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‘Watching Ike Barinholtz beating normie nerds is healing something within me’: How Ike Barinholtz became the first celebrity to compete in the ‘Jeopardy’ Tournament of Champions

No, not 'Celebrity Jeopardy,' just regular 'Jeopardy.'


Allie Hayes

Pop Culture

Posted on Mar 8, 2024   Updated on Mar 8, 2024, 1:22 pm CST

In case you haven’t been watching Jeopardy this week, producer/writer/actor Ike Barinholtz has been competing on Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions—and no, it’s not a celebrity episode. In fact, he’s the first celebrity to partake in the series outside of the celebrity edition ever.

So, how did Ike Barinholtz make it to Jeopardy?

After winning over $1,000,000 for charity on Celebrity Jeopardy back in 2023, Ike became the first ever Tournament of Champions contestant in the show’s history to originate from the celebrity episodes.

However, the real entertainment came when Ike came face to face with real, hardcore Jeopardy contestants outside of the celeb-o-sphere and continued to hold his own, given that any assumed the actor would quickly depart the tournament, given the countless jokes about how simple Celebrity Jeopardy tends to be (just look at all of those infamous Saturday Night Live skits).

In Body Image
via @ikebarinholtz/Instagram

Ike himself even said as much while appearing on Celebrity Jeopardy, telling host Ken Jennings, “People were giving me a lot of well wishes, and a lot of them were tinged with the tone of ‘I thought you were dumb?’ I am, full disclosure, but it was wonderful.”

Ike spoke to Vulture this week and explained how his career of playing dim-witted characters may have actually worked in his favor, saying, “Some of my most beloved characters are Morgan on The Mindy Project and Jimmy in Neighbors. They were real dummies. I think that was the bias.”

The actor made it through the tournament, all the way up to this week’s semi-finals match-up, beating out several Jeopardy contestant mainstays along the way to stake out his spot in the finals.

ike barinholtz jeopardy
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

However, as of Thursday, the fan favorite has been eliminated from the tournament after he and contestant Jared Watson lost to Ben Chan—who, to be fair, has been on a nine game winning streak.

Still, pretty darn impressive on Ike’s part, all things considered! He even beat Jeopardy favorite and 13-time champion, Ray Lalonde.

But this loss didn’t stop viewers from being thoroughly entertained by Ike’s unique presence on the program, with many taking to X to express their love of the celebrity:

I vote we always throw a celebrity into the regular version of Jeopardy, just to spice things up.

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*First Published: Mar 8, 2024, 12:14 pm CST