Ken Jennings Formally Apologizes For Jeopardy ‘Dad Joke,’ But Fans Seemed Here For It

Ken Jennings smiling in Jeopardy
(Image credit: Jeopardy!)

It’s always a good day when Jeopardy! is a topic of conversation, and that conversation isn’t wholly tied to the classic game show’s ill-fated attempts to find a permanent replacement  for Alex Trebek. Instead, we’re talking about something on the opposite end of the cringe spectrum: mega-cornball humor. Current guest host Ken Jennings may be the all-time GOAT when it comes to trivia-based success, but he’s abundantly aware that he won’t be winning the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor anytime soon (or ever). In fact, he went so far as to issue a social media apology to his followers for a particularly egregious pun that slots accordingly into the annals of Dad Joke-dom.

But while some Jeopardy! viewers were more than willing to believe that Ken Jennings’ throwback joke was bad enough to deserve door-to-door apologies, the wordplay definitely had its defenders. For those who didn’t catch the episode, one clue within the category “National Geographic Ocean: A Global Odyssey” was about a particular parasite-mouthed sea creature. And after one contestant’s wrong guess of “electric eel,” it was revealed the judges were looking for “moray eel.” Which led to the moment depicted below:

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Which itself led Ken Jennings to come out and share this message with his Twitter followers:

I will be coming to your homes individually to apologize for this.

And while there were absolutely Jeopardy! fans going back and forth over who deserves to be the permanent host and who is a blight on the face of Alex Trebek's legacy — "What is...hyperbole?" — there were more than enough fans cheering Jennings on for bringing some goofy humor to the series. The below post offers its own bit of hyperbolic opinion, though far more positive in nature.

Never! It brings life to the show when the host knows the answers so well he can think far enough ahead to wisecrack. Robin Williams would have been proud of your timing, boy.

Many fans felt that Jennings could stick his sorries in a sock, since they weren't necessary for defending that Rat Pack-y pun. Take the following message, for example:

Apologies? I thought it was hilarious! Please make Ken the permanent host. HE and only Ken will do right by Alex's fame.

Even some who aren't necessarily pushing for Ken Jennings to become the permanent Jeopardy! host were still perfectly fine with having his broad humor around for laugh, such as the viewer below

I love @missmayim as the permanent host but you can give me corny Ken and his punny jokes in small doses too so mayim can still do @CallMeKatFOX. Share the position. There's not one person who can fill the shoes of Alex anyways :)

This fan actually did want an apology, but not for the joke being a groaner. Rather, for Jennings sparking an ear worm with his pun.

I want an apology because after that I could not get that song our if my head and here I am at 5:06 am reading this and it is back in my head again for the 2nd time in less than 24 hours. Tee hee great job.

Even recent champ Matt Amodio chimed in beneath Ken Jennings' post with a particularly biting response that could mean all kinds of things depending on how one chooses to view them.

Everybody loves somebody who is willing to apologize.

For all the opinions out there, I think we can all agree that the below response from an actual moray eel (or not).

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While Ken Jennings sophomoric humor has gotten him into trouble in the past, and allegedly even caused Jeopardy! producers to remove him from consideration for the permanent hosting gig, the yuk-yuk joke above was nowhere near that level of controversial. Corn-troversial, maybe.

With Jennings having returned to the hosting spot on the anniversary of Alex Trebek's death — though that fact was not made clear to him when tapingJeopardy! airs weekdays in syndication, so be sure to check your local listings to see when and where to find it!

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.