Alex Trebek booed by debate audience for Catholic Church joke
Alex Trebek received harsh criticism and boos from the audience when he ventured out of the TV studio to moderate a political debate.
The long-time Jeopardy! host served as moderator at Monday night’s Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate, lobbing questions to current Governor Tom Wolf and challenger Scott Wagner.
According to the Washington Post, Trebek was criticized for asking long-winded questions and letting the debaters serve up equally long-winded answers. However, an ill-considered joke caused the crowd to turn on him when he quipped that the only thing with a lower approval rating than the Pennsylvania legislature was the Catholic Church.
“Polite laughter from the audience quickly turned to boos,” reports the Post. The publication added that Trebek then tried to calm the crowd by regaling them with a lengthy anecdote about attending a Catholic boarding school as a teenager, noting that in all his time there he never witnessed any sexually predatory behaviour from the priests.
Viewers watching the debate on Facebook also saw the live feed, and comments from viewers became brutal. “Where is this going?” asked one commenter, with another questioning, “When do we get to hear from the candidates?” Another simply wrote, “Alex, shut up.”
As PennLive reports, Trebek admits he may have been in a bit over his head.
“It was a learning experience for me,” Trebek said during an interview with CBS 21. “And I think I was too naive going into this.”
Addressing his lengthy questions and inability to rein in the candidates, Trebek explained, “I thought a conversation would work a lot better. It didn’t. There’s no little red light that indicates when the candidate must stop speaking.”
He added: “I didn’t feel powerful enough to interrupt them more than I did. And even then I took some flack for that.”
Many people took to Twitter to talk about Trebek’s debate performance:
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