Ken Jennings Returns to ‘Jeopardy,’ Fans Can’t Believe His “Painful” Joke

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When longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, 80, passed away after a long battle with cancer on November 8, 2020, fans of the game show were devastated. The biggest question for viewers and contestants, of course, was who would fill Trebek’s shoes as the new host.

alex trebek (left) and ken jennings (right) taking a selfie on the jeopardy set
Credit: ABC

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Following months of guest hosts including Reading Rainbow host LeVar BurtonBig Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, and former champions like Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen, Bialik landed the job following controversy involving former Jeopardy! producer Mike Richardson.

Bialik has faced her own minor controversies, including fans’ frustration at her use of the term “Single Jeopardy” to describe the first round of the show — “Double Jeopardy” has long been the name of the second round — and requests from producers to “tone it down” when dealing with contestants.

mayim bialik on jeopardy set
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Bialik’s tenure on the long-running game show has already given rise to some popular champions, including Amy Schneider, who won 40 games, and recent champion, Mattea Roach, who broke the win streak record for a Canadian contestant.

The current host’s future on Jeopardy is unknown at this time, however, as Ken Jennings’s recent exit from The Chase has many viewers convinced that he will be taking over full-time hosting duties next season. The fan-favorite has also been teasing his potentially permanent return on social media lately, leaving viewers hopeful that he will soon be back on a regular basis.

ken jennings jeopardy guest host
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On Monday, July 18, 2022, in fact, Ken Jennings returned to his Jeopardy hosting duties for the firs time since early May — and immediately made a “painful” joke that left fans extremely amused.

During Double Jeopardy a clue for the category “Active Bible Verses” read:

Since no one had done this for 40 years, God told Joshua to get a knife & do this to male Israelites.

Contestant Erica Weiner-Amanchi buzzed in with the answer, “What is circumcise?”

Jennings confirmed her response was right, joking, “That is correct. A painful $2,000 for you!”

erica weiner amanchi at jeopardy podium
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Related: Mayim Bialik Comes Under Fire For Allowing Incorrect ‘Jeopardy’ Answers

Aimee Everett posted that Jeopardy has the “easiest decision” in regard to making Jennings the game show’s permanent host:

“ A painful 2,000 dollars for you” @KenJennings continuing to be one of my favorite humans ever. @Jeopardy has the easiest decision in their hands.

Another viewer quipped: “Ken Jennings just made a circumcision joke on Jeopardy, Make him the official host already.”

While the permanent host for Season 39 has yet to be confirmed, there are, perhaps, opportunities to go around as the game show franchise expands with its first ever spinoff, Celebrity Jeopardy! debuting this fall.

mayim bialik on jeopardy set
Credit: ABC

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“The stars of our show and Mayim and Ken have done incredible job hosting,” Jeopardy executive producer Michael Davies told Variety. He went on:

“We hope to have a hosting announcement very, very soon. But with all of our plans for ‘Jeopardy!’ — which is more ‘Jeopardy!,’ not less, more versions — we’re going to need multiple hosts to represent the entire audience, to represent the entire country, in order to take this franchise forward.”

Davies has also previously shared details about a new tournament that could “break the Jeopardy-verse.” Davies previously shared that he “started thinking about a Second Chance Tournament almost the day I started on Jeopardy!, when Jessica Stephens beat Matt Amodio, but lost to Jonathan Fisher by just $401.”

jeopardy encanto categories
Credit: ITM

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He took to the show’s official blog to confirm that this new tournament will be happening.

Who do you want to permanently host Jeopardy?

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