Jeopardy contestant Austin Rogers exploded in viral popularity this week, not just because of his incredible winning streak ($278,300 in seven days, and counting) but for his, uh, shall we say quirky demeanor, which has been compared to everyone from Zach Galifianakis to a Wes Anderson character.
The New York City-based bartender stopped by Good Morning America on Thursday morning to talk about his newfound fame and game show success, albeit with sadly tamed down hair and beard. Incredibly — but not all that surprisingly, given all we’ve come to know of him — Rogers revealed that he doesn’t even own a television. When asked how he managed to prep for the game sans TV, Rogers spilled his secret which will probably have Jeopardy execs scrambling.
“I found ways to watch hundreds upon hundreds of episodes. I’m not gonna say there’s a system or a code, but if you watch enough, you’ll start to see things repeat,” he admitted. “Like if it ever says sculptor, it’s probably going to be Auguste Rodin. If it ever says American sculptor, it’ll probably be Alexander Calder. If it ever says Romanian poet, it’ll be Eminescu. I have no idea who Eminescu is, but I’ve seen that come up three times in episodes across the decades.”
Okay, now that does make sense, but you also have to assume Rogers has got a little Rain Man in him to remember all that, for good measure. When asked about his unique personality, he cracked that most contestants are “nerds,” and brushed off speculation that he might replace Alex Trebek, sort of. “No comment … [laughing] No I’m just saying that in a tongue-in-cheek way but seriously no comment.” Trebek better watch his back.