Jeopardy! Host Ken Jennings Admits He 'Gets Mean' When Contestants Neglect to Follow One Important Rule

Ken Jennings admits that one thing on Jeopardy! makes him mean. The game show host gets meaner if contestants don't follow a rule.

Ken revealed this on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast. Hosts Sarah Foss and Buzzy Cohen talked to Masters Champion, Victoria Groce first. After her segment, they played Host Chat.

An audience member asked Ken what happens when a contestant doesn't answer in the form of a question. "Oh, boy. Do you know what hanging, drawing, and quartering is?" Ken joked as the audience laughed. "No."

"The rules are different in the first and second rounds," Ken explained. "In the first round, I remind them sternly. I say, 'Yes, but please remember your phrases'."

"In the second round, I might give them a second to figure it out. Then I have to rule against them. 'Oh, it was Grover Cleveland, but you had to say, 'What is Grover Cleveland?''" Ken said. "It gets meaner as the game progresses, just like life you will find," he added.

Ken knows the rules better than anyone, having been a player himself. He first appeared in 2004, winning 72 consecutive games and $37,201 just from his first match.

"Next month is the 20th anniversary of my first appearance on Jeopardy!," Ken told New York-based ABC affiliate WABC. "I was a mildly unhappy computer programmer, thinking I should do something different with my life."

Ken went on Jeopardy! "as a whim." He joked, "There's another world where I'm a mildly unhappy computer programmer and Dr. Oz is hosting 'Jeopardy!' It's a very dark universe."

Recently, a player corrected Ken during the Jeopardy! Masters final on May 22. Yogesh Raut interrupted Ken for a wrong pronunciation. Yogesh answered, “Who is Everest,” pronouncing it Ee-ver-est.

Ken repeated the answer but said Ever-est. “He pronounced it Ee-ver-est," Yogesh clapped back. Ken chuckled when the camera cut to him.

Ken got his revenge when former NFL player Jason Kelce came on to read a clue. "I always smile knowingly when I hear their song, ‘Ah, push it, push it good, ah push it, push it real good,'" he said.

“Who was Salt and Pepa?” Yogesh said, emphasizing "and." "Yes, I think they might’ve said, Salt-N-Pepa, but you got it," Ken said. “Like Ee-ver-est."