Jeopardy! guest host Buzzy Cohen recalled the moment he and his fellow competitors goofed off with the late Alex Trebek during the 2017 Tournament of Champions in an interview the show released last week. Cohen and the other competitors performed a special dance during their introduction, inspiring Trebek to walk out on the stage while doing The Robot. Cohen is now hosing the 2021 Tournament of Champions, which continues through May 28.
During one of the 2017 tournament episodes, Austin Rogers, Alan Lin, and Cohen did a coordinated dance during their intros. They did not tell anyone about their plans, the 36-year-old Cohen said. However, Trebek joined in on the fun, walking out as a robot to start the show. "It was so special to have that moment for the four of us," Cohen said. "My God, it's contagious!" Trebek said after his dance. Cohen's interview also included a clip of Trebek calling the 2017 tournament one of the "most fun" tournaments the show has ever done.
In an emotional moment from the video, Cohen recalled telling Trebek he wanted to host the show someday. "I can't believe I got that shot," Cohen said. "I mean, how many people can say, 'This is a dream,' and that dream come true. And especially for the Tournament of Champions, which means so much to me." Cohen said he "loved every minute" of hosting Jeopardy! and was "honored" to be asked.
As for that special dance moment from 2017, after it aired, Cohen told Vulture it was Rogers' idea. When they were having lunch together during the tournament, Rogers wondered if it would be a fun idea to do something different during the intros. "I suggested that we should do the 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' thing," Cohen recalled. "And then Austin suggested we do a pop-lock robot and pass it down the line. We wanted to do something together because we were excited to play each other. Austin and I are also older than Alan, so we looked at him like... not like a little brother in a demeaning way, but affectionately. So we’re like, 'Let’s do this together.' He was on board for it, so that was great. If he hadn’t been cool with it, we wouldn’t have pushed it."
Trebek's robot walk was a total surprise for all three of them. In 2017, Cohen said Trebek is "much goofier" when the cameras are not rolling. "Even when I was on the show the first time, when I was brushing my shoulders off and slicking my hair back, he was doing it, too," Cohen told Vulture in 2017. "I had a feeling whatever we did, if it was recognizable for him, he would jump on board."
Cohen has earned praise for his tenure as Jeopardy! host, but he will soon be swapped out for a new celebrity host. Actress Mayim Bialik takes over on May 31. She will be followed by Today anchor Savannah Guthrie, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Good Morning America anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, actor LeVar Burton, CNBC's David Faber, and Fox Sports' Joe Buck.