Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek served as a moderator for a gubernatorial debate in Pennsylvania on Monday night, and he was not received positively by the audience.

It began near the middle of the debate at a hotel in Hershey, Pennsylvania. As the two candidates — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican Scott Wagner — sat attentively onstage, 78-year-old Canadian Trebek awkwardly made a joke about how only the Catholic Church has a lower approval rating than Pennsylvania’s legislature.

After holding his own relatively well for the first portion of the debate, the only one for this race, the Jeopardy! host was quickly booed.

“Don’t go there,” Trebek told the crowd. “I was born and raised in the Catholic Church and I’m just as ticked off as everybody else is over what has happened with the church.”


Trebek then went on a tangent about his religious upbringing that drew the confusion and exasperation of many viewers, who slammed him for not giving the candidates enough time to speak.

Many people went on to mock Trebek in several ways.

“Horrible gubernatorial debate moderators for $1,000,” Pennsylvania-based GOP strategist Mike Barley said to the Reading Eagle, replicating Jeopardy!’s format. “Who is Alex Trebek?”

According to the Washington Post, Trebek said he agreed to moderate the event on the condition that the event would be more of a “conversation” rather than a typical debate. He also reportedly joked that he was drunk when he accepted the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry’s offer to serve as debate moderator.

Even local politicians like Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle — who is running for re-election in Pennsylvania’s Second Congressional District — blasted Trebek for wasting time on Monday.

“It was a learning experience for me,” Trebek told local Pennsylvania television station CBS 21 of the debate. “I think I was too naive going into this.”

Trebek recently hinted at retiring as Jeopardy! host in 2020. Several potential replacements have already been named.


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