You might recognize comedian Ari Voukydis from his many turns as a VH1 talking head. You might recognize him as the guy who taught you how to improvise at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. But thanks to one spectacular Jeopardy! performance, the rest of history will recognize Voukydis as the man who used the Final Jeopardy! graphics better than anyone who’s not Darrell Hammond in a Sean Connery getup.
Heading into the endgame in last night’s Jeopardy! episode, Voukydis had little chance at breaking out of second place. Rather than taking a stab at a legitimate response to the clue—“In 1891 this European said, ‘Perhaps my factories will put an end to war sooner than your congresses’”—Voukydis dug into self-affirmation. “Who is this handsome gentleman?” asks the familiar white lettering on a cerulean background. And there’s an arrow pointing toward the heavens to explain that Voukydis is said gentleman—while also providing a convenient illustration of the comic’s suddenly increased public profile. A nation of syndicated-game-show viewers presumably asked the same question—assuming that they weren’t possessed by the same barely masked contempt that seized Alex Trebek during the taping of Voukydis’ episode, causing the host to further channel Saturday Night Live’s “Celebrity Jeopardy!” sketches by declaring, “Good for you, Ari.”
But in all sincerity, good for Ari. None of the competitors on last night’s Jeopardy! could remember Alfred Nobel, but they’ll never forget the handsome gentleman who lost a game yet won the hearts of his fellow smartasses.
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