Notable Quotes: Alex Trebek!

Alex Trebek is one of those guys who you just know is cool in real life. I honestly think Alex Trebek isn’t playing a ‘game show host’ on Jeopardy. That’s just how he is. He doesn’t fake smile. Sometimes he’s patient with people who deserve some impatience –which a game show host has to do- but other than that, I think we’re seeing how Mr. Trebek really is. The following list of quotes only reinforces my opinion.

Most of these I found this on the internet a few years back and thought it was worth keeping. I’ve gone searching for their origin, and it seems to be from the March 2003 issue of Esquire. There’s a lot of quips and off the cuff stuff, but there’s also some real wisdom and depth. Also, I find casual swearing from a G-rated television personality very humanizing. Anyway, I think it’s a great collection of quotes, and I’m happy to have this forum to share it with you.

Alex Trebek: What I Have Learned

Ours is a quiz show, not a game show.

I’m curious about everything. Even subjects that don’t interest me.

Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

People ask me, “How would you do as a contestant on the show?” And I tell them I would do fairly well among senior citizens, but against a good thirty-year-old I would have trouble because I cannot recall information as quickly as I used to. You used to say something and I would go, boom, right away, very sharp. Now it’s like, Oh, yes, but wait a minute, uh, uh. . . .

Don’t minimize the importance of luck in determining life’s course.

You go to the Rockies and you stand there and you’re looking up, saying, “Yep, that’s impressive.” And then you go to the Himalayas and you’re like, “Oh, shit!”

If you can’t be in awe of Mother Nature, there’s something wrong with you.

We are all experts in our own little niches.

When we did the college tournament in Ohio recently, I was telling the audience about our trip to Africa—and I’ve been to Africa now, I don’t know, a half dozen times—and I got teary eyed. I started to cry. This is kinda dumb. I’m in front of three thousand people and I’m getting weepy talking about Africa. What the hell’s Africa to me? Well, I go to Africa and I stand there and I am overwhelmed by the thought that this is where I’m from. I came from here. And I feel comfortable. It’s like, Hey, I’m home.

Canada? Marvelous country.

My musical development stopped when Frank Sinatra died.

Don’t tell me what you believe in. I’ll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination.

A good education and a kind heart will get you through life in pretty good shape.

Give me a gun and put me near somebody who is just mean and I’ll blow him away. No second thoughts about it.

Sex? Unfortunately, as you get older—and I shouldn’t admit this—there are other things that become more important in your daily life.

Pay your dues. For God’s sake, pay your dues. Jesus. I see all these people who want to be overnight stars, and that is so bad. It’ll just screw you up so badly.

Evil exists. I believe that.

Fatherhood? I love it. It introduced an element of fear into my life. When you’re a bachelor, you don’t give a shit. You can do anything. But when you become a father, you get scared about everything.

My dad didn’t throw out too many things. His basic philosophy was, ‘Don’t throw out something because someday it’ll come in handy.’ And it’s true. I mean, I have weather stripping in there that’s older than you. Workmen come over and do stuff, and invariably they don’t have the right tools or the right part. I walk into my garage and come back with the part they need.

It’s just as easy to be nice as it is to be unpleasant, and the rewards are far greater.

My dad drank pretty heavily, and he never missed a day of work in his life. So I never looked at drinking as a serious problem, but drugs to me are a serious problem. I think it’s a generational thing. I think older people don’t feel as uncomfortable around drinkers as they do around dopers.

I don’t gamble, because winning a hundred dollars doesn’t give me great pleasure. But losing a hundred dollars pisses me off.

In military college, they teach you how to make your bed so you can bounce a silver dollar off it. I made my bed perfectly and the guy came in and said, “Oh, this is really good. Who did this?” I did this, sir! “That’s really good. What’s your name?” Trebek, sir! “Has anybody torn up your bed yet?” No, sir! So he tore up my bed. Jesus, what the hell’s going on here? What kinda crap is this? In the military they say, ‘We’re gonna break down your spirit in order to rebuild it.’ Don’t give me that bullshit. I can take an order without you behaving like a jerk.

It’s very important to have a good sense of who you are and not be jerked around by other people and their opinions of you. Merv Griffin, who developed Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, had a great line once. I used to personally answer all the mail that came in to Jeopardy! whether it was favorable or unfavorable, and Merv said, “You know how I handle the nasty mail?” I said no. He just grabbed it and folded it up and crunched it up and threw it in the wastebasket. He said, “I don’t bother with it.”

If you don’t hit your categories, you’re gonna be standing there with your thumb in your ear.

You asked me about my pet peeves. One is TV commercials that seem to place an emphasis on stupid and illegal behavior.

It’s very important in life to know when to shut up. You should not be afraid of silence.

Here’s just a few more I found, rummaging around online, that did not appear in the article above:

When he got married to his second wife, the priest asked him for his, ‘I do,’ and he quipped, “The answer is… Yes.”

One summer in the early 70s he lived in a Trappist monastery. He said in an interview for the New York Sunday News, “I took a vow not only of poverty but of silence. And I’m not one to keep my big mouth shut. I enjoy talking.”

We are trying to entertain the audience. We happen to do it by enlightening and educating them.

I have learned quite a bit, but it’s not like you know enough about the topics to lead a discussion at a cocktail party.


2 thoughts on “Notable Quotes: Alex Trebek!

  1. Lori

    I really like “It’s very important in life to know when to shut up. You should not be afraid of silence.”

    Alex Trebek is my favorite game show host and I think Jeopardy! is the only game show I will even watch aside from Who Wants to be a Millionaire.. Very nice article!

  2. Pingback: Notable Quotes: Alex Trebek! | Face in the Blue

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