Heard on the Hill

Staffer Comes up Short on ‘Jeopardy!’

Welch aide Isaac Loeb came prepared for D.C. and politics questions, but he got none

Isaac Loeb, a legislative aide for Vermont Democratic Rep. Peter Welch, tried twice before to be selected for “Jeopardy.” (Courtesy of Rep. Peter Welch's office)

Isaac Loeb, a Capitol Hill staffer, went on “Jeopardy!” armed for political and government questions but didn’t get a one.

“They love asking questions about D.C.,” said Loeb, 28. a legislative assistant for Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. “They’ll have ones about the Smithsonian or landmarks of D.C. but there weren’t any of those. I had access to all the museums, which is a wealth of ‘Jeopardy!’ knowledge. The American History Museum was pretty clutch in that regard.”

Loeb appeared on the popular trivia show on Monday. He went into Final Jeopardy with $2,600 and bet it all in the final round to go home with $5,200.

But he finished third after the reigning champ, an English teacher from Pennsylvania, and a PhD student from Georgia.

Loeb, who is originally from Vermont, is a lifelong fan of the show and a self-proclaimed “trivia nerd.” He participated in scholars bowl in high school, was on the debate team in college and now hosts trivia at Exiles, a U Street bar, on Tuesday nights.

He tried to get on “Jeopardy!” twice before, but never got a call back. At the end of May, he was asked to try out and two weeks later he got a call to fly to California to tape.

He taped Monday’s episode in mid-July so he had about a month to prepare.

“Something that they tell you to prepare is to watch a lot of episodes of the show,” he said. “They love asking about political things. They love asking about elected officials. They love asking legislative questions and questions about the Constitution.”

But, he got none of those.

Loeb plays tennis player and there was a U.S. Open category. “That was one where I figured I would go directly to it when I had the chance,” he said. He answered two questions before the PhD jumped in.

During the segment in which host Alex Trebek asks the contestants about themselves, Loeb told a story about when he had a meeting in a hallway and Stephen Colbert approached on a hoverboard.

“I was literally speechless, my jaw actually dropped, I didn’t say a word the entire time,” he said.

After a tough loss, he returned to work on Capitol Hill on Tuesday with a lot of fans.

“[Welch] was so excited. He watched the episode. He texted me during it. It was very encouraging,” he said. “He was incredibly supportive about the whole thing.”

He also received a lot of emails from people who said they saw him on TV.

Watch: The Butler Did It, Auctioneering in Committee and the Good Husband: Congressional Hits and Misses— Greg Tourial contributed to this report.

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