Answer: What is the worst time to finally make it on Jeopardy!?People have been telling Megan McLeod she should be on the long-running game show since her Reach for the Top days at Nepean High School. She didn’t know she would be competing against “maybe the best player who has ever played the game.”In an episode that was shot in February but aired Monday, McLeod went up against streaking pro sports gambler James Holzhauer who has a take-no-prisoners style of play honed by rigorous training. Holzhauer mines the bottom of the board for the most valuable clues, switching from category to category to unearth the Daily Double clues that let players wager their winnings. Then he bets it all.“You can tell by my face — I was in shock,” McLeod, 41, said Wednesday at the ByTowne Cinema, where she’s general manager.“I guess I’m part of Jeopardy! history — just not for the reason I hoped.”McLeod finished third with $1,000 to second place finisher Kevin Bohannon, a Michigan cell biologist, who won $2,000. Holzhauer crushed them both, winning more than $45,000 in that game. Going into Thursday’s episode, he’s won nearly $567,000 in just nine games. He’s now behind only Ken Jennings for total prize money, who amassed more than $2.5 million in 74 straight victories.
James Holzhauer, the 34-year-old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas, won more than $110,000 on “Jeopardy!”, breaking the record for single-day cash winnings.
McLeod’s Jeopardy! experience may have been over in 30 minutes but the lightning visit to sunny Los Angeles was still a positive experience overall, she said. She pointed to host (and uOttawa grad) Alex Trebek’s friendliness in asking where she worked and his effortless repartee with the crowd during commercial breaks.“I’m not sure if he was being polite but he seemed to know it (the ByTowne Cinema),” McLeod said.“He’s such a showman when you’re there, he’s such a pro, bantering with the audience.”Before the episode aired, McLeod remembered only her mistakes. At a viewing party at Pour Boy with her pals from the Ottawa Trivia League — in which McLeod holds the record for the highest number of “per capita” points in a single game — she noticed the good stuff.“I got some things right, holy cow!” she joked.Luckily, McLeod has a “fascinating” job to return to after her brief brush with show biz.“My job is different every day,” she said.Her days as general manager, a job she’s held for a decade, include finding films, helping produce the ByTowne guide, ordering supplies, and running social media accounts.“It’s so corny but I love turning on the house lights and seeing the curtain lights come on,” said McLeod, who has degrees in history and film. “I still love doing that.”
Megan MCLeod poses for a photo in Ottawa Tuesday April 16, 2019. Megan is the GM of the Bytowne, she appeared on Jeopardy Monday night – the latest in a string of Ottawans who’ve been on the show.
Tony Caldwell /
Nor is the curtain coming down on her trivia career — McLeod is back with her team for Sunday night trivia at Beerocracy as the third local trivia leaguer to have appeared on Jeopardy! in recent memory.The appearance has also resulted in a blip of celebrity.“I got recognized for the first time today,” McLeod said. “It was a guy dropping off cleaning supplies, He said, ‘Hey, I saw you on TV! You were on Jeopardy!”Best of all, though, was the Jeopardy! fan’s comment on social media comparing McLeod’s “I am so done” expression with the steely Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones.“I didn’t win but I won a little bit — my terrified frustrated face is the Queen of Westeros.”