‘Jeopardy!’ Super-Champ Ray Lalonde Reveals Ken Jennings Secret, Slams Amy Schneider Trolls

Ray Lalonde on Jeopardy!
Jeopardy, Inc

Jeopardy!‘s latest super-champ, Ray Lalonde, who recently won 13 games in a row and $386,000, is not letting last Tuesday’s (January 2) loss bring him down, as he opens up about his experience on the show, meeting Ken Jennings, and dealing with Twitter trolls.

The scenic artist from Toronto, Canada, spoke with Toronto Life about his Jeopardy! journey, where he revealed he was “having too much fun taking it one game at a time” to be heartbroken by his loss. He also said buzzer management is what cost him the game more so than the difficulty of the questions.

“I think everybody on stage knows the answers to most of the questions, so it is really an issue of how quickly you can come up with them and hit the buzzer,” Lalonde explained. “They actually coach you on the buzzer during the practice round. There is a light beside the board that turns on when the question is finished. If you buzz before it goes on, you’re locked out for a half-second, which can make all the difference.”

As for the questions themselves, Lalonde said he felt he had a bit of an advantage due to being a “little older” and having “more lived experience”.

He also shared what it’s like being in the presence of host Ken Jennings, admitting that the Jeopardy! G.O.A.T. isn’t around the contestants as much as fans might think.

“You don’t actually get to see Ken a lot,” Lalonde stated. “There are a lot of systems in place to make sure that the game can’t be rigged in any way, and one of them is that the host isn’t around the contestants. They have a game show cop on set who draws the names for who’s going to play and what the categories… It’s very randomized.”

Lalonde earned plenty of fans during his time on the show; one woman even referred to him as Canada’s Fred Rogers. “That’s very kind. I do try to be a nice guy,” Lalonde said. He also won over some famous fans, including fellow super-champ Matt Amodio and Glass Onion director Rian Johnson.

“I saw that Jeopardy! champ Matt Amodio said some nice things, and Rian Johnson, who was a category on the show, said he was a fan. I’m a fan of his, so that was cool,” he said.

One person he isn’t sure watched is The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood; Lalonde worked in the art department for the TV adaptation. “I’ve seen her and said hello at the wrap parties,” he shared before saying that he’s had lot “a lot of emails from people who I work with.”

However, there were also Twitter trolls who criticized Lalonde for his habit of swaying behind the podium. “I was a little annoyed because I have an issue with my spine and back,” Lalonde said. “It’s called radicular neuropathy. I’ve lost some of the use of my left hand, and my legs don’t work like they used to.”

Lalonde isn’t the first Jeopardy! contestant to receive trollish comments. Fellow Canadian super-champ Mattea Roach received hateful remarks about her hand gestures and teeth, while Tournament of Champions winner Amy Schneider had to deal with transphobic comments.

“The things people said about Amy Schneider were just horrible,” Lalonde told the publication.

Lalonde will return to the podium for the next Tournament of Champions.

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