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It seems like something that should’ve happened long ago but, for the first time, “Jeopardy!” recently aired a special tournament featuring college professors as the contestants.
The two-week tournament featured many top-notch teachers, but only one could finish at the head of the class. Dr. Sam Buttrey, an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Operations Research department, walked away with the $100,000 grand prize and an invitation to the upcoming Tournament of Champions.
Buttrey caught the attention of some viewers early on in the tournament and not just for his quick answers. Some “Jeopardy!” fans noticed the professor was the spitting image of comedy icon Steve Martin. Twitter user @BenPlatt1 was one of the viewers who pointed out the similarity.
“Really pulling for [Steve Martin] in the #Jeopardy professor’s tournament,” @BenPlatt1 posted on Dec. 16, with a shot of Buttrey on his screen.
Really pulling for @SteveMartinToGo in the #Jeopardy professor’s tournament pic.twitter.com/OAxxiCtEVC
— Ben Platt (@BenPlatt1) December 16, 2021
The comparisons continued on social media and eventually reached the legendary comic, who had to put his own special touch into the conversation after his doppelgänger won the grand prize.
“So great to split the prize money with Sam!” Martin tweeted following Buttrey’s big victory, retweeting a congratulations that was posted by the show itself. In the photos, you can really see that the likeness is uncanny.
So great to split the prize money with Sam! https://t.co/CBPQxyJHHF
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) December 19, 2021
While Martin was only joking, “Jeopardy!” executives were quite serious when they responded to his tweet soon afterward.
“We would love to have you on ‘Jeopardy!’ anytime, in any capacity!” the show posted.
We would love to have you on Jeopardy! anytime, in any capacity! https://t.co/fhXwIYt9wz
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) December 19, 2021
It would be fun to have Martin on the show as a contestant or a guest host but we wonder if he’s too busy filming a project or writing another book or putting out another Grammy-winning album of bluegrass music to make time in his busy schedule. And, the guest host idea might be done for a while after the crazy search to find a replacement for the beloved Alex Trebek, who died in November 2020.
As for the newly crowned “Jeopardy!” champion, Buttrey told the Navy Press Office he enjoyed his time on the game show and the comparisons to his celebrity twin. And, he showed off a wit to rival Martin’s, as well.
“It’s been very entertaining for me — I can’t speak for Steve,” Buttrey said in a statement. “Steve Martin is not only hilarious, [but] he’s also a serious author and talented musician. I have been told I look like him for years, but I think I saw the resemblance most clearly on the ‘Jeopardy!’ cameras. Sadly, though, I never get compared to the famously good-looking people like George Clooney or Brad Pitt or Halle Berry. Still, this instant internet-era fame has been a little weird and a little fun — I don’t expect to experience anything like this again.”
Buttrey may get another 15 minutes of fame when he takes the “Jeopardy!” stage again in the 2022 Tournament of Champions, where he’ll compete against the best players of the past year, including reigning champion Amy Schneider, who recently became the fourth highest-earning winner in total money during regular-season play.
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