The Rundown: Something Really Cool Happened On The ‘Jeopardy!’ Tournament Of Champions

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE – Good for Ike

The celebrities are officially coming for Jeopardy. First, a few months ago, it was Emma Stone, while she was out on the promotional tour for Poor Things, which ended up earning her a nomination at this weekend’s Oscars, saying this about her passion for the show.

“I apply every June. I don’t want to go on ‘Celebrity Jeopardy.’ I want to earn my stripes. You can only take the test once a year with your email address, and I’ve never gotten on the show. I watch it every single night and I mark down how many answers I get right. I swear, I could go on ‘Jeopardy.’”

I respected it then and I still respect it now and I still can’t get over how funny it would be for like some realtor from Minnesota to fulfill their lifelong dream of making it on Jeopardy and flying out to Los Angeles for the taping and then blammo there’s world-famous Hollywood star Emma Stone standing next to you. Think about that person’s brain in that moment. It might just melt. Tough to win a trivia contest with a melted brain. I have always said this.

And then, just this week, there was a new and fascinating development in the celeb siege of our trivia-related game shows. Ike Barinholtz, he of The Mindy Project and The Afterparty and the most recent champion of Celebrity Jeopardy, was invited to compete in the show’s Tournament of Champions and defeated two mega-champs in the first round. Like, real, legit Jeopardy champions, including 13-time winner Ray Lalonde. That… is kind of wild, right? It feels kind of wild. Not that celebrities can’t be smart. A lot of them are theater dorks at heart. But still. Good for Ike, man.

Vulture caught up with him for an interview about his early-round success in the Tournament of Champions, and I really do recommend reading it if only to get an idea of how seriously he takes this. He’s name-dropping other Jeopardy champs, citing strategy, all of it. My favorite part of the interview was this chunk, though, where he discusses how he hit the answer in Final Jeopardy that locked in his win.

How confident did you feel going into Final Jeopardy, especially after seeing the category would be “Poets of Ancient Rome”? What was going through your mind?

I knew a couple of Roman poets. I knew Virgil and Horace. But for some reason, the first name that popped into my head was Ovid. I’m definitely someone whose strengths are more aligned with art, literature, movies, and media. Have you ever seen Eyes Wide Shut?

Yeah, but it’s been a while.

There’s a first scene where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman go to the party. That creepy Hungarian guy starts hitting on Nicole Kidman and is like, “Have you ever read Ovid and The Art of Love?” For some reason in my mind I was like, Well, Ovid is a poet, and I thought of that line. Maybe that could be okay as an answer. I was incredibly nervous. I was definitely sure Ray and Melissa were going to get it right.

Couple really cool things here. One is just how powerful it must feel to say “I knew a couple of Roman poets” in that answer. I have a college degree and a law degree and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars acquiring them and I straight-up could not name a single Roman poet if you offered me $5 billion and a cheeseburger. Everyone who played for my beloved Philadelphia 76ers since 1996? Absolutely. No problem. But a single Roman poet? Zero chance.

The second cool thing is that this is almost certainly the first time there has been a semifinalist in the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions whom I have a screencap of where the subtitle reads “[urinating intensifies].”


So it’s a big week for both of us, really.

Me and Ike.

Even if he did end up losing in the semifinals on Thursday night.

What a run.

ITEM NUMBER TWO – This is too much money for a booth

The Sopranos ended over 15 years ago with a cut to black that people are still debating and/or angry about today, which is a hell of a thing to wrap your head around in a few different ways. It just… ended. Boom. Done. I was confused and annoyed in the moment but have grown to like it a lot more with continued distance from it all. Tony was in that booth in Holsten’s eating ice cream, but he could have been anywhere. He was going to have his head on that swivel for the rest of his life, whether it ended right then or not, and if he never knew what was walking through the door then I can understand why we didn’t get to know either. I’m also fine with you disagreeing with me on this. We don’t have time for your counterargument right now, though, because we have to talk about the booth. Sorry.

You see, the booth Tony was sitting in during that final season was recently put up for auction by Holsten’s. The New York Times has the full story but here’s the necessary background.

Holsten’s in Bloomfield, N.J., which is preparing for a renovation, put the burgundy booth and yellow Formica tabletop up for auction on eBay on Feb. 28. Chris Carley, a co-owner of the ice cream parlor, set the opening bid at $3,000, hoping he might get $10,000 for it to help cover part of the estimated $60,000 cost for a new floor and new booths.

Okay, cool. Fine. And honestly good for Holsten’s. The scene gave them a bump in popularity and made it a necessary stop for fans of the show, but still. Running a restaurant is hard. Staying in business over the last 17 years is not nothing, especially considering what the restaurant industry has been through over the last half-decade. I support everything going on up to this point.

But here is where we must stop to ask the important question: How much did the booth go for at that auction? Did they get the $10,000? Did they get more? How much are we talking here?

Within 24 hours, the price had jumped to $52,000. By Monday afternoon, there had been more than 230 bids, pushing the price above $82,000. When the auction ended just after 7 p.m., the booth sold for $82,600.

Jesus Christ.

That is entirely too much money to spend on a booth. Any booth. Even the one Tony may or may not have been murdered in. There are so many better things you can do with $82,600. You can give it to charity. You can start a scholarship for kids from your high school to go to college. You can spend $300 to buy a regular booth that you just tell everyone is the one from The Sopranos — who is going to question something that weirdly specific??? — and then give $82,300 to me. You have so many options.

In conclusion, I am going to put together a team to steal this booth from whoever won the auction. Just to teach them a lesson. You should not spend $82,600 on a booth. We are doing them a favor, really.

ITEM NUMBER THREE – I need the collaboration between Tenacious D and Britney Spears at once

The facts here are straightforward and not in dispute:

  • This is a video of Tenacious D — the two-man band consisting of Jack Black and Kyle Gass — performing “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, which is still a perfect pop song
  • It is very cool
  • These guys seems fun

And it gets better from here.

Last week, Jack Black and Tenacious D bandmate Kyle Gass covered “…Baby One More Time” and shared it on social media.

Now, he’s letting the ’00s icon know what a big fan he is. “Britney, if you’re watching, I love you. I love the song,” Black told Entertainment Tonight at the L.A. premiere of Kung Fu Panda 4.

“We’re very proud of it, [and] I hope you like it, too,” Black said, addressing Spears.

There’s more we need to get to here but I need you to know that this section opening with “last week” immediately lodged this song into my brain and it has not come out since. None of this should be construed in any way as a complaint.

Moving on.

ET’s Cassie DiLaura pointed out that Spears also likes posting dance videos to Instagram, and the two should collaborate. “I’m here! I’m ready when you are. I’m waiting by the phone,” Black said, again addressing Spears.

I have been a fan of both Britney Spears and Tenacious D for north of two decades now and this is the first time in my entire life that I have considered the possibility of this collaboration. I… need it. I’m not joking. This isn’t me being cutesy about a fun news item. I want them to do an entire album together. All covers. Not just their own songs, either. Like, yes, get Jack Black in the sparkly nude bodysuit from the “Toxic” video, but also let them do, like, “Islands in the Stream.”

Someone. Someone, please. You can just put this into the universe and then take it away from me. Think about it.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR – Jennifer Coolidge is the best

jennifer coolidge
Getty Image

The Oscars are this weekend. You probably knew that. If not… well, surprise. But that’s not really the point here. The point here is all the stuff that goes along with the Oscars. Stuff like, for example, the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, an invite-only event co-chaired by Zendaya, Helen Hunt, and Annie Lennox, which itself would be an all-timer of a table to sit at for a wedding reception. But that’s not even really the point either.

The point is that the event was held at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood on Wednesday. Which is where Jennifer Coolidge happened to be staying the same night. So Jennifer Coolidge just, like, showed up. Even though she wasn’t on the invite list for the fancy event. Look at greatness in action.

“I am sort of an imposter here tonight,” the “White Lotus” star told the crowd. “I am just staying in the hotel. I didn’t know about this. I didn’t know it existed. I didn’t know how incredible [it is]. I got in on this in a sneaky little way. I just want you to know I am so impressed. And I am going to give some money tonight. I made great friends.”

So, as far as I can tell, one of two things happened here. Either someone working for the event noticed Jennifer Coolidge hanging around the hotel and was like “oh snap, let’s invite Jennifer Coolidge,” or Jennifer Coolidge saw some fancy Hollywood event going on and put on a nice dress and invited herself.

I can’t decide which one I like more. The second is definitely funnier — I really do like the idea of Jennifer Coolidge crashing events in the hotel she’s staying at, from fancy galas to bar mitzvahs — but the first is cool too because, like, you should invite Jennifer Coolidge to events. All of them. Let’s go ahead and consider this her official invitation to my birthday party. I don’t even have one scheduled yet. But she’s invited to whatever we settle on. I’m leaning toward… oh, let’s say Dave & Buster’s. I want to see her do one of those car-racing games. You guys can come, too, as long as you promise to be cool.

Anyway, now that I think about it all, the actual point in all of this is just that Jennifer Coolidge is the greatest. Everything else was just the build-up to that. Most things are, really. Good chat here.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Please be more stupid sometimes

What we have here is a very silly and half-baked little bit from Late Night where Andy Samberg showed up via Zoom and conducted an interview with Seth Meyers in character as Steve Winwood. “In character” is probably a stretch. He basically just put on a wig he found and did a C- impression of Steve Winwood singing some of his hits like “Higher Love.” It’s really just very slapped together and stupid and at one point he looks dead into the camera and says “It’s me! The real Steve Winwood!” and it made me laugh very much.

I don’t want to over-analyze the comedy right out of this but I will say one thing: I appreciate how stupid this is. A lot of late-night comedy is very political because, well, look around. But it’s also really nice that a big-time network show that just had the President on found time to throw something this silly against the wall, too. There’s room for that stuff. There has to be. Otherwise, we’ll all go bonkers. It’s a public service in a way, which is a hell of a thing to say about a dumb bit where Andy Samberg is unsure if the dude he’s impersonating is British or American. Whatever. I stand by it.

More like this, please.


If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me at (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.

From Eric:

I suggested to my wife that Maria’s Dad [from this season of The Bachelorette] should be in every movie. Drama, comedy, horror, don’t care.

Also, I feel like he must have been in a band with Bret Michaels.

Skim through til you get this guy, the producers using Godfather-like music underneath is chef’s kiss.

Okay, I was skeptical here. I am not a Bachelor or Bachelorette fan and I find a lot of the stuff there to be contrived and weird, which I know is not the high ground I should be trying to stake right after singing a love song to that Steve Winwood bit up there, but whatever. I’m happy for people who enjoy it and I mean no one any ill-will over how they get their harmless kicks, but yeah. Not for me.

But then I watched the video Eric sent with the email. Please skip ahead to about the 3:30 mark. Look at this man.

Three notes here:

  • Hair
  • Shirt
  • Voice

I love this man. He looks like if college football coach Mike Gundy had an older brother who was really into reptiles. That reference might be too specific for some of you but I promise it’s pretty good.


To France!

A man who took his dog out for a walk in France two years ago made an astounding discovery — one that he’s been keeping a secret, until now.

In 2022, Damien Boschetto stumbled upon a massive, 70 million-year-old fossil that turned out to be a nearly complete skeleton of a long-necked titanosaur, he told ABC News.

This is nice and all but I’m already annoyed that we’re not giving the dog the 50 percent credit he deserves here. He was there, too. It was his walk. Let’s not just gloss over that.

Boschetto — who has a “self-taught passion” for paleontology — discovered the exposed bone fossils, which led to the excavation of a 70% complete, 30-foot-long fossilized titanosaur.

“It happened one morning like any other, during an ordinary walk,” Boschetto told local FranceBleu in February. “While walking the dog, a landslide on the edge of the cliff exposed the bones of various skeletons.”




Boschetto, along with members of the Archaeological and Paleontological Cultural Association (ACAP) at the Cruzy Museum, kept the findings secret in order to protect the paleontological site while they excavated the massive skeleton.








Since his discovery two years ago, Boschetto said he’s left his job in the energy sector and now hopes to pursue a master’s degree in paleontology to continue his work in Cruzy.