Awakening to the news here in 🇦🇺that #AlexTrebek has left the building

So glad to read it was peaceful with his family, to whom I send deep condolences

I'll post some memories of our interactions, because people asked me often what he was really like

Here's a pic, story below Image
That pic is from the "Jeopardy Wedding," where my friends Dan Melia and Dara Hellman wanted to get married on the #Jeopardy set

There's a short and very sweet clip here

Dan was the winner of the 1998 Tournament of Champions, where he beat me soundly, given he'd actually read all the books whose titles I'd merely memorised for the show

But we became good friends, and after a day of taping another tournament, years later, Dan & Dara had an idea
We were laughing at dinner and they told me they were getting married, and then it was, insanely, "hey, let's do in on the @Jeopardy set — and Bob, you can officiate!"

I said sure, because yeah, I'd be honoured, but also that was never gonna happen
Fast forward a few months, and after a long day of taping, the *entire #jeopardy crew* stayed late, and Dan and Dara had the wedding of their most lighthearted dreams
The game board was set up with categories something like (this isn't accurate, but close)

"I" DO
Dan and Dara stood at the center podium, with the Best Man at the left podium and the Matron of Honor on the right

And the vows were done in the form of questions
I don't recall for sure if Johnny Gilbert introduced me when it was time to start. I'm pretty sure he did

I came out from backstage, hit Alex's mark—it will ALWAYS be Alex's mark, no matter who hosts in the future—and began to officiate a wedding for the first time in my life
I'd done stand-up and other shows 100s of times, and I'd been on that set maybe a dozen times before, but I was SO nervous — this was my friends' wedding! Plus, y'know, um, the whole #jeopardy thing going on

And just as I was about to speak, I spotted Alex
He was to my right, offstage, on the far side of the game board

And he was watching with this delighted, fatherly smile

And if you knew #AlexTrebek or if you were just a fan, you know EXACTLY what that smile looked like

And you know exactly why it felt so reassuring
So, I turned to the friends, family, assorted loved ones, and the entire #Jeopardy crew

(this Venn diagram overlaps greatly)

and welcomed them to this lovely little chapel — because that's what it was right then, truly
Dan started out with control of the board, rang in — yes, we actually used the buzzers — and the clue was something like


Dan gave a correct response
But then Dara seized control of the board, and she rang in

The clue was pretty similar

And she gave a correct response, too
Pretty soon came my very favorite moment in the many, many times I was on or around that stage

I got to stand at #AlexTrebek's podium, and tell two good friends that I could now pronounce them husband and wife
I glanced over at Alex, and he was looking at them with a mix of joy, a sort of gentle, affectionate bemusement (again, you know what that looked like), and a clear happiness that this whole thing came together
It's that moment — the way was just beaming at Dan and Dara — that I'll remember #AlexTrebek for
A few minutes later, Alex came over to his podium and used it to sign the wedding certificate as Dan and Dara's official witness

You should have seen how delighted he was to do that
If you're a #Jeopardy fan or just know #AlexTrebek from pop culture, I want you to take a moment to consider the generosity required to host that show

It's a lot more than I think most people realize
Once the game starts, the players are in charge of the show, not the host, who is really half traffic cop, half waitstaff: "I'll have WWII for $1600," etc, over and over

Amid all that, watch sometime just to count how many times #AlexTrebek encouraged people in an episode
It's not all in the words. Listen to Alex's tone of voice with right and wrong responses, clue after clue after clue.

Encouraging, nearly always

5 episodes every taping day
Twice a week
For 35+ years

I think that's part of what millions of viewers sensed without realizing
People have asked me since 1997, when I was first on the show, what #AlexTrebek is really like

That answer would change, of course, in 23 years, as everyone grows
I used to say he's surprisingly funny off-camera
I came to add that he really actually did know an awful lot of the answers but was humble about it
When I wrote a book about the show, I learned how trusting he was, letting me use his name in the title, asking only "is it funny?"
I could go on about #AlexTrebek's charity work, his donations to education, etc
I could point out that in 57 years in the public eye, no great scandal, no controversy, and how many of us could do that

Ultimately, though, only his family could really tell you who he *really* was
To #AlexTrebek's family, deep condolences for your loss.

Somebody wise once said that grief is just love that no longer has its normal place to go, and feels lost. Thinking about that has always helped me through my own losses.
To everyone else who loves #Jeopardy + what #AlexTrebek brought into our living rooms, I can only share the Alex I saw

My fondest memory, of so many, was the day he gave up his podium so two sweet people could vow eternal love
Alex smiled exactly the way you imagine

generous and gracious as always

I'll miss you, my friend

As will so many millions of others

Thank you for so many great memories ❤️

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