GREEN BAY – The first of Aaron Rodgers’ two weeks as the guest host of “Jeopardy!” raised $117,725 for the North Valley Community Foundation.
Prior to Rodgers’ first episode behind the show’s iconic lecturn, the Packers’ MVP quarterback and NVCF announced “Jeopardy!” was matching the winnings of all contestants and donating it to Rodgers’ small-business COVID-19 fund.
The NVCF, based in Rodgers’ hometown of Chico, Calif., is a non-profit organization raising money for individuals and small businesses affected by the California wildfires and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” smiled Rodgers as he signed off for the week.
Here are a few quick highlights of Rodgers’ first five appearances as “Jeopardy!” guest host…
Settling right in: Rodgers said he performed his due diligence while preparing for his 10-episode residency.
That was evident during his debut last Monday, from how Rodgers introduced the show to allowing his personality to show when he snuck in a quick Larry David impersonation while responding to an answer regarding “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Not unlike on the football field, the defining moment of Rodgers’ inaugural performance as “Jeopardy!” guest host on Monday came down to the final minutes.
However, it was Rodgers’ reply to returning champion Scott Shewfelt’s “Final Jeopardy!” answer that made waves last week.
Shewfelt, outpaced by eventual winner Brandon Deutsch, chose to write, “Who wanted to kick that field goal?” as his response to the clue: Accepting a lifetime achievement Emmy he said, “Just take … 10 seconds to think of the people who helped you become who you are.”
Rodgers took the moment in stride, laughing off the reference to the end of January’s NFC Championship Game. Later that night, Rodgers performed a quick Q&A session over Instagram Live with fiancé, Shailene Woodley, in which he mentioned how he watched more than 100 hours of “Jeopardy!” to prepare.
Deutsch’s victory earned $26,224 for NVCF.
A quick callback and shout-out: Rodgers had some fun with fellow Cal-Berkeley alum Deutsch while the MVP quarterback was chatting with the reigning champion early in Tuesday’s episode.
“It says here when you were four months old (when) Burt Reynolds — or was it Turd Ferguson? — was holding you at some point?” Rodgers asked.
Turd Ferguson has gained a cult following among “Saturday Night Live” fans since comedian Norm Macdonald began impersonating Burt Reynolds in a series of “Celebrity Jeopardy!” sketches in the late-’90s. The name is a pseudonym the MacDonald-acted Reynolds writes on his prompter to the chagrin of Trebek, portrayed by comedian Will Ferrell.
Rodgers referenced the cult-classic moment during his own 2015 appearance on “Celebrity Jeopardy!” when he wrote down “Who is Turd Ferguson?” during “Final Jeopardy!” rehearsals.
The actual story, as Deutsch tells it, is he sat next to the actual Burt Reynolds on a flight when he was just an infant.
Rodgers also used his opening monologue to subtly pay tribute to Brett Favre when talking about what it meant to him to step in for the late Alex Trebek as the host of the show.
“Following in the footsteps of a legend is something that I know a little bit about,” said Rodgers, Favre’s backup for three seasons. “And I learned the best way to honor their legacy is to put in the work and deliver at the highest level. So, over the next two weeks, I hope I can make Alex proud.”
Deutsch successfully defended his title, earning another $27,401 from Tuesday’s episode for NVCF.
Always prepared: Prior to Rodgers’ Wednesday appearance, “Jeopardy!” posted a tweet to its social media account outlining the quarterback’s pre-show routine.
Taking a few cues from his football career, Rodgers would change suits before each episode, study his “playbook” of the show rundown and “review the competition” of upcoming contestants.
After taking “a few breaths,” Rodgers stepped on set for another episode.