Last night, a woman named Talia Lavin made Jeopardy! history. Not knowing the answer to her “Final Jeopardy!” clue—“This song from a 1999 animated film about censorship had a word censored from its Oscar performance”—she wrote, instead, “what is the ballad of turd ferguson.” (She added: “ps. hi mom :).”)
The answer was a reference to the Saturday Night Live take on Celebrity Jeopardy!, in which Burt Reynolds (played by Norm Macdonald) insists that Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) call him “Turd Ferguson.” Because, he tells Trebek, “It’s a funny name.”
Which: Yes, yes it is. But Lavin, fortunately, is by no means the first Jeopardy! contestant to take the agony of game-show defeat and turn it into a triumph for all humanity. Below, in her honor, a tribute to those great Americans who made Alex Trebek laugh and squirm and say “turd” on national television. The crazy ones, the rebels, the dreamers, the jokesters who remind us that losing can be, if you’re clever about it, a sure route to winning.
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Contestant: Talia Lavin
Setting: September 2015
Clue: “This song from a 1999 animated film about censorship had a word censored from its Oscar performance.”
Actual answer: “Blame Canada,” from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut