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5 Spot

In the form of 5 questions, Ken Jennings

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Ken Jennings, a native Utahn, holds the record for the longest-winning streak on Jeopardy!, having won $2.4 million in 75 appearances. Jennings will speak at the Great Salt Lake Book Festival Friday, Oct. 27, 8 p.m., at the Main Library auditorium to promote his first book Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs.

nn

Did your on-air conversations with Alex Trebek ever become redundant?

nn

I ran out of snappy little anecdotes about myself after five episodes, much less 75. It quickly devolved into me making stuff up (“So, Ken, it says here you like airplane food?”), meta-commentary (“Are you considering a career in show biz?”) and naked Trebekian desperation (“Ken, I’ve run out of stuff. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?”).

nn

Did you have trouble finding suits to wear?

nn

I was a computer programmer at the time, so “dressing up” was a foreign concept to me. Do you have 75 suits in your closet? Luckily, my brother and dad are more or less my size and chipped in plenty of clothes.

nn

Is there one question you still kick yourself for not answering correctly?

nn

Jeopardy! tapes five shows in an afternoon, so sometimes you just get sleepy up there at the podium and zone out. Once I jolted alert to discover I was telling Alex that Jay Leno was the host of The Tonight Show in 1986. Er, no, Ken. You lose $400.

nn

What did you splurge on with your winnings?

nn

I now pay the extra 59 cents to add steak to my burrito at Taco Bell.

nn

Your book Brainiac explores the eras of trivia. What era do you wish you could be part of?

nn

I was fascinated to find that America’s first trivia craze came when a series of books called Ask Me Another became best-sellers in the 1920s. I wish I could have been around then. I just like the mental image of the Algonquin Round Table sitting around playing trivia.

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