It’s been a good year for watching people cluelessly stumble into failure on TV game shows, and I cannot stop laughing at this recent Jeopardy contestant. You know how the first commercial break is followed by the segment where Alex chums up to the players and gets to learn one of their life anecdotes? Well, the video below contains not only one of the most hilariously lifeless examples of a Jeopardy! story that I’ve ever heard, but it’s also very close to the worst story in existence. Don’t believe me?
This is in no way a declaration that Dan Tran is dumb, boring or the recent victim of a drive-by lobotomy. The dude is on Jeopardy!, to begin with, and he actually ended up winning the episode. Those are two things that I’ll probably never do, regardless of how far up to the ceiling my storytelling talents are stacked. So the issue here isn’t with Tran’s book smarts, but rather the common sense that it takes to pre-plan an interesting story that Alex Trebek and millions of other people will be listening to.
Though Jeopardy! producers do limit the kinds of yarns that can be told at this time, they definitely don’t require people to be uninteresting, yet many contestants offer up reliably dismal 30-second windows into their lives. What we’ve received from Tran here is that he sometimes isn’t able to recognize the giant rocks in the sky that guide Earth’s existence, and that he’s the kind of person who thinks it’s a story worth repeating. That’s not even getting into the instantaneous uncertainty that precedes every word out of his mouth. For those who didn’t want to listen, I’ve jotted the story down for you below, minus most of the nervous stammering.
So, when I was a senior in high school – I took French in high school – we won an exchange trip and we arrived incredibly jetlagged. No cappuccino could really save us in that regard. During an open-air tour bus tour in Paris, I looked up and said to my friends, “Hey, you know, the moon looks pretty bright tonight…today,” and they just turned to me. It’s like, “Dan, that’s not the moon. It’s the sun.” And I was like, “No, guys. It’s the sun,” but then it turned out it was actually the sun and not the moon.”
Reading it instead of hearing it, it’s easy to imagine Jack Handey putting this together for a Deep Thoughts segment. But let me stop picking on Tran, for he knew not what the Internet would eventually say about his story. Let’s end this on another dumb contestant.
For those wondering, Tran ended up losing the next day. His story this time around wasn’t long enough to warrant viral fame. But we'll always have Paris. Or wherever.