NPR logo

Asian-American Contestant, 'Villain' Of 'Jeopardy,' Set To Return

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/280749689/280759221" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Asian-American Contestant, 'Villain' Of 'Jeopardy,' Set To Return

Asian-American Contestant, 'Villain' Of 'Jeopardy,' Set To Return

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/280749689/280759221" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Let's play a little "Jeopardy" now. I'm going to take most polarizing "Jeopardy" players for 800, Robert.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

OK. This "Jeopardy" player has been making headlines and causing a frenzy on Twitter for playing aggressively and using game theory to fuel a four-day winning streak.

CORNISH: Who is Arthur Chu?

SIEGEL: That's right. And he returns to "Jeopardy" Monday. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang has more.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: If there are any unwritten rules to playing "Jeopardy," he may have broken them all.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY")

JOHNNY GILBERT: A compliance analyst and voiceover artist from Broadview Heights, Ohio, Arthur Chu.

WANG: Sometimes he interrupted Alex Trebek and cut in before the host could finish his sentence.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY")

ALEX TREBEK: Bullock. Arthur, back to you.

ARTHUR CHU: Bible violence, 800.

WANG: Not to mention, he jumped to the hardest clues on the board first, and he furiously tapped his buzzer whenever he knew the answer. Arthur Chu has been called many names on Twitter. I asked some colleagues to read some.

KASIA PODBIELSKI: The worst "Jeopardy" contestant of all time.

WANG: And some viewers have tweeted at him directly.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: You are the biggest tool I have ever seen graced the "Jeopardy" stage. I hope Trebek knocks you out cold.

WANG: And Chu replied.

CHU: He knocked me out from the moment he walked out on stage. Swoons.

WANG: Other Twitter musings about Arthur Chu have been a bit more personal.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: So I ruined family dinner by calling my mom and stepbrother out for saying (bleep) things about the winner on "Jeopardy" because he was Asian.

WANG: And to this tweeter's surprise, Chu replied...

CHU: Thanks for getting my back. Tell the fam I'm sorry for coming over and taking their jobs.

WANG: Chu says the de facto job for many contestants after they appear on "Jeopardy" is dealing with the peanut gallery.

CHU: People always make fun of the people on "Jeopardy" and they don't realize, like, when you're on "Jeopardy," you have 20 minutes, and there's this really high-stakes prize.

WANG: So far, his prize totals more than $100,000 from a four-game winning streak in late January. Chu was born in Albany, New York, the son of immigrants from Taiwan. He later moved with his family to Rhode Island and L.A. And you went to Swarthmore College?

CHU: Yes.

WANG: Like me.

CHU: Yes.

WANG: Now, age 30, he works at an insurance company near Cleveland. And on the side, he does community theater and some voiceover work.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMERCIAL)

CHU: That's right. The advanced protection of Shell Rotella T now comes...

WANG: Still, Chu says, he can understand why his "Jeopardy" appearances may have gotten some of the show's fans so upset.

CHU: I kind of fit a certain stereotype of the hyper focused, unlikeable, Asian nerd, and the fact that I'm an Asian guy means that I'm not the underdog, that I'm the bad guy and that some regular person who the audience can identify with is the underdog.

WANG: Underdog or not, Chu says he decided to not take the online chatter sitting down.

CHU: I think we've reached the point where someone like me can, you know, stand up for myself and say, you know, I'm not ashamed of being the kind of person that I am. And if you try to shame me about it, I'll hit back.

WANG: Chu will be back on "Jeopardy" next week. The show was pre-recorded in November before the social media backlash. But even if he could change his playing style or how he looked on the show, he says...

CHU: No, I don't know. I mean, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, you know?

WANG: Last words of a soon-to-be "Jeopardy" has-been? We'll find out Monday. Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Comments

 

Discussions about race, ethnicity and culture tend to get dicey quickly, so we hold our commenters on Code Switch to an especially high bar. We may delete comments we think might derail the conversation. If you're new to Code Switch, please read over our FAQ and NPR's Community Guidelines before commenting. We try to notify commenters individually when we remove their comments, but given that we receive a high volume of comments, we may not always be able to get in touch. If we've removed a comment you felt was a thoughtful and valuable addition to the conversation, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us by emailing codeswitch@npr.org.