Hey Redditors!

I'll be here on and off today in case anyone wants to Ask Me Anything. Someone told me the questions here can be on any subject, within reason. Well, to me, "within reason" are the two lamest words in the English language, even worse than "miniature golf" or "Corbin Bernsen." So no such caveats apply here. Ask Me ANYTHING.

I've posted some proof of my identity on my blog: http://ken-jennings.com/blog/?p=2614

and on "Twitter," which I hear is very popular with the young people. http://twitter.com/kenjennings

Updated to add: You magnificent bastards! You brought down my blog!

Updated again to add: Okay, since there are only a few thousand unanswered questions now, I'm going to have to call this. (Also, I have to pick up my kids from school.)

But I'll be back, Reddit! When you least expect it! MWAH HA HA! Or, uh, when I have a new book to promote. One of those. Thanks for all the fun.

Updated posthumously to add: You can always ask further questions on the message boards at my site. You can sign up for my weekly email trivia quiz or even buy books there as well.[/whore]

Comments: 5143 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

ducttapetricorn1639 karma

Nice username.

WatsonsBitch3063 karma

Lots of people think it's a Jeopardy reference, but actually I was thinking of that time Watson and I were cellmates in prison, and it kept raping me.

RationalArgumentMan701 karma

Holy shit. Jennings no offense but I honestly never thought of you to be this funny.

You're ridiculously smart, in tune with the internet, and you can draw-- I can safely say I'd be intimidated if I ever met you in person. Hell, even if you replied to this comment I'd be giddy like a schoolgirl telling all my friends.

Anyways, cheers from Canada :)

PS: Me being a Canadian and all, I have to ask... what are your views on cannabis? Have you ever tried it?

WatsonsBitch1547 karma

Never been high--except on a drug called Ken Jennings!

(Warning, Ken Jennings may cause drowsiness, nausea, "housemaid's knee," night blindness, paralysis, or death. Ask your doctor if Ken Jennings is right for you.)

BString243 karma

Never been high--except on a drug called Ken Jennings!

what does this drug feel like?

WatsonsBitch1344 karma


(On Jeopardy.)

(Unless you're playing a computer.)

kurosagi328 karma

Please tell me you typed that in Charlie Sheen's voice.


WatsonsBitch1018 karma

Oh yeah. It was hard to tell because I'm typing with fire-breathing fists. WINNING!

myfirstreddit369 karma

"That what they teach you at school in Utah?" --Alex Trebek

WatsonsBitch980 karma

GET OFF MY BACK TREBEK! Or "Chaim Trebekovitz," which is his real name. Just sayin.

puredemo1348 karma

You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping.

Why is that, Ken?

WatsonsBitch1621 karma

Nice try! You can't win 74 straight Jeopardy games without also learning how to pass the Voight-Kampff. Nexus-6 babeeee.

mistborn1169 karma

I hear you had an awesome roommate when you lived in Utah who went on to write books and stuff. Why don't you tell us about how awesome he was?

I kid. (Only a little.) Okay, a serious question. How did it feel to beat Brad? I always felt you got the raw end of things during your previous meeting, coming in cold as you had to. In some ways, that free pass to the final round was a backhanded compliment.

WatsonsBitch1125 karma

Hey Brandon! I hope I'm allowed to out this comment as coming from bajillion-seller-of-nerd-fantasy books Brandon Sanderson.

Yeah, I felt like the buzzer gods were not smiling on me last time Brad kicked my butt. This would have been sweet, sweet revenge, if a supercomputer hadn't been raping me the entire time.

SpaceOverlordOfSpace274 karma

Sanderson and Jennings were roommates... Nerdgasm. Ken, do you read WoT?

WatsonsBitch942 karma

Sanderson and Jennings were roommates... Nerdgasm.

Our other roommates were Brent Spiner, "Weird Al," Kevin Smith, Stan Lee, 5/6 of Monty Python, and the lightsaber kid from that one video.

crlove952 karma

In the sixth season episode "See You in September" of the TV show "Perfect Strangers", it is revealed that Balki is a licensed nupitiki doctoruthiki, a Myposian marriage counselor. He administers the Myposian marriage test to Larry and Jennifer, to help them get over their fear of getting married. However, no mention was made of this in the second season episode "Since I Lost my Baby", when Balki and Larry attempt to save the Twinkacettis' marriage.

Was this a continuity error? Or did Balki receive this certification through some sort of correspondence course from Mypos at a later date?

WatsonsBitch1397 karma

I've thought a lot about this over the years, and have decided that Balki didn't feel right using his Myposian certification in his adopted country, due to the licensing issues, both legal and ethical, that even he would recognized.

And now we do the dance of joy!

TheCrimsonKing665 karma

You're a little too funny, did you hire writers with your winnings?

WatsonsBitch2725 karma

Bruce Vilanch is hiding under my desk right now. Unfortunately he's not writing jokes for me, if you know what I mean.

rdfiii662 karma

What is Alex Trebek like off camera?

WatsonsBitch1623 karma

Trebek takes a lot of heat for being sort of smug and starchy on camera, but that's just for TV. In person he is sort of a nut, always doing goofy jokes and accents and little bits of soft-shoe and stuff. He's like your good-natured, slightly-losing-it grandpa.

austinhannah369 karma

Have you spent any time with Trebek outside the confines of the Jeopardy studio? Do you send him Christmas cards? Does he come over for dinner?

WatsonsBitch1231 karma

Alex and I don't get to hang out much due to the convoluted Jeopardy security requirements. I saw him at last year's National Geographic Bee in DC (he hosts, I was doing research for my next book, Maphead, about geography geeks).

So I don't know the guy real well. He's a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Perry Ellis suit.

btrostelsc660 karma

What has been the single biggest change in you life since your epic winning streak, besides the money?

WatsonsBitch2616 karma

Old people can't keep their dry, lilac-scented hands off me. Man, do old people ever love Jeopardy. I can't go anywhere in public where there might be old people, like Hallmark stores or cemeteries.

[deleted]615 karma


WatsonsBitch1606 karma

This is a like a job interview. "Well sir sometimes I just WORK TOO HARD!"

I can't sing. I've never beaten my wife at bowling. I have the same $8 haircut I had when I was five.

mopsled558 karma

I have nothing to say but your "What Be Ebonics?" answer was my favorite Jeopardy moment of all time.

WatsonsBitch706 karma

Some say funny, some say racist...you know, tomato tomahto.

Kemintiri558 karma

What is your educational background?

Do you really drive a 1999 Toyota Corolla still?

Who cooks the most, you or your wife?

Do you often get recognized in public?

Can you tell me a joke, please? A dirty one.

How do you feel about the strike in Wisconsin?

What would you give a Ted talk on?

In your next Jeopardy appearance, would you consider just drawing a giant penis where your name would be? Do they check for that?

Thank you for the IamA.

WatsonsBitch1420 karma

Went to high school in Seoul, Korea. Went to U of Washington and BYU. Bachelor's in English and Computer Science.

Yes to the black 1999 Corolla: straight-up gangsta.

My wife is an excellent cook and I can only make breakfast food.

Yes, it's like the first scene in A Hard Day's Night every time I leave the house, except all the girls are all in their eighties.

I am standing up on my desk right now holding a piece of paper that says UNION! just like Norma Rae, in support of organized labor in Wisconsin (I take bathroom breaks twice a day).

My TED talk is entitled "How to Make Love Like a Jeopardy Champion."

Jeopardy has made me re-write my name in the past (once when I wrote it backwards, another time when I wrote it in Cyrillic) so I don't think a giant penis would make the cut, plus it would make Alex feel inferior. But I did put a giant scrotum on the title page of my book Brainiac.

Captin_Obvious247 karma

If you can only cook breakfast does that mean you are not the one who BBQs?

WatsonsBitch713 karma

Wait, you're right. I grill too. Jeez, you guys are tough.

stinkytaco246 karma

Holy crap! I drive a black 1999 corolla. I'm going to be a Jeopardy champion!

WatsonsBitch832 karma

Plus think of the chicks.

makemeking706241 karma

But I did put a giant scrotum on the title page of my book Brainiac.

I knew it!

WatsonsBitch692 karma

They're calipers. (screams at sky) CALIPERS!!!!

masonvd182 karma

Can you give us an abriged version of how you ended up taking HS in Seoul? How's your Korean?

WatsonsBitch562 karma

My dad served an LDS mission in Korea in the 1960s and always wanted to go back...we moved there in 1982 when he got a job at a law firm in Seoul.

My Korean sucks, sadly. I've forgotten a lot. Even without subtitles, I could usually understand Jin and Sun on Lost. Mostly.

KonaEarth264 karma

When growing up in Korea, did you bedroom have a ceiling fan?

WatsonsBitch1148 karma

Obviously not, since I survived.

mnelawar545 karma

Specifically, what kind of wheelbarrow do you carry your balls in?

WatsonsBitch1746 karma

My balls are carried for me at all times by the thirteen contestants who lost to me on Jeopardy back in 2004 with a negative score, meaning they didn't get to compete in Final Jeopardy.

They take turns.

yamminonem531 karma

Will you be the leader of the Resistance against Watson once he starts to control Skynet? Please, and thank you.

WatsonsBitch1220 karma

Once we are all working in the slave-pits together, I will try to put in a good word for you all. I will be like the old Barnard Hughes character in Tron, who remembers the Master Control Program when it was just accounting software.

puredemo487 karma

Did winning at Jeopardy get you hella laid?

WatsonsBitch1896 karma

Again, devout Mormon, happily married family man, etc. But luckily my wife has a weird "game show contestant" role-playing fantasy, so yes. Yes it did.

b0tfly193 karma

Many educated people do not believe their holy books to the letter, so you being a devout Mormon throws off my stereotype. Can you elaborate on how much of the book you believe is factually based?

WatsonsBitch753 karma

Luckily, Mormons are not biblical literalists. So you can choose to keep all the crazy stuff you like (Moses just turned his rod into a snake! badass!) and choose to ignore the crazy stuff you don't like (wait, God just sent bears to kill those kids because they made fun of Elisha's male pattern baldness?)

I'm not saying no Mormons are young-earthers...but let's just say you're not likely to see those ones on Jeopardy.

frothewin1373 karma

Actually, it was Aaron that had his rod turned into a snake, not Moses. I just corrected Ken Jennings. My life is complete.

WatsonsBitch1858 karma

Being corrected by you has turned my rod into a snake.

splinecraft439 karma

You're generally known as a Mormon, but you seem far more loose than the stereotype (using terms like "bitch," for example). It seems like you'd violate the prohibition on gambling with every daily double and final Jeopardy answer.

Do you ever feel pressure from your religion to act in a certain way in public? Or am I just misinformed about how strict the religion is?

WatsonsBitch978 karma

I feel more like the pressure is the OTHER way. People have this idea that Mormons are monolithically boring and/or creepily Stepford-y. But in my experience, that's bull, and Mormons are as diverse in most ways as anybody else. I think it would be cool if people figured that out.

So I just try to be myself.

watupmane428 karma

How much of your success on the show would you contribute to knowing the answers the other contestants did not versus just being able to time the buzzer clicks better than them?

WatsonsBitch1083 karma

Yeah, Jeopardy is not Price Is Right...you can't get on just for wearing a military uniform or an "I Love Alex" t-shirt. Every night, all three contestants passed a very hard test to be there. Ergo, nearly all the contestants know nearly all the answers nearly all the time. So it just comes down to buzzer mojo. Which is why Watson won so handily...pretty hard to have better response time than a circuit board.

alettuce558 karma

My friend was on. He's an idiot. He knew none of the answers.

Lyrad1002307 karma

Is he a celebrity?

WatsonsBitch1762 karma

Is he Wolf Blitzer?

[deleted]173 karma

How did you prepare for Jeopardy before your first appearance?

Whats your favorite band/album?

WatsonsBitch675 karma

I watched the show obsessively. This is pretty nerdy but I even watched it standing up behind my recliner at home, using one of my son's toddler toys as a makeshift "buzzer." (Insert dirty joke here.) My wife kept score for me. We made flash cards of presidents and "potent potables" and crap like that.

Favorite record: man that is tough. I'm listening to the new Destroyer record as I type this. When the laws are changed I want to marry Dan Bejar.

xrm4361 karma

Be honest. Did you actually lose the day you broke your streak, or did you throw the game?

WatsonsBitch1207 karma

People keep asking me this. WORST CONSPIRACY THEORY EVER. Have you ever quit a job where you were making like $75K an hour?

But I think that lady who beat me was probably born in Indonesia, or Kenya, or something. Disqualified!

soupaman348 karma

What category would be a nightmare for you?

WatsonsBitch1497 karma

I remember COUNTRY MUSIC kept showing up. That or HOCKEY. Least favorite categories. Basically anything with a mullet is my Jeopardy kryptonite.

moodchanging310 karma

What's your favorite form of knowledge absorption? Books? Internet? Documentaries?

WatsonsBitch1055 karma


[deleted]307 karma


WatsonsBitch1412 karma

There once was a host named Trebek...

I forget how it ends but YOUR MOTHER'S A WHORE!

WatsonsBitch2161 karma

Wait, I got it.

There once was a host named Trebek, Whose mustache was sexy as heck. It would have been weird If he'd grown a big beard, Like Conan, or Riker on Trek.

unfriendlyfire270 karma

  • Do most people in the audience get your awesome sense of humour? Or do they politely laugh and give you confused looks?

  • Do you find that people you've known before your fame have tried to be more closer to you than they were before? Has this strained any relationships?

  • What is one epiphany/something that was said to you that made you realize "I can maintain my fame and not be remembered as just the guy who once won big at Jeopardy!"?

  • Was money/financial security a big motivator when choosing to do books/talks/promotions for products?

  • Most importantly, next time you're at the studio, could you please request that Sean Connery's voice be used for Watson?

Thanks for your time!

WatsonsBitch794 karma

"Do most people in the audience get your awesome sense of humour? Or do they politely laugh and give you confused looks?" I think you are projecting here.

"Do you find that people you've known before your fame have tried to be more closer to you than they were before?" Actually, no. People came out of the woodwork, but only in a good way. Like "Hey, I was in your kindergarten class, good job on Jeopardy." Keep in mind this was before Facebook.

"What is one epiphany/something that was said to you that made you realize "I can maintain my fame and not be remembered as just the guy who once won big at Jeopardy!"?" Screw that, I don't want to be famous. I keep getting asked who my publicist is. Why would I have a publicist?!? I'm just a guy on a game show. I got mine. I need a privacist.

I've heard that IBM really did consider using Darrell Hammond for the voice, no lie. That would have been the awesomest thing in the history of awesome.

tresser258 karma

Hi Ken, thanks for hosting an AMA.

Question: Are there ever times when you're in public and people try to call you out for a duel of random knowledge? Do you carry your own buzzer in case of such an event?

WatsonsBitch841 karma

Sometime radio DJs try to do a "stump Ken" thing* and people will call in, who, I swear, have no idea how trivia works.

"So Ken, my mom used to buy shoes at this place on 125th Street? It's gone now. WHAT WAS IT CALLED?"

*because they are idiots

jarotar255 karma

Suppose one of your hands was amputated and the only option for a replacement was either a lobster claw or an octopus tentacle. Which do you choose?

WatsonsBitch621 karma

Why do all the options have to be sushi? I foresee problems if your graft looked a little TOO delicious.

puredemo249 karma

Do you think you'll be asked to take over for Trebek when he retires? Would you do it?

WatsonsBitch796 karma

I doubt I would be asked...wouldn't they be more likely to go with someone with, you know, actually hosting experience?

That said, I would do it in a heartbeat. Talk about a dream job. That dude works like five days a month reading trivia questions (okay, "answers," YEESH) and makes millions. Plus millions of middle-aged cat ladies have sexy fantasies about him.

LxRogue237 karma

What do the contestants talk about when you stand next to Alex while they roll the credits? Just pretending to look suave for the cameras?

WatsonsBitch893 karma

It's normally a pretty awkward social scenario. Two of you are shell-shocked and pissed, one of you has just realized he's going to have to come back and do it all again after a 10-minute tape break, and one of you is slightly drunk and wants to get out of there before the Lakers game starts.

myfirstreddit226 karma

Has there been any talk of a rematch with Watson (and Brad Rutter)?

WatsonsBitch596 karma

Only by Brad, once you get a few drinks in him.

I think both Jeopardy and IBM think they have gone to the promotional well about as much as they could with the Watson thing, and it will retire undefeated, like Rocky Marciano.

[deleted]108 karma


btdubs348 karma

Rush Holt!

WatsonsBitch434 karma

Laughing pretty hard at this, btw. Rush Holt!

TokioHotel333217 karma

Not really a question, but you came to my school (Escalante Elementary in Utah) I think in 2004-05 ( I was in 6th grade) and talked to us all about your winning Jeopardy! I just wanted to let you know that a bunch of us wanted to sit up front because we thought you'd throw out money since you won so much! Haha...only in the minds of 6th graders...

EDIT: year was probably 2004-05. I have a hard time counting real years when it's regarding what grade I was in and what years correspond to it.

WatsonsBitch1392 karma

Sorry! Last time I tried to throw hundred dollar bills at a sixth-grader I spent the night in jail.

puredemo213 karma

When you were a software engineer, what language(s) did you program in? Do you still program for fun?

WatsonsBitch650 karma

Mostly Java. "Programming for fun" was always a foreign concept to me...I was not a great programmer. I pity the fools who are maintaining my old code right now.

Iamsqueegee205 karma

Why no love for Corbin Bernsen? He collects snow globes and plays a character on one of my favorite shows, "Psych".

WatsonsBitch679 karma

I guess I am unfairly conflating Mr. Bernsen with his sleazy "Arnie Becker" character on L.A. Law. Sometimes I assume Charlie Sheen is a crazy, dissipated party animal like his sitcom character too.

snatchyowallet201 karma

Say I was going to be competing on Jeopardy in two months from now. What books/resources would you suggest I look over to prepare?

WatsonsBitch1005 karma

Congrats! You will be joining an elite club of virgins.

Preparation: my book Brainiac is okay for that, but Bob Harris's book Prisoner of Trebekistan is better. (Mine is less Jeopardy-centric.) Mike Dupee's out of print How To Get on Jeopardy...and Win is best of all. But I think the title might be a little on-the-nose, don't you?

Read The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. Know world capitals. Know US presidents and their dates. Remember: by the odds, most first-timers lose, so be determined to have fun no matter what. You will also play better that way.

Don't wear a sweater, you will look like a tool.

puredemo197 karma

Were you always interested in trivia or did it happen later in life? Do you use the memory palace technique to memorize trivia?

WatsonsBitch505 karma

Hey, I just read Josh Foer's new book about memory palace techniques. No, most trivia people I know don't cram. They are just natural sponges for information. Something weird and genetic in the way their associative memory works, I guess. They are just curious about everything. And when you are curious about a subject, facts just stick. I did do some mnemonic stuff on Jeopardy to remember stubborn stuff that was too boring EVEN FOR ME to remember. Like: John Quincy Adams was elected in 1824. So I'd picture Quincy, M.E. working a 24-hour shift or something.

privatejoker86115 karma

Could you make me a mnemonic story about the moon and what year we first landed?

WatsonsBitch410 karma

Let's put it this way: it involves you, between the moon and New York City.

pytechd196 karma

Anything? OK. You state you are a devout Mormon. Create a Jeopardy category of "odd" things most non-Mormons would not know about the Mormon belief system. The more odd the better!

WatsonsBitch835 karma

Mormon trivia:

  1. Christian Aguilera was born Mormon. Not our finest effort.

  2. The original proposed name for Utah, "Deseret," isn't related to "desert." It's a Book of Mormon word (and therefore etymologically iffy to nonbelievers) meaning "honeybee."

  3. Mormon congregations are called "wards," and dioceses are called "stakes." Some of our houses of worship used to therefore be called "stake houses," but this turned out to be too confusing. (Especially because there was no salad bar.)

  4. Mormon scripture strongly implies that the apostle John, as well as three Book of Mormon disciples, never actually died but are still kicking around someplace. Awesomely, this leads some Mormons to repeat urban legends about "the three Nephites" miraculously appearing to help little old ladies, repair the cars of stranded travelers, etc.

  5. My Sunday school teacher, when I was a Mormon teen, once memorably advised us that "There's nothing more overrated than sex, and nothing more underrated than a good bowel movement." It totally worked...I don't remember a single other sermon from when I was a kid, but I think about this guy exactly once a day, and then again once a week.

krillnasty193 karma

What is the most outrageous thing that happened during the filming of the shows? Did Trebek ever snap at anybody?

WatsonsBitch489 karma

I have told this story before, but the security on the show is pretty intense. I totally caused a CTU-like "shutdown" one time by changing my necktie using the wrong mirror--the same one Trebek uses. No contestants allowed back there!

I thought it was pretty funny at the time, except for all the crew members who probably got fired over it.

redorkulated152 karma

Obviously you are something of a Renaissance man when it comes to trivia - your knowledge has a fair amount of depth but an unequaled breadth. I think it's fair to say that our culture is moving away from that kind of knowledge and towards intense specialization - people tend to define themselves as experts in increasingly small and specific areas.

Do you agree that that is a trend? If so, is it a good or bad thing for us as a thinking species? As a culture?

WatsonsBitch425 karma

Yeah, I wrote about this in Brainiac. The problem with specialization is that cultural literacy is starting to disappear...there are fewer facts and references that you know everyone will know. Even something like TV--there are 175 channels instead of 3. This means it's harder to communicate. It's harder to get to know people.

You should be building colossal marble statues of your Jeopardy champions, people! We are your last hope in a world in which you have outsourced all your stuff-remembering to Google.

myfirstreddit124 karma

Ken, you have a way with the written word. Brainiac was an excellent read and I'm looking forward to your new geography geek book, Mapheads. Are there any works of fiction kicking around in the mind of Ken Jennings?

WatsonsBitch488 karma

I'm thinking of writing a bildungsroman in which a star-struck young quiz show contestant from a small town arrives in Hollywood, and the dark forces that try to corrupt him on his way to fame.

I also have a volume of game show erotica coming out in the fall.

By the way, if you are a nerd of any kind, especially a trivia nerd, I hope you check out my first book Brainiac. It's still in print at Amazon and finer bookstores everywhere. Or you can order a signed copy from my website. Or, if you like the smell of homeless people looking at pornography, you can check out from a local library. Plug over.

happytobake85 karma

Back when you were in the middle of your winning streak, I faintly remember Alex asking you to tell something about yourself, and you replied that you had killed someone. Can you expand on that?

WatsonsBitch344 karma

It was just to watch him die.

woongjin82 karma

What is your favorite Celebrity Jeopardy episode (from SNL)?

WatsonsBitch343 karma

Let's just say I tried to register on Reddit today as TurdFerguson. Shockingly, it was taken.

CoughSyrup67 karma

Do you have any advice for a computer science student?

WatsonsBitch287 karma

Learn Hindi and Mandarin.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

WatsonsBitch264 karma

Dear Lord please don't REALLY let me be here all week...

[deleted]64 karma


WatsonsBitch268 karma

Lawyer. If you have that kind of mind, you can be a doctor, but if you have that kind of mind AND ARE ALSO A HUGE SMART-ASS then it's law school for sure.

climbinkid63 karma

Have you bathed in a huge pile of cash yet?

WatsonsBitch358 karma

I have a big vault full of coins like Scrooge McDuck.

sadiewren62 karma

What kind of fiction do you like to read in your spare time?

WatsonsBitch135 karma

I just finished the new Jonathan Franzen book (it's good! Not as good as Corrections) and am working my way through the Library of America's complete Raymond Carver volume.

Turns out Carver actually wrote in a pretty conventional prose style but he had this overpowering editor that edited all his stuff into that almost self-parodic laconic style. Weird.

MikeinPittsburgh46 karma

Did you have a "Duh!" moment when you missed the final jeopardy question with your answer of FedEx or did it truly stump you?

WatsonsBitch283 karma

I always did my own taxes. I could have thought about that question for 30 minutes, not just 30 seconds, and still blanked it.

Constructive note to all the people who like to come up to me on the street and tell me how "easy" that one was and "even they" knew it: go to hell.

goalieca46 karma

What's your favourite algorithm?

WatsonsBitch159 karma

Bubble sort.

myfirstreddit46 karma

What happened to the game show that you were developping with Comedy Central? Is it just stalled or completely scrapped?

WatsonsBitch134 karma

Effectively scrapped...they wanted something "smart" to pair with the Daily Show back in '05. Freaking Colbert...

That said, if you know any network execs, I have some time free.