What is “mutual admiration”?
When late “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek met Kenan Thompson, Trebek complimented him about “Black Jeopardy!” — Thompson’s “Saturday Night Live” parody of the long-running game show.
And, in turn, Thompson complimented him on being one of the most intelligent people on Earth.
The comedian told the story of meeting the late “Jeopardy!” legend on Thursday’s episode of “Hot Ones,” in which host Sean Evans asks celebrities questions as they consume increasingly spicy chicken wings.
For a recurring segment on the show called “Explain That Gram,” Evans pulled a photo from Thompson’s Instagram feed that “needs more context.” The picture showed Trebek and Thompson backstage together at the 2019 National Hockey League Awards.
“Was he aware of ‘Black Jeopardy!’?” Evans, 34, asked Thompson, referring to the recurring sketch, which first debuted in March 2014 and was created by “SNL” writers Bryan Tucker and Michael Che.
“That was the first thing he mentioned,” said Thompson, 42. “He actually said, ‘God bless you for figuring out a way to do a ‘Jeopardy!’ behind the legendary Will Ferrell ‘Jeopardy!’ ” — referring to the show’s “Celebrity Jeopardy!” sketch in which Ferrell plays Trebek. “You know, seems like anything Will Ferrell’s kind of, like, holy grail-ish, off-limits-ish, you know?”
In response, Thompson told Trebek he found him to be ridiculously intelligent.
“So he was patting me on the back about that, but I was patting him on the back for probably being one of the smartest people in the world because it seems like he knows the answer to all those ‘Jeopardy!’ questions,” Thompson went on. “He has a way of responding to each question like, ‘No, of course, it’s this and that and the other, because I read this book or I know about this historic town in Rome’ . . . He was incredible.”
When Thompson asked about Trebek’s health at the time, “he was saying he was feeling better, and fighting through.”
Trebek died at age 80 in November 2020 following a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Kenan Thompson (left) with Chadwick Boseman (far right), Leslie Jones (third from right) and Chris Redd in a “Saturday Night Live’s” 2018 “Black Jeopardy!” episode.NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images