Wednesday night’s Jeopardy! College Championship veered away from its usual family-friendly entertainment when a contestant decided to give host Alex Trebek the finger for a full seven seconds, an action that censors all over the country missed and was televised completely uncensored — because he manged to use the gesture as part of an answer.
We all know that Trebek can be pretentious, a bit smug and an overall know-it-all and Stanford undergrad Viraj Mehta, a math and computer science major, had had enough. Mehta did what most of us have wanted to do at one stage or another and took his opportunity to slyly flip off a gameshow host on television while describing how he eats pizza, of all things.
During the Small Talk portion of the show, Mehta got on a roll while discussing a theorem in differential geometry, concluding “that explains really, well, why, if you fold a slice of pizza, the tip stays in the air so you can eat it easily.” But Mehta had turned possibly the nerdiest conversation about the consumption of pizza into possibly the coolest with his extremely discrete gesticulation.
So subtle was the gesture that Trebek himself didn’t even notice and proceeded to insinuate that Mehta’s theorem wasn’t that reliable and replied in a patronizing tone that the result was probably more reliant on a “thick crust.” Trebek may not have realized what had just happened, but Twitter certainly did and Mehta didn’t take long to confirm that his actions were indeed intentional.
@CharlesConoly damn right I did
— Viraj Mehta (@thebigmehtaphor) February 21, 2017
Mehta went on to win that episode of Jeopardy! and has advanced to the final of the championship series in the most glorious manner possible, where he stands to win $100,000. According to the Stanford Daily, the Texas native had always aspired to be a contestant on the show, but was this his real motive?
“I’ve been watching ‘Jeopardy!’ since I was as little as I can remember,” Mehta said. “I knew that I was never going to be a professional football player, but I always figured that I am pretty good at trivia. I know a lot of random stuff.” That and the fact there was the chance to do this:
— Charles (@CharlesConoly) February 21, 2017