She has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario and sat second chair at the Supreme Court of Canada, but now Sarah Shody can add the coveted role of Jeopardy contestant to her list of accomplishments.
Shody, an associate at Torys LLP in Toronto, appeared on the popular game show last night and says courtrooms remain much more daunting than the studio lights and cryptic clues in the form of answers posed by the game show’s Canadian-born host, Alex Trebek.
“Playing Jeopardy is actually really fun,” says Shody from her Toronto office this morning. “No one is going to start rolling their eyes at your submissions and start sparking questions at you.”
After years of being a fan of the show, Shody, who primarily handles securities and corporate commercial litigation files, scored a spot on the show in February that aired last night.
To celebrate, she got together with friends at a downtown pub to watch the show.
“It’s kind of an awkward feeling, actually,” says Shody, who watched from the Fox on Bay with about 40 of her friends. “You kind of sit there and cringe all over again about all the things you were out-buzzed on.”
To get the appearance on Jeopardy, Shody secured a spot to do an online test last year.
“It asks you questions that you have to answer really quickly in about five seconds so you can’t Google the answers. Based on that, you get a call back to do an audition in person. They had auditions in person in Toronto last summer where you do a mock game. Following that, they called me to be on the show,” she says.
Shody faced a number of questions involving Cole Porter, James Polk, and German cities but buzzed in for the right answer regarding the song Oops! I Did it Again with: “Who is Britney Spears?”
“I told everyone before I left if there were lots of questions about pop culture I would be awesome at it because I probably read too many celebrity gossip blogs,” she says.
Apart from celebrity gossip, Shody’s preparation included “reading a lot of Wikipedia pages.” She also borrowed some textbooks on American history from her brother, a high school teacher.
“I don’t know if it actually came in handy but it was good to learn some of those things because I’m not great on presidents,” she says.
“For some of the questions, it wasn’t that I didn’t know the answers; it’s that I couldn’t buzz in on time.”
Five minutes into the show on Monday night, Shody was leading with $2,800 after nailing a question about a constellation.
During final jeopardy, she managed to take an initial lead on a question about Nobel-prize winning authors that asked: “Due to injuries suffered from two plane crashes in Africa, he was unable to accept his 1954 Nobel prize in person.”
Answer: “Who is Ernest Hemingway?”
“I’m great with literature questions,” says Shody.
Shody had wagered $9,000 for that question, which put her in the lead with $19,800. Unfortunately, an opponent also got the answer right and had wagered $3,000 to put her over the top at $22,000 for the win. In the end, Shody managed to beat out fellow contestant Bob Kochersberger, a journalism professor from North Carolina, and she walked away with $2,000.
“I was kind of upset that I lost. I wanted to keep playing because it was a lot of fun,” she says.
During the show Trebek chatted with the contestants about their personal hobbies and asked Shody about her husband’s home-brewing adventures. In fact, when her husband found out Shody was going to be on Jeopardy, he made a Belgian beer called a Daily Dubbel.
“Trebek was great. He came and talked to me before the show, too, I think because I was from Canada. He was really friendly.”
Would she want to be on the show again? Absolutely.
“I think the only way to do that is if there is a new host, though,” she says.