Part three, the conclusion of my interview with Stefan Goodreau.... (See parts one and two.)
I knew Stefan was in the audience at the last Tournament of Champions, so I asked him how often he goes to tapings. He said he’s gone to at least one every season since 2007-8, “three by virtue of being a contestant or being related to a contestant. The tapings I’ve been to were when my dad was an alternate and contestant in 2008, when I was an alternate and contestant in 2009, a returning champ and ToC contestant in ’09-’10, a contestant guest for Doug Hicton’s boyfriend Terry Andrews in summer 2010, Hans von Walter’s guest at the College Championship’s semis and finals a few months later, and Erin McLean’s guest at both ToC tapings this past September.” (I wish I’d asked how he knew some of those people!)
I asked him how he thought this recent ToC compared to his, difficulty-wise. He said, “I don’t really know what’s easy and hard. For what it’s worth, I was 4/5 on quarter-final Final Jeopardys this year, and 0/5 on semifinal ones; last year I was 2/5, then 1/5. They’re probably equivalent, all told.” (See comment below.)
I asked Stefan if he is still a camp counselor and video game tester. He says he only does camp counseling in the summer, and he hasn’t done any video game testing since October 2010. He says, “In fact, the day I went to the College Championship taping was supposed to be my last day at work…Without the loan I paid off, I’ve got no monthly expenses, and the Jeopardy! money keeps me nice and unmotivated.”
I asked Stefan if there are any other TV shows on which he’d like to appear. He said, “Absolutely. I’m not an intellectual Jeopardy! exclusivist snob. I love game shows in general, and have from an early age. [Who Wants to Be a Millionaire] is probably what I’d prefer to be on next, but I’m not above Wheel of Fortune, or even something like Wipeout!” I haven’t seen Wipeout, but now I have it set to record this week. My sister says she saw it once and calls it a “crack-up.”
I’m hoping Stefan will attend the unofficial Jeopardy! reunion/National History Bowl finals, even though I’m not 100% sure I’ll be going yet. I think he would fit right in there, as last year they had a, ahem, pub quiz with no more than one known J! champ per table. (Last year Nick Condon and Roger Craig shared a table because Nick’s episodes hadn’t aired yet and no one really knew the outcome. Unfortunately I wasn’t present at the pub quiz because I’d already bought my plane ticket to arrive the next day, when I learned about it.) This year, according to the History Bowl site, they’re planning a Popular Culture History Bee.
I asked Stefan if he has any advice for aspiring contestants. He says, “Before you even get The Call, watch the game as much as you can, try your best to keep score so that you become familiar with your knowledge base and develop buzzer discipline (i.e., learn not to buzz with random guesses.)
“In addition, you should get yourself used to the process of buzzing in. Don’t worry about timing, since there’s no good way to check whether you’re in the sweet spot. Instead, just get used to buzzing, and you can adjust timing once you make it to the studio.
“I don’t know what advice to give someone to ensure making it to the studio, since it only took one audition to get me there (although I think it helped that the contestant coordinators got to know me a little better when I came to my dad’s tapings).”
It was a pleasure to chat with Stefan and even to write this story. I wish him continued success!
Recaps and commentary on Jeopardy! episodes, from two devoted fans. Jeanie was on Jeopardy! March 28, 2012!