During the brief interview chats with contestants on Tuesday’s episode, Rodgers asked returning champion Brandon Deutsch: “It says here when you were 4 months old Burt Reynolds — or was it Turd Ferguson — was holding you at some point?”
Norm Macdonald made “Turd Ferguson” a household name for comedy fans and Jeopardy fans alike back in 1999 during a Saturday Night Live parody of Celebrity Jeopardy! with Will Ferrell as the late Alex Trebek, noticing that Burt Reynolds (Macdonald) had changed his name on the podium.
“Yeah, that’s right. Turd Ferguson. It’s a funny name,” Macdonald as Reynolds quipped.
Rodgers foreshadowed the Reynolds/Ferguson shout-out in an interview with The Ringer, in which he vowed to make his brief interactions with the contestants more fun, so “I’d try to get them talking about stuff that maybe wasn’t as nerdy.” He said:
“The set producer will highlight questions that they’ve prompted them on. But a lot of times when I read the fun facts I thought there was something way more interesting [than the highlighted part]. And maybe it’s just more interesting to me, but that’s where I would go. I’d say, “Hey [redacted], I’m going to talk about you and Burt Reynolds,” just to give them a little heads up before we come out of break.”
When Rodgers competed and won Celebrity Jeopardy! in 2015, he wrote down “Who is Turd Ferguson!” during rehearsals.
He also mentioned Turd in a since-deleted 2011 Tweet.
Who knows what he’ll have in store for us tonight!?
Rodgers continues hosting Jeopardy! through April 16, 2021. New episodes of Jeopardy! air weeknights at 7/6c on ABC.
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