Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer had fans laughing on Twitter once again this week when he teased Brad Rutter. Holzhauer has made himself an Internet sensation, both through his success on Jeopardy! and his sardonic online persona. This week, as the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament got underway, he took that one step further.
Holzhauer faced off with Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in Day 1 of the tournament, which began on Tuesday. As the three previous champions took their places behind the podium, the energy was high, and Holzhauer broke the show's typical serious sensibility by mocking his opponent.
It came early in the show when both Holzhauer and Rutter buzzed in on the same question. Holzhauer hit the button a split second sooner, and when he did, he paused, pointed and laughed at Rutter before giving the correct answer.
"You don't need to rub it in!" said Rutter, laughing and gesturing. The audience laughed as well, and even Holzhauer cracked a smile.
The brief moment became the stand-alone viral moment of the night, with fans sharing an 8-second clip of it on Twitter. Many thought this was a perfect example of Holzhauer's charm, which boosted the popularity of Jeopardy during his historic winning streak last year.
"God, I love James Holzhauer, this is how you gotta act on this show," one fan tweeted.
"Wow! [Ken Jennings], [Brad Rutter] and [James Holzhauer] are making [Jeopardy] look like an action sport!" added another.
"End the tourney now. He's the GOAT," proclaimed a third fan.
The tournament will go on for a while, and it is set up different from a normal Jeopardy! system. Here, Jennings, Rutter and Holzhauer are playing for points rather than cash, and they get multiple episodes to accrue as many points as possible.
The trio faces off in back-to-back episodes, 30 minutes each. Their points from these two episodes are combined, and the person with the most wins the "match." The first person to win three matches will be named the tournament champion, and the greatest Jeopardy! player of all time.
Jennings ultimately won the first night of the competition, but not by much. He and Holzhauer were practically neck-and-neck the entire time, with Rutter hot on their heels. Jennings won the first episode and Holzhauer the second, but Jennings' combined score was still higher, so the night went to him.
Jeopardy! airs on week nights at 7 p.m. ET.