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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Are Game Show Hosts Going Extinct?

Illustration by Sam Woolley
Illustration by Sam Woolley
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


Alex Trebek IS Jeopardy!, but he can’t do it forever. When he hangs up the microphone, who will replace him? The protocol for other game shows (Family Feud, The Price is Right, etc) seems to be hiring a famous comedian, but that doesn’t feel right for Jeopardy! I’ve been thinking about this for a while. What are they going to do?

Well, they’re obviously gonna keep the show going (Trebek, after all, wasn’t the first host Jeopardy! has ever had), but I think they’re gonna replace Trebek with a famous smartypants like Neil DeGrasse Tyson or former champ Ken Jennings. I do not look forward to a NDT-hosted Jeopardy! He’ll put himself in every Video Daily Double and install his own buzzer so that he can answer everything before the contestants even have a chance to. “Let me just jump in here to make sure all of you pronounce Quetzalcoatl accurately.”

Or they’ll just get some old newscaster to do it. Brian Williams can’t wait to bust out his witty repartee during the “get the know the contestants” segment. He’s been workshopping those one-liners for over a decade.


By the way, the recent spate of comedians hosting game shows is proof that we have a serious game show host shortage in this country. There are no more Trebeks waiting on deck. No Wink Martindales. No Bill Cullens. No Jim Perrys. Hosting a game show is a specific skill that requires a special blend of corniness and charm and deference and Richard Dawson kissing people right on the mouth. I would rather have a professional game show host cracking bad jokes during the show than an actual comedian cracking bad jokes, if that makes sense. You put Steve Harvey, who is the Stephen A. Smith of comedy, in charge of Family Feud and suddenly it’s Steve Harvey’s Horny Joketime Hour. He needs to dial that shit back. It used to just be about the surveys, man.

We need a school that cranks out more fully trained game show hosts, complete with Mitt Romney haircuts and ugly blazers. I wanna know that the guy hosting my game show is probably a closet lech who drinks eight scotches before going on the air and hosts swinger parties at his condo every Wednesday night. That’s who I want doling out parting gifts.


What do you think is the worst vegetable? I say onions. I’ve never eaten something and said “You know what? That could’ve used onions. That would’ve really made it better.” They could disappear of the face of the Earth and I wouldn’t care or notice.


Hey! I like onions! You’re way outta line, sir. Almost every soup and stew and sauce in the universe has onions as part of its foundation. And what of onion rings? WHAT OF ONION RINGS?! I demand you go to night school and enroll in an Onion Appreciation course to understand how critical BIG BAGGED ONION is to the American economy and your personal welfare as a whole. There are far worse vegetables out there. I will now list a few in no particular order…

  • OKRA. “My mother makes the best fried okra!” Hey, you know what would be better? If she fried literally anything else. I don’t need these slime-ridden swamp fingers polluting my plate. Southern people go on and on about okra like it’s better than a ribeye. I’m fed up with all this okra propaganda. Keep it the hell away from me and my family.
  • WATER CHESTNUTS. Is this a vegetable? I feel like it should be considered a vegetable because I hate eating it. I’ll order chicken & cashews from the China Palace and half the container is water chestnuts. Even worse, it looks JUST like the chicken, so I have no idea if the next bite will be ecstasy or sheer aggravation. Fuck water chestnuts. They only use them to save on chicken, and I want our next President to do something about it.
  • GREEN PEPPERS. There’s a reason these are half the price of any other color pepper. Green peppers ruin everything.
  • ARTICHOKES. I don’t know how artichoke dip became thing but I want it to stop. People are serving hot mayo and mushed up artichokes to each other all around the country and our military has yet to intervene.
  • ENDIVE. Why would I want lettuce leaf that tastes like battery acid? The worst is when people use endive leaves as a substitute for crackers. “Oh, I put this tuna tartare on an endive finger for us all to enjoy!” Fuck you. Not all of us are carb counting. Stop using lettuce as bread. Get me some melba toast.
  • VERY LARGE PIECES OF CELERY. Dice up celery and add it to a soup and it’s fine. But eating an entire stalk is craziness. It’s chewing on a wad of floss.
  • STEAMED BROCCOLI. I actually like broccoli, but think of how much bad broccoli you’ve been asked to consume over the course of your lifetime, especially broccoli that’s been over-steamed and served as a kind of medicinal side to steak or chicken or something far more worthwhile. Steamed broccoli is an affront to mankind. If you’re making broccoli or zucchini, have some compassion and roast the shit out of it and then sprinkle it liberally with salt. No one should have to consume broccoli any other way.

BTW, some of the Deadspin staff hate eggplant but I like it so I left it off here. I get it, though. It does have some snot-like properties.


When is it OK to curse and/or yell during an argument in public? Some guy was hassling me about parking too close to his car in the train commuter lot this morning, and after trying to gently calm him down and tell him no, I did not in fact hit his car with my door when I opened it, I finally flipped and said “I DIDN’T HIT YOUR FUCKING CAR, ASSHOLE!” That seemed to shut him up, but it also drew some concerned stares from other commuters walking to the train. I’m in my early 30's and am gonna be a dad in a few weeks and it got me thinking about whether I can still act like a hot-headed frat bro when I’m pushed beyond my limits at this age. Some people just need to be cursed at, right?


Yeah, but you’ll always feel stupid after the fact. I remember I yelled “ASSHOLE!” at a dude in a parking lot once (and he was TOTALLY an asshole), and I still regret it. People stare. And god only knows if you’ve decided to provoke the wrong guy and he ends up taking out a butterfly knife and slashing your face as payback. Most of the time, it’s better to keep a level head, walk away, and then spend the rest of the day thinking of all the cool shit you WANTED to yell at the guy. “Oh yeah? Well you’re a raging prick, prickfucker!” That woulda taught him a lesson.

Think about the times you’ve seen strangers flip out in public. It’s uncomfortable, right? I saw some lady go OFF on her phone in an airport and the whole joint could hear it. She was screaming “I HATE YOU!” at the top of her lungs. And I don’t care if the person on the other end dug up her mom’s corpse … you gotta handle that shit privately. Otherwise everyone around you will think you’re deranged.


I know it’s hard. There are times when people will make you truly, deeply angry. And you’ll have a RIGHT to yell at them on a sidewalk for kicking your dog. But most of the time that ends up making the situation worse, and potentially more than just a run-in. There are too many guns in this country now for me to go around yelling “FUCKFACE” at people I don’t know. It’s a real pity.


If Air Force One or Marine One were airborne with the President on board, and they were the only ones who could rescue people in danger by getting them into the plane/chopper, do they?


Nope. Not a chance. They would fly right over that burning orphanage because they can’t risk any harm to the President. And it’s not like you’d ever know they were faced with the choice. They’ve got super stealth radar and all that. They can abandon an embassy under siege without you even realizing they were around to give you a potential ride home. Sucks to be you.

By the way, I think that a lot of government stuff should be made available for public use. Like, if the President isn’t using Air Force One at a given moment, you should be able to go sit inside it. That’s YOUR plane. You help pay for the gas. Obama shouldn’t get it all to himself. And if he doesn’t finish his dinner prepped by the White House chef, they should leave the leftovers at the front gate of the White House for the rest of us. I bet they’ve thrown out whole lobster tails from state dinners. I’m already angry. THAT’S MY LOBSTER.



Is it socially acceptable to wear scrubs when you’re not a doctor or nurse or EMT as long as you don’t claim to be one? They look so comfortable!


I think so, but I would avoid the full scrubs getup. Wear the pants, or the shirt, but don’t wear both, especially with black work clogs and an ID lanyard. Otherwise everyone WILL assume you’re an uppity knee surgeon and they’ll have every right to. It’s not worth the comfort to explain to people every seven seconds that you’re just an IT guy who like scrubs.

I have a friend who’s a doctor, and he used to get scrubs dispensed from a vending machine in his hospital. I asked him once if he would grab me some and he said he would, but then he didn’t. YOU OWE ME A PAIR OF SCRUBS, BILLY. We should have scrub vending machines out in the street, available to the general public. I’d buy a pair and a Milky Way bar on impulse.



At a weekend long music festival, Is it better to be guaranteed a place to shit (once, for the whole weekend), or be tall enough to be guaranteed you can see above the person in front of you?


Is it a clean place to shit? I’ll take that.

By the way, one of the nice things about being 39 years old is knowing that I’m never going to a music festival ever again in my life. I’ll never have to arrange travel, or buy a separate parking pass, or sleep in mud, or pay $15 for bottled water, or suffer heat stroke, or step over a minefield of drunken assholes just to see my favorite band play 20 minutes over at Stage G. That’s never going to happen. It feels great. It’s right up there with “never taking a test again” in the Perks Of Aging department.



I farted in the shower this morning, it was awful. What’s the worst place to fart? Mid-shower has to be up there.


I get a lot of emails from people about how gross farting the shower is, and I gotta disagree. I like farting in the shower! I can fart with impunity! Who’s gonna know? Plus I get to savor the bouquet of the fart and grade it against my personal farting archive. Hell, I could shart and it wouldn’t matter because I’m already washing myself off. The freedom is electric. I’d rather fart in the shower than in any of the following places:

  • Packed elevator
  • Classroom
  • Courtroom
  • Library
  • Church
  • Jail
  • Museum
  • Movie theater
  • Dance floor

Those are all horrible places to fart. I fear the embarrassment more than the lethal odor.




The sides on the top of the dishwasher are for glasses/mugs right? My wife puts bowls, tupperware, spatulas, etc. up there and then she always wonders why I move them. Cups fit perfectly in those rows, why would you think anything else belongs there? We should just get a divorce, right?


Yeah, you put cups and mugs and glasses there (although wine glasses are tricky because sometimes the base of the glass sticks out wide and gets all fucked up when you slide the rack back in), and then small bowls go in the center, with room at the back for shit that won’t fit in the utensil basket: barbecue tongs, big spatulas, etc. The goal is to use the space efficiently so that you don’t have to wash anything by hand, because that’s a fate worse than Turkish prison.

The problem is that there’s always ONE goddamn item that fucks up the loading of the dishwasher. Like, if you use a blender for something, the blender parts ruin the whole set up. There’s a pitcher and a base and the spinny blade thing. None of the parts fit neatly in the machine, or they take up space needed for plates and pasta bowls. What we need to do is make all standard household dishwashers DOUBLE their current size. I’m tired of all this dishwasher angst. I’m sick of loading the thing after dinner, terrified there won’t be room for ALL the ladles. That blows. Make it the size of a fridge so that I can put entire stockpots inside. That’s what we all deserve.



So how badly would a host city have to mess up the Olympics for the IOC to flip from the model of choosing a new city for every Olympics to holding them in the same place every time?


It’ll never happen. The Olympics have already presided over Games featuring terrorism, disease, crumbling infrastructure, diarrhea pools, open graft, and the rest. So long as they can put some shit on TV and collect their kickback money, they’re not abandoning the current business model. The only way it’ll happen is if the bribery well dries up and they get outright rejected by every potential host city. You already saw this happen with the 2022 Winter Games, with the Olympics returning to Beijing because no other city or country wanted to deal with the IOC’s bullshit. My fondest hope is that they get stymied again and again during future bidding pony shows.

But frankly, I’m not all that optimistic. Four cities are already lobbying to host the 2024 Games (LA being one of them). Look at what happened with the Braves and Cobb County. People despise corruption, and yet corruption will always find a place to flourish. It’s unavoidable. No matter how well-educated the global public is, there will always be some jackass city councilman out there who can be bought, or a billionaire who spearheads a public effort to bring the games in as a favor to his rich asshole buddies. It sucks but it’s a standard, eternal feature of humanity.



When I’m at work, sometimes I will take a small break to get up and get a cup of coffee. Pretty standard stuff. Sometimes, this will coincide with my pee breaks and instead of walking back to my desk to put my coffee down and leave again to go to the bathroom, I just take it in with me. There’s a nice little counter near the sinks that’s far away from where business is conducted. Recently, a co-worker of mine saw me do this and looked at me like I had just eviscerated his first born. Am I crazy for doing this? It’s not like the ghost of my urine is going to fly straight for my coffee cup. Hands are, of course, washed. Thoughts?


I’m fine with taking your coffee into the shitter. That’s what coffee is for! You drink coffee to wake up and go shit. One whiff and I’m ready to drop a payload. I’ll sip it right on the toilet. That’s right. It makes me feel like a hardened cop. Then I set it down, wipe, wash my hands, pick the cup up, freak out for a second that I got poop on the cup, and then shrug it off. Perfectly acceptable.

(****All my friends stop talking to me****)

What? What’d I do?


Wouldn’t the swimming medley events be more fun if the swimmer (or team) could choose the order in which they swam? If your country has a world-class breaststroker, couldn’t it possibly make sense to jump out to a commanding lead with freestyle first and hope your strongest swimmer can hang on with their signature stroke? Lead changes are the best part of any race, so wouldn’t this add to the excitement?


You have to have backstroke first—at least for relays—because backstroke starts from IN the pool. (Personally, I’d force them to dive backwards to start the race but I’m not in the position to make that happen.) If you put your backstroker second, the first swimmer would swim directly into him and everything would go to shit. Can’t have that.

Otherwise, I’m fine with mixing up stroke order for the rest of the relay, and for any individual medley race. Then teams could hide their final stroke choice from the opposition, only to spring Katie Ledecky doing freestyle at the very end. OH FUCK IT’S LEDECKY! I KNEW IT! WE’RE DOOMED! Then swim coaches could spend hours and hours breaking down tape and data to calibrate the best order, and then micromanage their charges into oblivion. Like in football! That’s fun!


By the way, have you ever tried swimming an individual medley? It’s AWFUL. I’d rather drown in artichoke dip. Here’s a quick breakdown of every stroke and its flaws:

  • BUTTERFLY. Fun for exactly three feet, and then becomes the most exhausting exercise in the world. If you ever spot a guy at a local pool doing butterfly in the lap lanes, he is a crazy person.
  • BACKSTROKE. I can’t see where the hell I’m going. I spend every backstroke lap terrified that I’m about to bash my head into the wall. I slap the lane line by accident CONSTANTLY. I kick up water and lands directly up my nose. There’s nothing relaxing abut backstroke. How do they stay so straight?
  • FREESTYLE. Sometimes I don’t have the breathing rhythm down and I will accidentally inhale fifty cubic inches of pool water. It’s a rough moment. Also, my goggles always fog up or come loose and fill with water. It’s the worst. 99% of goggles don’t work. We should donate them.
  • BREASTSTROKE. Ahhhhh, that’s the stroke for me. Lame. Easy. Comically slow. It’s the stroke of choice for dads like me who do exactly three laps in the lap lanes before deeming it enough serious exercise for the day.


Clearly one of the best perks of being President is that the kitchen has to make you whatever you want whenever you want. That said, after awhile, would the novelty wear off? Would you just sit around wondering what to eat because nothing really sounds good?


Yes, and that’s because even though you can conceivably have your chef prepare anything you want, it’s still THAT chef making it. It would be like listening to your favorite band over and over again. And what if Frank—I’m calling the chef Frank—tries something new and fucks it up, and the President has to be nice about it because he doesn’t want his own chef poisoning him? Sometimes you gotta mix it up. If I were President, I would order out at least once a week just for the sake of variety. And I would make the call myself.

PIZZA GUY: So that’s two large pepperoni, a Greek salad, and an order of garlic knots, correct?


ME: Yup.

PIZZA GUY: What’s the address?

ME: (very casually) 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

PIZZA GUY: Wait a second, that’s…

ME: That’s right.

PIZZA GUY: My God! Mister President! It’s an honor, sir! Thank you for outlawing water chestnuts!


That would be awesome.


Do you think that this generation will outlive the keyboard or will we be typing things with our brainwaves in a few years?


My kids are already far more comfortable typing on touch screens than I am. I fucking hate it. Thirty years from now, I’ll be an old codger stubbornly holding onto my keyboard while all the kids are laughing at me because they write using emoji hand signals. I don’t care. I like having buttons to push. When I type on an iPhone, I gotta sit there for a split second and make sure the letter actually got typed. It sucks. Typewriter fetishists are human waste, but I’ll turn hipster to stand by my keyboard if it comes to that.


Which food or drink do you think burns people’s mouths the most? I think top 3 are pizza, coffee and then anything that needs to be microwaved (because that shit comes out thermonuclear every time).


It’s impossible to beat pizza or coffee, because Americans consume them in such mass quantities. I can only think of shit that would merit honorable mention, like hot chocolate. It’s sweet and delicious but you have to wait for it to cool down to drink it! TORTURE. Also worth noting: soup, tea, very hot marshmallows, Hot Pockets, McDonald’s apple pies, Pop Tarts, fried chicken, and fish & chips. The beer batter on fish & chips has the insulating power of a Hazmat suit. I’ll sit there for nine years blowing on my kid’s scrod to get it cool down and it never does. It can be a real issue.


Sometimes for a quick snack I will have a piece of bread - not shitty Wonder Bread but a good rye or potato bread - and put some butter on it. My wife calls it a butter sandwich and says it is disgusting. I argue it is simply toast that was not toasted. Why is it reasonable to put butter on bread after being toasted but not beforehand?


No, you’re fine. Of course it’s socially acceptable to eat plain bread and butter. That’s what they serve before every meal at every restaurant. Explain that to your wife and watch her mind get blown in real time. Even if you make an actual sandwich using two slices (I don’t recommend this because it screws up the bread-to-butter ratio per bite), you’re still adhering to the tenets of civilized society.

I’ve said this before, but people forget how good bread and butter can be. Everyone is scared shitless of the bread basket because it’s fattening. But I went to a restaurant the other day and I was famished. So I ate at least three or four slices of fresh bread from the basket while I waited for my meal, AND I smothered each piece in salted butter. It was heaven. I could have cried. Everything after the breadbasket was an afterthought. I would have married that breadbasket.



If the U.S. sent its entire 2016 Olympic team back in time 50 years ago, would they sweep every event - gold, silver, bronze?


Do they get to use their own equipment? I bet a 1966 bicycle would really fuck up a 2016 cyclist. “This wheel hasn’t been properly trued!!!” My guess is that our athletes would be dominant, but would miss at least a few medals because of the equipment issues, and because there were still plenty of people back in 1966 who could still fuck you up. Also, they didn’t test for drugs prior to the 1976 Summer games. It was a fun time to experiment with injectable uranium.


Why wouldn’t LeBron just take the minimum every year of free agency to give his team crazy amounts of cap space to sign other stars? He’s about to be a billionaire.


He can’t do that because he’d be fucking over every other NBA player. If he takes the league minimum, then fans and owners will demand the same of ALL the good players. “Let’s make the salary cap $5 because you guys make enough shoe money already.” He’s the best player in the sport and deserves to be compensated as such.

In theory, LeBron doesn’t NEED his NBA salary, but it’s important to place a value on your work, both for your sake and the sake of your industry. Tiger Woods used to live only off his golf earnings and stash away his Nike money. One money meant more to him than the other, and that’s the money he used on hookers and texting plans. I don’t blame him. Not all money is equal.


Email of the week!


Say I have a dozen doughnuts and plan to eat all 12 of them myself. Is there any dietary advantage whatsoever to eating, like, 2 per hour for 6 hours versus just downing all 12 in one go? I figure if I bombard my stomach with 12 doughnuts at once, my body will just give up on metabolizing them eventually, and it’ll be like I never consumed the calories for at least two of them.


The only reason to stagger them is so you don’t eat more food later in the day. That’s science, amigo.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.

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