Celebrity Jeopardy’s Hasan Minhaj Apologizes For Trying To Make the Game ‘Fun’ After Fans’ Scathing Complaints

Hasan Minhaj on Celebrity Jeopardy!
(Image credit: ABC)

It’s been well-established that fans of Jeopardy! take their game pretty seriously, with many feeling there’s a certain amount of respect required of the contestants who take the Alex Trebek Stage. While one might think that Celebrity Jeopardy!’s format lends itself to an easing up of those standards, comedian Hasan Minhaj had a little more panache than what fans are accustomed to, and they were quick to let him know on social media. After Minhaj received scathing criticism over his showing on the quiz show’s primetime spinoff, he issued an apology to fans for “trying to make Jeopardy! fun.”

As Hasan Minhaj explained what went down on the October 30 episode of Celebrity Jeopardy!, he infused his own brand of humor into his apology while speaking to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, as he admitted to having a “unique power to piss off dedicated nerds.” He said: 

To the fans of Jeopardy!, I want to take this moment to apologize. Jeopardy! fans, look at me. I'm sorry I desecrated an American institution. I'm sorry I ripped your 7 p.m. linear TV pacifier out of your geriatric mouth. And most importantly, I'm sorry for trying to make Jeopardy! fun.

Well, I think it’s safe to say that apology isn’t likely to win over any of the people who were so vocally opposed to his antics on the show. Jimmy Fallon showed a clip of the episode in question — which also featured Wil Wheaton and Troian Bellisario — showing an animated Hasan Minhaj jumping up and down as he answered clues, celebrating correct answers and shouting out his responses to Mayim Bialik.

Speaking of the host, Mayim Bialik showed precisely why we love her taking the reins on Celebrity Jeopardy!, as she didn’t allow Hasan Minhaj to hijack the format of the show (at least not too much). She dismissed the comedian when he claimed his buzzer didn’t work, leading to him accusing her of gaslighting and then victim-blaming. In what Minhaj said was an explanation, not an excuse, the comedian explained that competing on the show in person is a different beast than playing from home. He told Jimmy Fallon: 

Let me explain my behavior. When you're playing Jeopardy! at home in your sweats and you're confident and you're playing with the shampoo or the remote, you think you're the shit. But you don't know what that game does to you in the arena.

Whatever the cause of his enthusiastic playing style, fans on Twitter didn’t seem to buy in, with some saying they were so annoyed they turned off the episode. Many who hung in there until the conclusion expressed joy that Wil Wheaton ended up winning the game, with one viewer tweeting: 

See more

In the end Hasan Minhaj admitted he’s just not the best fit for the “cerebral, quiet quiz show,” and said he needs to go to a place where the unhinged are accepted. Minhaj said he’s taking his talents to The Price Is Right

Whether or not that comes to fruition remains to be seen, but Jeopardy! fans can rest assured he won’t be gracing the Alex Trebek Stage again anytime soon. Celebrity Jeopardy! continues with new episodes each Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. However, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can check out past episodes of Celebrity Jeopardy! streaming with a Hulu subscription, and Hasan Minhaj's stand-up special, Homecoming King, is available with a Netflix subscription

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.