Apr 3, 2014
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A Richmond resident was a contestant on Jeopardy! Wednesday night, an episode that garnered media attention for an uncomfortable exchange between host Alex Trebek and another contestant.

Larissa Kelley, who reportedly has the highest total winnings on Jeopardy! by a female player in non-tournament play, returned to compete in a Battle of the Decades episode.

In a promotional video for the show, she identified herself as an editor from Richmond who graduated several years ago from UC Berkeley with a Ph.D in Latin American history. She said she and her husband recently bought a house in Richmond.

Although Kelley did not win Wednesday, she got a front-and-center view of an awkward moment between Alex Trebek and another contestant.

During Trebek’s typical banter with guests, he asked contestant Tom Kavanaugh about a documentary he was working on. Kavanaugh said the documentary is about sweatshop labor and was inspired from his tour of a garment factory in Bangladesh. That was all good and tame. But then Kavanaugh suddenly dissed Trebek.

“Maybe you can find out the names of the 8-year-olds who made your fancy suit there, Alex,” Kavanaugh said, evoking shock in the audience.

Trebek, seemingly stunned, reached out to Kelley for a lifeline.

“Larissa, give him a shot,” Trebek joked.

Kelley’s on-air discussion with Trebek was far tamer. She told Trebek that she and her husband edit questions for academic competitions.

“Are you trying to set yourself up as a rival for ‘Jeopardy!’ down the road?” Trebek said. “Are you going to take away our audience?”

“I’m coming for you, Alex,” Kelley joked.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.