A government analyst from New York, New York...

Matt Drury

Hey, New York City, this is Matt Drury. Come watch me represent the Five Boroughs, on Jeopardy!

Season 26 1-time champion: $18,799 + $2,000.

Matthew Drury - A Government Analyst
New York City, New York

April 6, 2010

A Downpour of Answers and Questions

The whole concept that knowledge is a personal virtue doesn't mean as much in an age when every fact ever conceived about mankind's experience is literally at your fingertips (as long as you can get a wireless signal). That's why I always got a kick out of vintage clips of game shows with contestants in an "isolation booth," relying on only their innate skills and knowledge. What's admirable about "Jeopardy!" is that it's the only modern TV show that rewards knowledge and a quick wit, as opposed to your ability to eat a bucket of worms or sing embarrassingly in front of a panel of cruel judges.

Since certain pieces of information just happen to "stick" in my brain, and come to mind fairly quickly, I would often do well in trivia board games against my friends, or competing in trivia pub quiz nights at the local bar. One day, my older brother said "Jeopardy!" was having an online tryout that week and that I should try out. Well, I thought, why not? If you're a trivia buff or a know-it-all of any kind, "Jeopardy!" is the crown jewel. I took the online 50-question quiz and said to myself: "Hmm, that was fun." But I had an appetite for more.

Luckily, I got a call to attend an "in person" audition. Another 50 question quiz, from geography to history to literature� "Jeopardy!" certainly rewards those with a diverse base of knowledge. The "Jeopardy!" staff couldn't have been nicer: Maggie and Robert were clearly on the road a good chunk of the year, and I would think every tryout would seem the same to them after a while. Instead, they filled the room with energy and made sure every person trying out felt relaxed and comfortable, as if we were the most important audition they held all year.

A year went by, and I assumed I would have to try out again some other time. But I got the call from Glenn and I almost thought it was one of my friends playing a mean prank. I would be taping an episode of "Jeopardy!" in a month and a half? I did not have enough knowledge jammed into my brain. I'd be one of those poor souls who ends up in the negative after Double Jeopardy!, ushered off stage while the remaining contestants got to enjoy that catchy Theme during Final Jeopardy!

I knew I didn't have enough time to fill the massive gaps in my knowledge about popes, kings and capitals, but I could start taping episodes of "Jeopardy!" and playing along like a real contestant. I set up a kitchen cutting board behind the living room sofa as a mock podium, standing a good distance away from the TV-the best I could do to replicate the stressful experience of the competitors. I even taped together two pens to roughly simulate the signaling device. Keeping track of right and wrong answers taught me an important lesson: be disciplined and only ring in when you truly know the answer.

Time flew by, and soon I was on a flight to Los Angeles, to tape my episode. I was ready for that famed Southern California sunshine, but lo and behold, there was another new arrival in town: the worst rainstorm the area had seen in recent memory. So much for catching a tan. I headed to the studio in one of the biggest downpours I ever had to drive through.

Still, the taping was a great deal of fun-- again, the show staff, Maggie, Glenn, Robert and Corina, were phenomenal at getting the best out of the contestants, calming our nerves, keeping everyone loose and relaxed. I'll never make fun of anyone on a game show now that I know how nervous we are all were. One thing is clear about "Jeopardy!" contestants: win or lose, they know their stuff. Any of the day's contestants had the skill to earn several wins in a row, luck and timing were all that separated winners from losers.

I was one of the lucky ones and squeaked out a victory in Final Jeopardy! Not only a "Jeopardy!" contestant, but a "Jeopardy!" champion-- standing with Alex, chatting about the dynamic of the game while the credits theme played. It was a tremendous honor, considering the caliber of players who had competed on that stage, and now I could count myself among their number. The old adage is definitely true: when it rains, it pours.

Matt appeared in the following 2 archived games:
#5889, aired 2010-04-01 Matt Drury vs. Ken Burke vs. Jessica Trudeau April Fool's show with cameo appearances by Will Ferrell (as...
#5888, aired 2010-03-31 Stacy Braverman vs. Pat Garahan vs. Matt Drury

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