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TELEVISION Who is John Presloid? Gay Jeopardy! champ makes waves
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-02-13

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Telegenic research assistant John Presloid opened eyes last month when he appeared on the game show Jeopardy!—and won $94,200 in five appearances.

However, he also garnered the attention of the LGBT community when he subtly indicated he's part of the demographic when show host Alex Trebek asked him if he wanted to wager all of his winnings on a particular answer. ( Presloid said, "My husband would kill me." )

Presloid recently talked with Windy City Times about fame, the game and plans for his winnings.

Windy City Times: What was something about the experience that you feel would surprise people?

John Presloid: Everyone seems astonished that we shoot so many episodes in one day. We shoot an entire week in one day. It's really hectic; you're definitely exhausted by the end of the day.

WCT: You had to keep this under your hat for how long?

JP: We taped just after Thanksgiving, so it was about two months. People knew that I was on there—they just couldn't know the results.

WCT: And this slice of fame [Presloid laughs]—what's it been like?

JP: It's been really weird. [Both laugh.] I didn't expect everything to blow up like this, going national and with the LGBT media. I know the fame won't last forever, though, but it's fun talking with people and basking in my 15 minutes. [Laughs]

WCT: You casually mentioned your husband. He got a good laugh from that?

JP: Oh, yeah. I mean he wouldn't have killed me. [Laughs] He said that was the only moment during my entire run that he wasn't having a heart attack.

WCT: And is he as good at trivia as you are?

JP: No, no. [Laughs] He jokes that when we go to bar trivia that he's happy just to get a couple questions.

WCT: I'm on a pub trivia team myself—and the worst thing is when you think of the right answer just after you've turned in your [responses].

JP: Yeah; you're, like, "Oh, crap!" [Laughs]

WCT: What's your advice for any aspiring Jeopardy! contestants?

JP: Definitely keep trying. My first audition was the week after my 18th birthday, and that was almost 20 years ago. This was my fourth in-person audition [after passing the online test]. I think 100,000 people tried out in 2018, and I think they took one or two thousand—and maybe 400 or 500 make it onto the show.

Going to the auditions desensitized me to the point that I wasn't super-nervous the last time I went. I was thinking, "It's going to happen or it's not." Last time, I walked away feeling really good; I knew what to look out for.

WCT: And what are your plans with your winnings?

JP: Well, first, you have to wait 120 days—so I won't get the money until May or June. I have no set plans, although I'd like to take a trip to somewhere like Italy or Australia—nothing too crazy. But, actually, for the past couple years, I've been looking into having kids through adoption or surrogacy, and that's pretty expensive—so I'll probably set aside a good chunk of the money into something like that.

Jeopardy! airs in Chicago at 3:30 p.m. weekdays on ABC.


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