‘Jeopardy!’: This Behind-the-Scenes Video of Alex Trebek Shows How Funny He Was

Television lost one of its all-time greats. Alex Trebek, beloved host of Jeopardy! for 36 years, died on Nov. 8 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

While the host was known for his wisdom and comforting presence, he also threw his fair share of shade at Jeopardy! contestants over the years. His funny moments were scattered throughout his time on the show, but the quips were definite crowdpleasers.

One thing fans didn’t get to see much of was the inner workings of the popular gameshow. What was Trebek like backstage? What was a day in the life of working on Jeopardy! like? Luckily, Trebek allowed a camera crew to follow him for a day of taping, and the behind-the-scenes videos of Trebek prepping for a Jeopardy! recording day show just how hilariously savage the host could really be.

Jeopardy Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek on Jeopardy! | Ben Hider/Getty Images

Alex Trebek cracked a lot of jokes on the ‘Jeopardy!’ set

Trebek gave Business Insider the full Jeopardy! experience back in March 2017, two years before he would announce his cancer diagnosis to the world. In the 18-minute video, the Emmy winner answered questions about his typical work day, and let the camera crew sit in on part of a team meeting. Viewers also got to see the late star interact with the studio audience.

The clips showing his work preparations prove Trebek suffered no fools. He was blunt, but communicative with his interactions, which some fans might find surprising given his cheery disposition on the show. But it’s actually quite refreshing to see Trebek in casual wear, eating a doughnut while he’s getting ready for work. At one point, he took out a huge bag of paper shredding and said, “If you don’t do a good job writing clues for Jeopardy!, this is what happens to your material.”

It’s during the commercial breaks that Trebek is at his funniest. In the clips, the host answered as many questions from the studio audience as he had time for, and he really took those moments to let his personality shine.

When a fan asked him what his favorite part of working on the show is, he quipped back, “The half hour I get to spend onstage with three very bright people. I don’t like spending time with stupid people, so I have very few friends.”

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Alex Trebek loved interacting with the ‘Jeopardy!’ live audience

When asked how long it takes him to rehearse the clues for the day, he said, “It takes me an hour and a half to read over all five games that we are taping today because I don’t want to make a mistake in pronunc … pro … pru … in saying words properly.”

As for what his proudest moment throughout his decades of work on the game show, Trebek said, “I do not have a proudest moment to be quite honest. We’ve done over 7,500 shows, and I don’t even remember the ones we did yesterday.”

Finally, a child in the audience asked Trebek how he could possibly know all the answers to the game’s clues.

“Because I’m smart,” he teased. “And also because they’re written on a sheet of paper in front of me.”

Of course, some of Trebek’s funniest moments happened during the games themselves. Whether he was going viral for reciting rap lyrics as part of Jeopardy! clues or trolling his contestants during the interview portion of the shows, there’s no denying that Trebek knew how to entertain a crowd.