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Gaur ’21 appears on Ellen show after viral ‘Jeopardy!’ response

Dhruv Gaur ’21 paid tribute to ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek during semifinal round

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Senior Staff Writer
Friday, November 15, 2019

Alex Trebek (left) appeared visibly moved by Dhruv Gaur’s ’21 (right) gesture of support during the Final Jeopardy round in the Tournament of Champions. Gaur’s actions went viral, and a CBS representative invited him to appear on the Ellen Show.

In the semifinals of the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions Nov. 11, contestant Dhruv Gaur ’21 may have left with only five dollars in his pocket, but he garnered nationwide appreciation for his Final Jeopardy answer.

Gaur’s answer, “What is, We love you, Alex!” paid tribute to host Alex Trebek, who had just announced he would be returning to treatment for his pancreatic cancer. Gaur’s response sparked a top-trending hashtag on twitter and brought Gaur to the stage of the Ellen Show for yesterday’s episode.

Gaur faced off against Emma Boettcher and Kyle Jones in Monday’s “Jeopardy!” episode, and by the time the Final Jeopardy question rolled around, he had $2,000 on the board. “The semifinals weren’t really my day,” Gaur said of his performance when speaking to The Herald. But Gaur won over Twitter’s heart when he used his last question to send love to Trebek.

When he realized that he didn’t have a feasible chance of winning, Gaur decided to use the final question to send out his heartfelt message, along with a bet of $1,995. “We could really tell it was tough for (Trebek),” and “obviously I wasn’t going to win the game … so I was like, I could try to figure out the right answer, or I could do something for this person who might need it right now,” Gaur said during his appearance on Ellen.

But Gaur did not fully anticipate that Trebek would react by choking up on national television. Trebek is a “super professional, super composed person on TV,” Gaur told The Herald. While appearing on Ellen, Gaur said he only realized that his response was trending online when his mother reached out. He had anticipated that everyone would only see him lose, so he was “completely shocked” by the positive reactions.

“I definitely did not expect everyone to pick up on it on social media,” he said to The Herald. “The world really values that, which I didn’t expect,” Gaur added.

Soham Kale ’21 and Sheril Varghese ’21, friends of Gaur’s, watched the “Jeopardy!” semifinals and his appearance on Ellen. “It took me a second to realize what had just happened,” Kale said about the Final Jeopardy response. “I think I told him like, you may not have won, but you really won it … It seemed like it really meant a lot to (Trebek).”

“It is just surreal … that he basically gave Ellen a half hug, and he got a $25,000 check for pancreatic cancer,” Varghese said, watching the Ellen episode last night with Gaur. That “three minutes, 40 seconds kind of blew our mind,” she added.

Later the night that the “Jeopardy!” episode aired, a NBC representative contacted Gaur and invited him to appear on the Ellen Show the following day. The experience “was completely surreal,” Gaur said. “I still think I haven’t entirely processed that I flew to LA, went on the show, talked to Ellen … and that I just came back home and went to class the next day.”

On the Ellen Show, Gaur described how he dedicated some of his earlier “Jeopardy!” winnings to his college tuition and treated his friends to a meal. Gaur left the show with a $25,000 check from Shutterfly made out to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, as well as a 75” TV. Gaur and the other contestants are planning to show their support for the Lustgarten Foundation by donating a dollar for every question they answer correctly at home during the final round of the tournament, Gaur said on the Ellen Show.

“Looking back, it’s been a really cool, extremely unique journey,” Gaur said of his time on “Jeopardy!” “I learned a lot about what it’s like to have a lot of attention on you for something you did. That’s something I wasn’t really prepared to deal with the first time around,” he said. “Over this past couple weeks, (I’ve) just been really grateful for the number of people who have kind of showed up to support me.”

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