"Today's contestants are an actor from Hoboken, New Jersey..." began the Jeopardy! introductions on February 16. Well, that actor from Hoboken is none other than Brad Weinstock, who currently plays Agrabah merchant Omar in the Broadway production of Aladdin.
When Weinstock, a self-professed obsessive fan of America's favorite quiz show, found out he'd been selected for the competition, he began drilling. He was taking flashcards to work—memorizing the presidents (in order), capitol cities, and sports teams. "I was like, 'I just hope and pray that I don't get a big Daily Double or a Final Jeopardy question that's about sports. Or as a nice Jewish boy, the New Testament," Weinstock told Playbill the day after his episode aired.
But he might have jinxed himself. The Final Jeopardy category was, indeed, "Sports." The clue read: "In 2010, they introduced the 4-point shot, 35 feet from the basket." Check out the clip above for the correct answer.
Weinstock was in second place going into Final Jeopardy with a healthy sum of $10,600, but he wasn't able to pull off the win against the previous day's champ Stephen Webb. "There's a picture that about 15 friends have sent to me of my face during the 30 seconds of the think music that is like, pure dismay," he says with a laugh. In the last few seconds Weinstock scribbled something down that was decidedly not sports-related.
He instead answered, with a good-natured shrug, "Who is Ina Garten?"
We had to ask...what was with that Ina Garten answer? Explains Weinstock: "They have you write down, like, a college essay-worth of anecdotes so they have a lot of stories for the host chit-chat section. And Ina Garten has always been my favorite chef. I have all of her cookbooks. I literally have a picture of her that sits in my kitchen watching over me as I cook. She kind of reminds me of my mom and some of my Jewish aunts a little bit. So one of my stories, if I had the good fortune to go on for a few more days, was going to be about my love for Ina Garten. Then I saw the Final Jeopardy and I knew I was losing, so that was my little hat tip."
Overall, Weinstock had a great bucket-list day at Jeopardy! with his boyfriend, his mother, and his aunt in attendance to cheer for him. As for future game plans, the quizmaster, (oh, did we mention he's also appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?) might like to pop into a pub trivia game—but only on a Monday night.
In the meantime, Weinstock is handling his loss in good humor, remarking, "I got the call that I was going to be on Jeopardy! while I was at a Titanic exhibition with one of my friends for their birthday. And I thought, 'This cannot be a great harbinger.'"
And as he points out, an earlier category in which he found a Daily Double was Disney Tag Lines, telling Playbill, "As the trivia gods giveth, so they taketh away."