More Than A Game Show Host, Alex Trebek Has Made Many Other Appearances


Your clue is: “this host appeared in The Simpsons, Hot in Cleveland, Orange is the New Black, and Rugrats.” The answer we’re looking for is: Who is Alex Trebek. Those are actually only a few of the cameos he’s made. Above all, Alex Trebek is known for hosting Jeopardy! but he actually has cameos elsewhere. Often, his Jeopardy! fame follows him to those shows, so he’s playing a parody of himself.

Nevertheless, it’s still fun to spot each of the host’s cameos. Have you seen them all already? Some are somewhat inconsequential, but others have Trebek directly affecting characters in the show he’s in. For example, in Orange is the New Black, he’s part of an inmate’s hallucination as she battles her inner thoughts. Even so, though, he’s still hosting. Do episodes like these count in his 7000+ episode tally? We think they should!


Sometimes, other people represent Alex Trebek during his cameos

During SNL, Will Ferrell portrayed Alex Trebek before the real deal set things straight
During SNL, Will Ferrell portrayed Alex Trebek before the real deal set things straight / Mary Ellen Matthews/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal / Getty Images

At first, it appeared that Will Ferrell would run the show during SNL‘s Celebrity Jeopardy! but that didn’t last for long. At first, Ferrell battled with stubbornly foolish celebrities. From faux-Trebek’s viewpoint, it looked like their ignorance had to be deliberate.

RELATED: Alex Trebek Already Knows How He Wants His Final ‘Jeopardy!’ Episode To End


Things looked grim, but fortunately, the real Alex Trebek swooped in to navigate the rest of the show. He dealt with rude celebrities and mourned faux-Trebek’s misfortune with them. Sometimes, you have to leave it to the master.

Even persistent hosts like Trebek need a break sometimes

Alex Trebek isn’t always a game show host in his cameos. In Hot in Cleaveland, he abandoned his suit and tie, along with the big board of prizes and clues. Instead, he looked just like a park ranger and even had a cabin setting to complete the look.

There’s actually a bit about that episode that could be called surreal. Characters are wacky, situations are outrageous. Throw in game show host Alex Trebek, and the whole setup is delightfully absurd. Fortunately, after his brief but memorable introduction, he appears later to deliver some sage wisdom. And a Jeopardy! reference. Apparently even in a totally different career path, he can’t help but mention that show.

There’s even something for younger audiences

"Alan Quebec" had all his notes ready for this cameo
“Alan Quebec” had all his notes ready for this cameo / YouTube screenshot

Even younger viewers have the chance of seeing Alex Trebek making a cameo in their favorite shows. Typically, Rugrats follows the adventures of a group of babies as they let their imagination run wild. Usually, three-year-old Angelica is the oldest a primary character gets, while their parents are characters they simply have to avoid to pursue their little games.

On the episode Game Show Didi, however, an adult takes center stage. The episode focuses primarily on one baby’s mom as she preps for a game show called Super Stumpers. As if the trivia layout wasn’t an obvious enough nod to a real show, Alex Trebek’s cameo makes it obvious this is a parody of Jeopardy!. Though, in this case, he’s known as Alan Quebec. Very subtle.

Everything is up for grabs in The Simpsons

Of course, it probably was only a matter of time before a popular icon like Alex Trebek and his show got a cameo on The Simpsons. Such a show frequently makes animated versions of real-life people for the family to interact with or watch from afar. Sometimes the interpretations are parody, and other times they hit way too close to home.


Much like Didi from Rugrats, Marge is another animated TV mom who confronts the famous game show host himself. Her situation is very dire after some of Bart’s mayhem during Miracle on Evergreen Terrace put the family in need of money. To secure such funds, she competes on Jeopardy! but doesn’t do great. Alex Trebek, in all his animated glory, shows no sympathy.

Alex Trebek has no problem doing just about any sketch

As we saw with SNL, Trebek does not shy away from moving outside his comfort zone. Even if he still parodies his host persona, he puts himself into some wild scenes, much to everyone’s appreciation. As we all monitor his health updates, we’re glad we have so many cameos to count.

Trebek has even worked with musical artists, including “Weird Al” Yankovic. Much like Hot in Cleaveland, his three main interactions with the comedic musical master are rather outrageous. Instead of urging his audience to answer questions (or make educated guesses), Trebek tries to promote odd subjects as the key to eternal happiness. Topics include aardvark training, frog cosmetology, and bellybutton lint recycling. I think I want to hop on over to Wheel of Fortune and buy a vowel instead.

Every gritty comedy show needed him after The Simpsons

After The Simpsons got a Trebek cameo, Family Guy needed one too
After The Simpsons got a Trebek cameo, Family Guy needed one too

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace from The Simpsons dates back to 1997. Almost ten years later, it seems Family Guy just had to follow suit and get an Alex Trebek cameo of its own. In this case, Trebek appeared in the episode titled I Take Thee, Quagmire.

In that episode, Trebek didn’t fare as well as in other appearances. The characters of the show seem to feel Trebek was a being they needed to vanquish. Trebek, animated, reads “Kebert Xela.” That was a mistake, as he ends up disappearing in a flash of light. Apparently,  “Only saying his name backward can send him back to the Fifth Dimension, where he belongs.”

Not everyone can be a champion

Cliff Clavin wasn't the next Jeopardy GOAT during Alex Trebek's cameo
Cliff Clavin wasn’t the next Jeopardy GOAT during Alex Trebek’s cameo / NBC

Jeopardy! offers contestants a chance to show off their trivia knowledge. People try to master the formula for getting questions right and wracking up the biggest prize. Unfortunately for one Cheers character, that’s not always meant to be.

While the best of the best show their stuff on Jeopardy GOAT, Cliff Clavin made it apparent he wasn’t going down in history as a winner. His response to a clue about the real names of a trio of movie stars shockingly didn’t cut it. Evidently, “Who are three people who’ve never been in my kitchen” isn’t what Alex Trebek was looking for during his cameo.

Not all Alex Trebek cameos are obvious

Mulder isn't entirely sure what he saw...but we are
Mulder isn’t entirely sure what he saw…but we are / IMDb

When you’re looking for a game show host asking for responses to hints, you start to have certain expectations for where to find Trebek. But his appearances on other shows can be pretty obscure. Believe it or not, he’s not always hosting – though usually when he isn’t, he’s planning his Jeopardy!‘s future.

Fittingly, his appearance on The X-Files is not totally clear cut. His lines come from a place of darkness, with him known mostly as a man in black. A large Stetson hat hides what the shadows don’t fully obscure. But, looking back, Mulder fully believes he saw Alex Trebek when being told he’s feeling “very sleepy, very…relaxed.” Here’s your next clue: This person may be a guest star on The X-Files. Who is Alex Trebek?

Other times, Alex Trebek makes a cameo to put people in their place

When everyone is scrambling to think of the right response, Alex Trebek’s composure becomes especially apparent. In a bid to knock him down a peg, Conan O’Brien jokingly compiles clips of Trebek apparently flubbing it. O’Brien shares his concerns for the poor host, but to many viewers, it’s clear everything was deliberately misplaced to make Trebek appear out-of-it.

Not one to take such slights sitting down, Trebek emerges with an incriminating video compilation of his own. He also returns fire by mentioning to O’Brien how much fun he seems to be having. There’s nothing like two good-humored hosts doing a bit together!

He still finds a way to engage younger viewers

There have been quite a few cartoon renditions of Alex Trebek throughout his many cameos now. Once again, young TV-watchers can see a bit of the Jeopardy! we’ve come to love over the years in a different avenue.

Maybe his suggestion of aardvark training came from a persona place. On the children’s show Arthur, Trebek is a cartoon aardvark who hosts the popular show Riddle Quest. Alex Lebek is in his element here, though still causes some cute hijinks along the way.

Alex Trebek is the beginning and the end

To wrap up his original show, Colbert recruited Alex Trebek for the momentous occasion
To wrap up his original show, Colbert recruited Alex Trebek for the momentous occasion / Grunge

Casting Trebek as himself in so many guest appearances set up a very fun trend that other shows followed in varying ways. His legacy and that of Jeopardy!, though still ongoing, shaped and still shape modern media. Naturally, as Stephen Colbert forged his own history and wrapped up The Colbert Report, he wanted help from the TV titan himself.

Trebek’s character doesn’t always look totally thrilled by the arrangement, but his presence puts the perfect exclamation point at the end of such a historic moment on TV. As Trebek determinedly marches on with Jeopardy!, we can only hope for more fun cameos by America’s favorite game show host.

What do you think?

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