Nerds Are Mad At Alex Trebek For Calling Them 'Losers'
The let's-meet-the-contestants portion of Jeopardy! is, depending on how you see it, either the worst or best part of the show. In this portion, common denizens are forced to talk about their interests in fly fishing, or porcelain miniatures, or shih tzus, or parasailing, or tarot cards. And sometimes you get this guy, who told a long, insufferable story about confusing the moon with the sun.
Trebek, for his part, keeps a level head and feigns some modicum of interest. He asks contestants about their lives, he listens, he makes a bland comment, then moves on to the next person. This is how it usually goes. But, for some reason, he decided to drop a sick burn on contestant Susan Cole during Wednesday's show. Cole expounded on her interest in "nerdcore hip-hop," describing the community as a group that raps about "video games" and "having a hard time meeting romantic partners." To this Trebek said, "Losers, in other words."
That major diss was pretty out-of-the-blue, and it sparked off a wave of backlash from a united coalition of card-carying nerds. It also brought on the #suckittrebek hashtag, a nod to Will Ferrell's parody of Trebek on Saturday Night Live:
Of course, members of the nerdcore community were riled up. Before the televised burn happened, rapper MC Frontalot had been rooting for Cole:
Getting reports of a nerdcore fan on Jeopardy. Let us all support this contestant, using our goodest vibes.— MC Frontalot (@mc_frontalot) October 13, 2016
Post-burn, however, all the good vibes had dissipated. Nerdcore rappers sounded off on Trebek, and rapper Mega Ran responded by spitting some fire back at Trebek. "Alex Trebek, you lost a lotta respect," he rapped. "This host gets roasted on SNL yearly. He hosts a show for nerds and doesn't know it, clearly." He's got even more burns in his arsenal:
Other rappers and emcees sounded off on Trebek as well:
Even Wheatus chimed in on the matter for some reason:
By now you may be wondering what, exactly, nerdcore is. On the surface, it's hip-hop that revolves around geekery (think: Dungeons and Dragons). And some of the beats are based on 8-bit jingles you'd find on your Super Nintendo. But there's more than what meets the eye, apparently. As explained at Greenlabel, a culture website sponsored by, uh, Mountain Dew, nerdcore sprouted in the mid-90s as commerce and pop-culture were locked in for a head-on collision:
In the ’90s, hip-hop intersected with nerd culture thanks to jaded Hollywood executives, who did their best to sell stuff by tacking hip-hop on in the same way your dad put on his “cool” shirt when your friends came over. The Simpsons was probably the most egregious use of this, with “Do the Bartman” and “Big Big Trouble,” but my personal favorite remains Deep Blue Sea’s ridiculous hip hop soundtrack, where LL Cool J honestly tries to make us take a song about super-intelligent sharks seriously. Vanilla Ice got pulled into the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, and MC Hammer in the first Addams Family. No one in Hollywood understood why hip-hop was popular, only that it was popular. It was rap for marketing’s sake. Which brings us back to nerdcore as evolution.
The aforementioned Mega Ran is a major figure in the genre. His expertise lays in rapping about 90s video games like Mega Man, Killer Instinct, and Castlevania (remember Castlevania??), though he also ventures into other matters of pop culture. Here's a track about Stranger Things, Netflix's latest runaway hit: