Jeopardy!, the long-standing television gameshow, has pissed off fans after a cannabis joke went sideways on an episode of the show airing on May 24, reports the US Sun. Admittedly, it’s a bit dramatic of the fanbase who are older and allegedly anti-weed.
It all started when contestant Bonnie Kistler, a novelist, chose the category “Ripped From The Headlines” for $400. New co-host Mayim Bialik presented the contestants with the phrase, “Marijuana issues sent to this ‘committee’ generally composed of members of both houses of a legislature.”
Contestant Ryan Long, a rideshare driver who’s won 12 episodes of the show in a row and is the current reigning champion of Jeopardy!, guessed: “What is a bipartisan committee?” It was not the correct answer.
Rather, Bialik said the answer was, “What is a joint committee?” then followed up with a comment saying, “Get it?” referring to the double meaning and drawing guarded laughter from the crowd.
But Jeopardy!’s audience demographic is comprised of older folks who come from a time when cannabis was seen as the devil’s lettuce. Newsweek reported in 2011 that the age of the show’s average viewer was 65-years-old. And that was after the show spent years modernizing. Before then, the median viewer age was 70.
While some viewers were obviously fine with it, some wielded their finger-fueled attitude on Twitter and slammed Bialik and the show. One Twitter user said, “Oh, but won’t the #Jeopardy writers PLEASE think of the children watching, and their delicate ears that were just exposed to a cannabis reference?”
It’s always about the children. Jeopardy! fans have repeatedly begged the show to avoid “adult themes.” One user responded, noting how alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis. Another user quickly responded, “…I know it's all funny to pretend that cannabis is dangerous, but many people are alive right now only due to medical cannabis & ignorant jokes like yours don't help.”
Weed jokes following the answer “joint committees” has appeared on the show before. Once in 2015, Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg brought up a legislative item on cannabis reform and noted that it takes place in joint committees. Rosenberg said, “That’s really funny. I didn’t try to be funny. They are called joint committees.”
Trebek was the show’s host back then, and he also didn’t get blasted by his fanbase for making comments about weed. Trebek told reporter Marlon Stowe in an interview for The Daily Beast that he got trashed on hash edibles because he ate too many of them on accident — we’ve all been there.
“It was by accident! I didn’t know what they were,” Trebek said. “I had just arrived in California and went to a friend’s house for dinner, and there were brownies. I love brownies — I’m a chocoholic — and I didn’t realize that they were hash brownies. And… whoa. That threw me for a loop. I took down about a half-dozen.”
New host Mayim Bialik has been facing an uphill battle to be accepted by the Jeopardy! fanbase, who’ve made it clear that their loyalty belongs to Alex Trebek. As a result, they troll the new hosts. For instance, Bialik gets blasted on social media for wearing the same clothes on the show.
Will Jeopardy! fans get with the times and accept their new host — who may make a few jokes about weed from time to time? Time will tell, but the fanbase sounds like they need to spark up a joint.