Going on national television based on one’s intelligence is not the easiest thing, so when a Jeopardy! contestant makes a particularly juicy flub, there is sympathy imbued within our laughter. And when it comes to Kevin McGinty, there’s also some awe mixed in, as the recent contestant delivered a compact performance of epic proportions with the bungled response seen below. Warning: you may not be able to stop watching and repeating it for the rest of the day.
Hot Gun! Seriously, there have been some true characters that have graced the Jeopardy! stage over the years, from Arthur Chu to Ken Jennings, but I do believe the show needs to make a mascot out of Randolph, Vermont’s Kevin McGinty. Or at least make him an unofficial spirit animal or something.
For those who didn’t watch the clip, here’s how it played out. For the category “3 + 3,” in which each response would be two three-letter words, the clue was “A hired killer.” Now, you probably immediately thought of the correct answer, “hit man,” but you don’t have the pressure of Alex Trebek calling on you. McGinty did have that pressure, and when it hit him, he stalled out for a moment before offering “Hot Gun” as his answer. It was more of an announcement than an offering, really, since it was delivered with the confidence and gusto of Independence Day‘s big POTUS speech shot out of a cannon. Hot Gun! There’s “you fools” addendum that’s implied, rather than spoken outright.
What’s more, and this is where the video is essential viewing, it’s not solely what MicGinty’s says that makes the moment so epic. It’s a combination of everything. He eagerly buzzes in but loses track of where he was going, possibly thinking “hired gun” would be correct, and then falls back on a thinking stance that would have been welcomed alongside George Washington as he crossed the Potomac. And then even if the sorely misguided “Hot Gun!” would have been right in and of itself, McGinty’s barked answer didn’t even follow the normal Jeopardy! format of being asked as a question. We assume it’s because asking a question as dumb as “What is a Hot Gun?” would melt the set.
Alex didn’t even sound like he was having any fun in shooting down that response, either, plainly stating “No,” rather than chuckling himself into a ball on the ground. Sadly, Kevin McGinty didn’t end up winning the Jeopardy! episode, but we’re hoping he gets a (hot gun) shot at redemption one day.