Brad Rutter Talks ‘Jeopardy!’ Fans & ‘The Chase’ Season 2 Dynamic
Returning as a chaser alongside his fellow Jeopardy! alums Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer, the pals’ dynamic has been changed up by the addition of Chase legend Mark Labbett in Season 2, which recently returned for its midseason premiere this January.
“As we get more experience, we have even more fun with it,” Rutter tells TV Insider. “As great as the trivia is, we get better at messing around and making jokes and stuff like that too.” It’s certainly a reason to keep tuning in. Below, Rutter opens up about the dynamic with his fellow chasers, his signature style for the show, and thoughts on Jeopardy!‘s impressive string of Season 38 champions.
Season 2 is back! What has it been like welcoming seasoned Chaser Mark into the mix? There’s been some great banter between you all on the show and on social media.
It was mostly like sliding right back into a nice warm bath. That was pretty much the only thing from our perspective that changed. We did make a few tweaks to the gameplay, but that was basically the same. Obviously, Mark has been on more episodes of The Chase than anyone else around the world. So he fit right in and he likes to talk smack like the rest of us. So it was just like adding a fourth limb to the three-limbed [tree].
As the Chaser, you work against the competitors answering trivia questions. Is there ever an instance where you wish you weren’t in that position, that you could lose?
I’m always going for full out. However, with certain contestants who I end up liking, I do in the back of my mind start thinking, well, I would feel kind of bad to beat this person. I remember Elliot from Season 1, which it didn’t end up being an issue because he ended up beating me, but he was just so much fun that it would’ve seemed unfortunate to beat him, but I’m giving it all I have every time out there.
Has there ever been a time where you’ve been particularly surprised by certain questions or missed an answer?
Well, one that pops to mind is that since I’m starting to get into middle age, I have to work really hard to keep up with current pop music. And so I put a lot of effort into that. There was a question about Camila Cabello’s group before she went solo. I was like, “Oh God, I’ve heard this before. Ah, but I can’t remember it.” And, now I’ll never forget that it’s Fifth Harmony. And the woman I was playing against knew it right away.
On a less serious note, are bow ties your signature accessory for the game?
Yeah. I don’t really wear them too often in real life either. I do have a few and I’ll bust them out for like a summer wedding or something like that. But I was just thinking about different things I could do to maybe change it up a little bit on the show, and I suggested the bow ties. And then our showrunner was all over it. He was like, “That’s perfect. We’re doing it.” So, I’ve been wearing the bow ties on the show ever since.
View this post on Instagram
Are you being recognized more now for The Chase than you are for Jeopardy!?
It has increased actually. I used to get Jeopardy guy from time to time, and now I get like, “Oh, hey, Brad, love you on Jeopardy. And I love The Chase.” Which is really great to hear. You look at the ratings and you know people are watching, but it’s nice to get that feedback in real life.
Has your approach to The Chase changed between seasons?
Well, you mentioned Mark, and with all his experience, one thing he told the three of us was that slow and steady wins the race. Take your time. If you have to think about it for a couple of seconds to get the right answer, do it. And you’ll usually end up having enough time to go on a run if you need it towards the end of the two minutes. That was great advice. And, you can go faster by going slower. So that’s the new approach I’ve taken in the final chases.
Is it similar to the way you approached gameplay on Jeopardy!?
It is pretty similar, obviously, there’s no multiple choice on Jeopardy. But in the final case, actually, I think one of the reasons I did well on Jeopardy is just being able to tune everything out, except the question, and that helps a lot too on The Chase.
Speaking of Jeopardy!, has there been any smack talk about Ken pulling double duty with both shows? And have you been following Amy Schneider‘s big winning streak?
We didn’t really talk about it too much with Ken. He’s doing a great job, but I would’ve expected that. So I’m not too surprised. And I have watched Amy and obviously, she’s fantastic. It seems like we have super champions coming on every couple of months or so now, which has all the conspiracy theorists talking of course.
Somebody asked me about it the other day and the example I gave, which I’m not sure is great, was if you flip a coin a million times, you’d be surprised how many times it’ll come up heads 20 or 30 times in a row. It’s way more than you would expect. Even if they wanted to rig [the game], I don’t know how they could. This kind of stuff just happens. And I think we should just enjoy it while it’s happening.
The Chase, Wednesdays, 10/9c, ABC