Viral Jeopardy! Champ Is Weird, Wacky, and a Big Winner

You can't miss Austin Rogers if you stumble on the show
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2017 6:51 AM CDT

Austin Rogers may not stand out at a hipster watering hole in New York City, but as a Jeopardy! contestant, he's not exactly your run-of-the-mill contender. "He's got hair, he's got chutzpah, and broad-based knowledge," says show host Alex Trebek of Rogers in one video clip, which shows moments from the quirky 38-year-old bartender's recent winning streak. As of Thursday, he has emerged victorious eight shows in a row, with total winnings of $306,900, per WABC. The shaggy-haired Rogers regularly hams it up for the camera, makes risky bets, and breaks into "celebratory histrionics" whenever he guesses correctly, per NPR. It calls him perhaps "the best thing to happen to the game show since IBM's Watson trounced its human … opponents."

He's capturing so much attention online—where he updates what's been happening on the show via his own Twitter feed—that he's earned his own #AustinonJeopardy hashtag. TheWrap notes that Rogers had a rough day on Wednesday, when he messed up the Final Jeopardy question and earlier in the show mispronounced "sherbet" as "sherbert," but he kept it together to notch another win. He tells TheWrap that reaction to his appearances has been "overwhelmingly positive" and that he takes any "Haterade" that may come his way "with a grain of salt." He also dishes on his sherbet flub and what he's going to do with the money: "I do not have a mortgage. I do not have a kid. I do not have college debt. I do not have car payments. I do not have Grandma in the hospital. This is just literal free money for me." (More Jeopardy stories.)

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