Austin Rogers may have wrapped up his run, but not before making his mark on Jeopardy! history. He now holds the record for both the third and fifth highest single game winnings ($69,000 and $65,600), the fifth highest total in regular season winnings ($411,000), and the fifth most consecutive games won.
“I mean, it feels awesome,” Austin said. “Fifth all time in the 34-whatever year history of the show? That’s rad.”
What do Austin’s family and friends think of his whirlwind success? In a nutshell: It’s about time.
“The universal reaction was ‘took you long enough – you’re designed for this game,’” Austin said. Longtime friend Dan Fehr attests, “I think we always knew if Austin got on, he was going to crush it, and he proved all of us right.”
A self-described “lovable rogue,” Austin entertained viewers with his range of pantomimes and comedic timing. Even after 13 games, he’s still itching to take on more categories:
“I was hoping for one on Bob Dylan,” Austin said. “I would’ve crushed that ... I’d also destroy a round on NYC or almost anything about classical music other than Italian opera because it’s boring and I don’t care for it.”
It didn’t take long for the bartender to capture the attention of the internet, inspiring countless memes and impassioned posts on his elaborate gestures and hefty bets – including a congratulatory tweet from “The Tonight Show”’s Jimmy Fallon. The media also took notice, from digital sites such as BuzzFeed and Vulture to traditional news outlets like The Washington Post and Today.com – he even got an invite from “Good Morning America.”
He also wasn’t intimidated by Alex Trebek. Their fun, sometimes contentious exchanges were a major highlight for fans, but there was no bad blood behind the jests. “Mr. Trebek is a consummate professional,” Austin said. “Everyone’s always like, ‘How was he?’ He’s there to do a job and he’s really freaking great at it.”
And the feeling is mutual. “Austin was outside the box,” said Alex, “completely different from what many viewers expect a Jeopardy! contestant to be. He was fun to be with, and slightly irreverent.”
Though Austin’s streak has come to an end, there is a bright side: He gets to claim his $411,000. But with all that winning, he hasn’t had much time to think about what to do with the cash.
“I honestly haven’t thought too hard about it,” Austin said. “Not because I don’t want to think about it, but because the amount of money means I’ve got bigger concerns. I’m lucky to have a bunch of very rich friends who will refer me to a proper tax attorney.”
So for now, it’s back to the bar for Austin. But before he goes, we need to ask him the one question only he can answer: What would he serve up as the Jeopardy! drink? “It would be a pint of Guinness with a shot of Tullamore Dew (Irish whiskey), and there’s no arguing.”
Miss Austin already? He’ll play again in the Tournament of Champions, airing November 6 to 17, where he’ll go head to head with the top winners of the last two seasons. Stay tuned, and get out the popcorn.