Jeopardy's Ken Jennings Got Clowned By Some Snarky Teens With A Forrest Gump Reference, And He's Impressed

Ken Jennings on Jeopardy and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump.
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Television/Paramount Pictures)

Jeopardy! fans have always taken the classic quiz show very seriously when it comes to accuracy, respect for the game, and tone. Even so, co-host Ken Jennings has never been afraid to poke a little fun at himself. He’s cracked his fair share of dad jokes and even snuck in a quip about circumcision from his venerated spot behind the lectern. It’s not just in front of the camera either, apparently, as Jennings shared a story on social media about a run-in with some teenagers, who he said made a Forrest Gump joke at his expense.

Ken Jennings took to Twitter to give props to some teens he said he encountered at the mall. As he ran to his car, the snarky youngsters apparently made use of one of the more famous lines from the Tom Hanks classic. Jennings shared: 

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OK, I can definitely see why having teens heckling you as you run to your car would be absolutely devastating, as the Jeopardy! champ said. Ken Jennings didn’t explain why he was running — was it a weather issue, or a time thing? — but either way, we can assume he was too far away or too pressed for time to say anything in his defense. Even if not, how do you respond to that? You can’t. You just have to take it on the chin (and, clearly, post about it on Twitter later). 

As for knowing the reference to Forrest Gump, I can see how somebody would be surprised if a teenager was privy to some random movie from nearly 30 years ago. But this was no ordinary or random movie. 

Robert Zemeckis' 1994 film racked up 13 Academy Award nominations, winning six of them — including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. One needs not to have seen the movie anyway to be aware of “Run, Forrest, run!” and a number of other quotable lines. I’d imagine there’s probably a teenager out there right now, naming all the different kinds of shrimp.

Either way, it’s a great story, because I’m sure Ken Jennings is far from alone when it comes to being taken down a notch by the next generation. We’re just lucky he shares such special moments with his followers. 

Along with funny stories like this, the Jeopardy! player-turned-host also elicited great responses when he shared photos of some mail he’d gotten from a fan who confused him with actor Richard Jenkins. He also shared a pic of a particularly wonderful drawing he received from a young fan, proclaiming that to be the best part of hosting Jeopardy!

As for the show, Ken Jennings is set to hand the Jeopardy! hosting baton over to Mayim Bialik in the new year. The record-holding champion has been leading the show for all of Season 39 thus far, and when the two were named permanent Jeopardy! co-hosts, it was said that Bialik would take over in 2023 after a holiday hiatus. Check your local listings to see when you can catch the quiz show in your area, and take a peek at our 2023 TV schedule to see what other premieres are coming in the new year. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.