UW-Madison grad student competes on Jeopardy!

The contestant said he’s been hoping to compete on the show for years.
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 11, 2021 at 10:10 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Lance St. Laurent may be a PhD student studying film at UW-Madison, but movies aren’t the only topic he knows a thing or two about.

“I’ve always been one of those weird brains that just soaks up information that’s probably not necessary,” St. Laurent said.

That talent will be on full display on Friday’s episode of Jeopardy, where St. Laurent features as a contestant.

“As far as the experience goes, it’s just still extremely surreal,” he said. “I won’t believe for sure that it’s real until I watch myself on TV.”

St. Laurent has long been a fan of Jeopardy! and has been interested in getting on the show for quite a while.

“Me and my grandma also loved to watch Jeopardy! together, I’ve been trying to get on for years and years, in part in her honor,” he said. “I wish she had gotten to see it, she passed away just last year, but I did do it in her memory.”

For about a decade, St. Laurent has been trying to compete on the show. He described the audition process as one that can be lengthy, starting first with a test. He said after that, you may be invited to the next stage, which he described as another test and a mock-game and interview. From there, hopeful players may get moved into the contestant pool, where they wait for the call to see if they’ll make it onto the show.

St. Laurent took his first application test this time around in February, and ultimately filmed in December. He said there were strict COVID protocols on set.

“One of the funny things was because the green room they usually use for contestants was too small, they actually had us on the Wheel of Fortune set so we could socially distance properly,” he said.

As a long time Jeopardy fan, St. Laurent said he was saddened by the news of Alex Trebek’s passing, but grateful for the chance to work with Ken Jennings.

“It’s of course an extremely happy thing, and I’m extremely excited about it. But it’s also so weird, because I’m just a guy. I’m not a TV star or special in any way like that. I definitely love attention,” he said, laughing. “This is still so new to me and so exciting to me, and I can’t wait for everybody to see it.”

St. Laurent’s episode airs Friday, Feb. 12.

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