‘Jeopardy!’: Buzzy Cohen Doesn’t ‘See the Harm’ in Injecting ‘a Little Bit of Personality’ Into the Game

Buzzy Cohen is one of the most memorable Jeopardy! contestants in recent years. He’s notable not solely for his trivia skills, although those are top-notch, but rather for shaking up the competition with jokes.

Buzzy Cohen poses on the red carpet at a screening of 'Gay Chorus Deep South'
Buzzy Cohen attends a screening of ‘Gay Chorus Deep South’ | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

A polarizing contestant, fans of the award-winning game show either love or hate Cohen. Keep reading to learn more about his choice to “inject a little bit of personality” into the show. 

Buzzy Cohen teases Alex Trebek

Standing behind a podium on the Jeopardy! stage, contestants typically interact with the longtime host during the show’s small talk segment that airs after the first commercial break. But when Cohen is on the program he decides to joke with Trebek in between clues.

At one point, the music executive from Los Angeles forgoes a wager in Final Jeopardy and instead teases the 79-year-old host. “What is see you tomorrow, Trebek?!” and “Who is you aren’t rid of me yet, Trebek?” are Cohen’s answers.

RELATED: ‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Buzzy Cohen Wants to Host the Game Show After Alex Trebek Retires

Cohen celebrates wins and ignites a conversation among Jeopardy! fans. Trebek also gives him the nickname “Mr. Personality.”

He doesn’t ‘see the harm’ in bringing personality to the game 

Following his turn on Jeopardy! in 2016, Cohen spoke with Vanity Fair about the experience and the criticism he gets from fans about not respecting the show. 

“I’m not up there to do the State Department exam,” Cohen said. 

“If I was playing awfully and then decided to make jokes, or do the thing with brushing the dirt off my shoulder,” he added, “I could understand people being like, ‘This dude’s making a mockery of Jeopardy.’ But I take it really seriously. So when I have opportunities to inject a little bit of personality, I don’t see the harm.”

Alex Trebek is ‘all good’ with Buzzy Cohen’s jokes

In the same interview, Cohen shared he’d spoken with Trebek off-camera about his antics, confirming the award-winning TV personality didn’t take issue with the teasing. 

RELATED: ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Buzzy Cohen Says the Key to Winning Is Paying Attention to How Alex Trebek Speaks

“We had a little chat, and I think after either the Monday or Tuesday show I was like, ‘Hey, I’m just joking around. I hope it doesn’t bother you.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, no, no, it’s all good,’” Cohen said. 

“I think the people that are offended are more offended than he is,” he added. 

By the end of Cohen’s time on the game show, Trebek referred to him as “Mr. Personality.” 

Buzzy Cohen takes advice from staff at ‘Jeopardy!’ audition about having fun

Where does Cohen’s fun approach to being on Jeopardy! come from? Advice he and other contestants received from the game show’s staff at an audition. 

RELATED: No, ‘Jeopardy!’ Champ Buzzy Cohen Wasn’t Smiling at the Contestants He Beat

“The thing that they really drive home is that it’s a game show, and you should have fun—and the people that do the best on the show are the people that are having fun,” he said. “So I really was having a ton of fun.” 

The strategy works for Cohen because he goes on a nine-game winning streak taking home $164,603 in prize money. Returning to the program in 2017 for the Tournament of Champions, he wins first place and $250,000.

RELATED: ‘Jeopardy!’: Julia Collins Says Alex Trebek Tried to ‘Smooth Things Over’ After a Contestant Made a Mean Comment to Her