Madison ‘nerd’ achieves dream of appearing on ‘Jeopardy’

Madison ‘nerd’ achieves dream of appearing on ‘Jeopardy’


MADISON — After a decade of on-and-off attempts to compete on Jeopardy, Larry P. Wellington finally achieved his dream, with his episode airing Wednesday afternoon. 

Wellington said that nearly a year after taking the first test, he finally received the call to fly to Hollywood to compete to be the next Jeopardy champion. 

Wellington explained he’s taken the test, which is offered a couple of times a year, on and off for about ten years. A little over a year ago, he tried again, this time getting tapped for Round II. 

The first test consists of 50 questions and you don’t know if you pass or fail. If you pass, you get selected for the second round, which is another 50-question test and a brief Zoom interview. 

After passing, he was placed in the contestant pool, where he had 18 months to be selected, or he would have to start all over again. 

“It was almost a year to the day that I was told I was in the contestant pool I got the call I was going,” he said. 

With a month’s notice, Wellington soon prepped for his taping on May 21. 

Wellington flew out to L.A. on his own dime, saying the show does not pay for hotel or airfare. 

He had to be at the sound stage at 7:45 a.m. to begin taping and it was all very busy, calling the crew some of the nicest people in the world. 

As for host Ken Jennings, Wellington said he was “very personable,” but they didn’t get much one-on-one time because of the schedule. 

He said they did a rehearsal game so the contestants could familiarize themselves with the process. As for his episode, he couldn’t reveal any details at all. Nothing about the outcome, not even his favorite category, until the episode aired.

The episode aired after press time. 

Wellington lives in Madison with his wife Jessica, his 12-year-old daughter Harper, and his 9-year-old son Beckett. 

He said growing up he played Trivial Pursuit with family and did Quiz Bowl in junior high at MRA. Now, he participates in bar trivia and just won a regional championship. He soon heads off to Tunica for the state finals. 

“My favorite part about the whole experience was meeting our Jeopardy people,” he said. “The other contestants were amazing. We all had this one thing in common — we’re nerds.”

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