Bronx resident Chris Hammer grew up watching “Jeopardy” with his parents and grandparents and hoped one day to be a contestant on the show.
In February his dream came true and on April 6, the episode aired on TV. While Hammer came in second place, it was a once in a lifetime experience he will never forget.
“I thought I could do well on it and that it would be a real fun thing to do,” Hammer said.
Hammer, 37, of Spuyten Duyvil, was part of the quiz bowl team in high school, but never imagined would one day be on his favorite show.
A friend of his participated in the “Jeopardy” college tournament, which helped give him the push to apply.
“I thought maybe I could do this sometime,” he recalled.
So, he registered for the online test and took it about a dozen times.
In 2019 Hammer auditioned in person for “Jeopardy” and in March 2020 got a call back to appear on the show right before COVID-19 arrived.
Due to the pandemic he had to wait a year to film. Although the show’s legendary host, Alex Trebek, had passed away, it was everything he had imagined.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was a guest host that night.
“It was weird being on “Jeopardy” and not seeing Trebek,” he said. “I was really grateful to have the opportunity to meet Aaron Rodgers.”
Hammer told the Bronx Times that he was quite nervous before the show. With the bright lights and being on TV, it was much more stress than watching the show at home.
While he stumbled on questions in the first few rounds, especially ones pertaining to pop culture, he excelled toward the end of the show in 20th century American history questions.
In fact, he nailed the Daily Double and was hoping Brandon Deutsch; the eventual winner would get it wrong.
“One of the first things for many people on the show and myself included, was that many times I knew the answer and other contestants were able to ring in faster,” Hammer remarked.
According to Hammer, he had no expectations heading into Jeopardy, but wanted to soak in the experience and if he came in first that would have been icing on the cake.
Besides telling his partner Justin List the results of the show, he had to keep it a secret until last week.
Since appearing on the show Hammer has been flooded with calls and texts from family and friends congratulating him.
“I tried to prepare myself as best as I could,” he said. “It was really cool and such a great experience.”