Wanted: Someone pure enough to host 'Jeopardy!' And, Trevor Noah NYT ad is funny.

By Gary Abernathy

‘Jeopardy!’ struggles with finding an emcee free of sin

Various stories in the media have been focusing on the search for the replacement for the late Alex Trebek on “Jeopardy!” (The exclamation point is apparently part of the official trademarked title.) As everyone knows, because it’s so important, the search has been complicated by the fact that all the candidates are human beings.

The Washington Post reported that actress Mayim Bialik “was tapped on Aug. 11 as the host for the show’s prime-time specials and spinoffs alongside executive producer Mike Richards as the daily syndicated host. When Richards was forced to step down days later after the revelation of his offensive comments on his former podcast, Sony Pictures Television announced that Bialik would fill in and film 15 episodes this week as executives continue their search for a permanent host.”

Why was Mike Richards forced to step down? The New York Times reported that “Richards lost his gig…  and was forced to apologize after it was revealed he made sexist and crude jokes on a podcast several years ago in which he mocked women’s appearances, unemployed workers and the size of Jewish noses.”

The podcasts in question were apparently from 2013 and 2014. The wording that Richards “was forced to apologize” is perhaps more opinion than fact. Who forced him? Maybe he just apologized. Maybe he is sincerely sorry for his offensive comments.

But we’re in a day and age where apologies are never enough. Never. We must cancel. We must end careers.

So who’s next for public ruination? We already know who’s next. It’s Mayim Bialik.

As the Post reported, “Now that Bialik is officially embedded in a legendary television institution, ‘Jeopardy!’ fans and social media users are digging into her past.”

I laughed out loud. Now that Bialik has been chosen as a game show host, everyone is “digging into her past?” Why? Because our game show hosts must be pure. They must be beyond reproach. Why, being a game show host is just one heartbeat away from being… what?… host of “The Tonight Show?” Emcee of “The People’s Choice Awards?”

Yes, when I think of the people who inspired all of us to better lives, I don’t think of presidents, or literary giants, or leaders of commerce and industry. I think of Allen Ludden, Peter Marshall, Gene Rayburn, Bill Cullen and — above and beyond all others — Bob Eubanks and Jim Lange, whose character-building examples as hosts of “The Newlywed Game” and “The Dating Game” were inspirational to all of us who grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s. I know that when we wrote high school essays on the people who inspired us the most, the hosts of “Password,” “Match Game,” “Hollywood Squares” and others were always at the top of everyone’s lists. But giants like those have faded into history.

Seriously, some of those game show hosts really were pretty good people, humanitarians in some cases, overcoming personal or physical challenges in other cases. But today we’d find something to disqualify every one of them.

Mayim Bialik’s big crime is that, as not only an actress but a nueroscientist — no kidding, that’s the truth — she hasn’t exactly been on the frontlines of cheerleading vaccines in general. And that’s an unforgivable sin in an age where many members of the media have done an about face from the days when they prided themselves on challenging the government and standing up to its leaders instead of carrying the government’s water on all things health-related, and ridiculing anyone who doesn’t.

So for the sin of not enthusiastically singing the praises of vaccines — and, reminder, I’ve been fully vaccinated against covid, so this isn’t coming from an anti-vaxxer — Bialik is being scrutinized to see whether she is pure enough to host a game show.

Bialik says she has received the covid vaccine, so the covid vaccine watchdogs can stand down. But among her other transgressions, as reported in the Post story: “Her 2017 New York Times op-ed about disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein that was criticized for victim-blaming, or her book that promoted the hotly debated attachment parenting philosophy (‘Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way’).” Oh, and she’s also being scrutinized for an infomercial in which she hawks Neuriva, a supplement claiming it can improve brain health. That last one seems to me to be a perfect resume-builder for a “Jeopardy!” host.

What the producers of “Jeopardy!” will probably do is cave to the pressure, dump Bialik, and reopen a search for someone who, hopefully, has said and done nothing controversial, quote-worthy or even mildly interesting in their whole lives. What they should do instead is say, “Hey, nobody’s perfect, and we’re sticking with Mayim Bialik, so get over it.” And they should use their trademarked exclamation point on that.

I have to admit, Trevor Noah NYT ad is pretty funny

I’m generally not a fan of late-night comic Trevor Noah, but this fake ad that Comedy Central bought in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times a few days ago was pretty funny.

Hey, even if you think the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was some kind of a patriotic mission to “stop the steal” instead of agreeing with me that it was one of the most embarrassing anti-democracy moments in our history, you still need your sense of humor, right? I particularly liked the offer to fight charges like:

“First-degree normal tourist activity.”

“Stuff you admitted to in a Facebook post for some reason.”

I also liked their tagline, “Because your only crime was listening to the president. Also felony assault.”

Calling the number on the ad takes you to a pretty funny message, too… and make sure to stay on the line even when it goes quiet for a few seconds.

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