What a nice guy. We definitely talked about he's the fake-trivia version of me. Like I can name 900 REAL hoboes off the top of my head right now.

He's actually my real-trivia hero too because he's been on QI, the British quiz show with Stephen Fry, and I never have.

theKinkajou35 karma

I listened to you on Doug Loves Movies and you were very funny. Any chance you'll do more in comedy/podcasting?

WatsonsBitch88 karma

DLM was so fun! I want people to invite me on podcasts. But only the big, prestigious ones. Not your little sleazy one. Sorry.

RageCageRunner28 karma

You're quite hilarious on twitter. What was your take on the whole Chris Brown/Jenny Johnson debacle?

WatsonsBitch97 karma

Team JennyJohnsonHi5. She and I used to play Draw Something back when that was a thing.

draconnery27 karma

How much do you hate the guys from Symantec? This was supposed to be their moment, man.

WatsonsBitch47 karma

Those guys know what they did.