Alex Trebek has been a staple in American popular culture for decades now. The Canadian-born game show host was tapped to host the relaunch of the Merv Griffin-created Jeopardy! in 1984, and remained the host until he passed away over the weekend, with his final episode expected to air on Christmas Day 2020. Along the way, as Jeopardy! became a staple on TV and something that literally every American had heard of, Trebek became a household name, and (as is wont to happen when you're famous on TV) was called upon frequently to show up, usually as himself, in other people's TV shows and movies.
Trebek's amiable, smart persona also lent itself to parodies that reinvented him as a cruel, deceptive, dumb, or otherwise un-Trebek-like personality. And, of course, people who couldn't get the rights to Jeopardy! had to make him the host of something else entirely.
It's particularly funny to see the ways that his persona evolved over the years, with a lot of his '80s appearances being more straightforward than later ones, which seemed to trade pretty heavily on the Alex Trebek personality, either playing it straight or putting him in wild scenarios.
You can see a breakdown of some of our favorite Alex Trebek moments from over the years below.
Did we miss one that you loved? Let us know in the comments whether there's a better choice that should have made the list and maybe we'll add it!
Relatively early in the life of the Jeopardy! revival, the acclaimed comedy Cheers sent Cliff Clavin to Jeopardy!. The loudmouthed know-it-all from the bar didn't fare well on the show, as you might expect, even though Trebek did his best to keep him from making a fool of himself.prevnext
Saturday Night Live
Of course, Trebek was a fan-favorite recurring character on Saturday Night Live, making it an obvious fit for him to eventually show up (for real) to confront the SNL version of himself.prevnext
How I Met Your Mother
If you remember the period of time when this was made, there was a post-writers' strike resurgence in game show popularity, and some of them got to the point where they were downright absurd. This is obviously a hyper-exaggeration of the environment at the time, but in the moment, it felt like it was only too real.prevnext
This is essentially the same joke three times in a row, but it improves each time, and Trebek's fist pump at the end is exactly what it needs to punctuate it. And, yes, there are more of these bits (without the Trebek cameo in person) if you want to search around on YouTube.prevnext
Thank you, Alex Trebek. Elwood City misses you already ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Dow9oLvFq1— Arthur Read (@arthurpbs) November 8, 2020
One of my favorite Baywatch plots is when Alex rescues Alex Trebek and is disqualified from Jeopardy! as a result pic.twitter.com/wrPkM5K9Sc— dhm (@dhm) November 9, 2020
Hot in Cleveland
This one has a very Threat Level Midnight energy, especially when he spikes the lens...!prevnext
"Kebert Xela" was something he was tricked into saying on Family Guy, and it made him disappear into the Fifth Dimension a la Mr. Mxyzptlk.
And this is especially fun because people (of course) brought it into the real world later.prev