Article by Sam Riches, Growth Op
Sudbury, Ont.-born Alex Trebek died this past weekend at the age of 80, after fighting pancreatic cancer for the past two years and hosting Jeopardy! for nearly 40.
Trebek took over the quiz show in 1984 and was generally reserved on-air, though he would offer glimpses into his wry humour during interviews with the contestants, or in response to egregiously incorrect answers.
Trebek, who won seven Emmys for his hosting duties, was also a gifted storyteller and during an interview with Howard Stern in 2015, he shared an anecdote about an unexpected encounter with pot brownies that forced him to take a break from trivia.
Trebek said that after consuming about four of five of the brownies, he spent the next three days in bed, sleeping off the unexpected high.
During the interview, Trebek — whose early ambitions included becoming a pilot, doctor or the Prime Minister — mentioned living his life as if he were considering a career in politics.
“I didn’t want to make any mistakes,” he said. “I didn’t want to get caught in the wrong place with the wrong person.”
So when Trebek went to a house party in Malibu in the 1970s on a Friday night, as a recent arrival to California, he was unfamiliar with pot brownies.
“I love chocolate, and I ate about four or five hash brownies,” Trebek told Stern, adding that he didn’t know the people hosting the party.
Trebek said he became “almost comatose” before the hosts put him to bed. “The party was on a Friday night; I didn’t leave their home until Monday morning. No exaggeration,” he told Stern.
Trebek also wrote about the experience in his 2020 memoir,The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life.
Trebek told Stern that he once smoked cannabis, too, after a friend recommended it may help soothe his arthritic shoulders, but the pot didn’t offer much relief, so he stopped. He also tried cocaine once, after his accountant invited him to a house party, again in California.
“I inhaled and I said, ‘Blargh, this burns my nose!’” Trebek recalled, before adding that he didn’t try the drug again. “To me, drugs are highly overrated,” he said.
After the news of his death broke, former Jeopardy! contestants, celebrities and Canadians alike shared condolences across social media.