By COREY LEVITAN & DAVID STROUD
I’ll take “things you never think will happen to you in a million years” for $100, Alex.
It was 1994, and my girlfriend at the time, Julie, lived in a house owned by legendary Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. This already sounds much kinkier than it was.
Julie roomed with two realtor dudes who sold celebrity homes. They were so good at it, the celebs let them reside in the houses while selling them. And because Julie had tons of celebrity contacts due to being a personal assistant, they let her live with them in exchange.
These were $10 million mansions with elevators, floor-to-ceiling windows and spiral staircases. And I’m sure no female guest was ever told about the rent-free part. (Los Angeles is the town for house-of-mirrors scams like this. Sorry, if somebody at a bar tells you that they’re a “producer,” they’re lying.) The only downside for them was having to move every 4 or 5 months. But the six-figure commissions didn’t make that much of a downside.
So I spent my first night in Julie’s new house. It was a spectacular, modern, two-story white number up one of those winding Mulholland driveways. Julie always had the third-largest room, but even that was ridiculously ginormous. This one faced the backyard, overlooking a meticulously maintained pool and Jacuzzi.
Julie told me the house belonged to Alex Trebek, but that he wanted to sell it because it was his bachelor pad. He and his wife were living somewhere else and Alex apparently held onto the old house until he was sure the marriage would last. (And it has—for 24 years.)
Whatever. I just wanted some sex. And I apparently got it, because the next memory I can access is being awakened at 7 the next morning in my birthday suit. The problem was that Julie and I were not alone. A man was standing in the backyard outside our room in a T-shirt and jeans shorts. He wasn’t one of the realtor dudes because he was much older. And if he was a burglar, he was a unique one because he was spraying a hose, the sound of which woke me up. Oh, the pool guy, right. (Rich people.) But, in his greying mustache and quasi-fro, this pool guy seemed strangely familiar.
“Oh, that’s just Alex,” Julie said. “He does this all the time. He likes tinkering around with the house.”
I love how nonchalant native Angelenos are about celebrities. So, one of the most famous people in the world is in my backyard pressure-washing the Jacuzzi. What else is new?
Um, the drapes were wide open and I was naked, that’s what. And it seemed to me that someone who cared enough about a house in which he no longer lived to meticulously maintain its backyard was also someone who probably cared whether a short, hairy Jew he didn’t know was lying around naked inside of it.
Besides, if I were ever to meet Alex Trebek—because he seems like he’d be kind of a cool guy to meet—I would want my clothes involved in some way.
“Go back to sleep,” Julie said. “It’s no big deal.”
But it was to me. So I ran to the drapes. But they were the kind that close from a control panel, not a pulley. (Rich people again.) And while I stood there slowly arriving at this discovery, I neglected to notice being noticed. Alex had walked over to the window to confirm what he thought he saw.
When I looked up again, it was me and Alex Trebek, separated only by floor-to-ceiling glass, each with our respective hoses. When a face that you watch on TV every day watches you back in such detail, there are no words. It is one of those surreal life moments, like the crowning of a baby’s head or a car accident, that seems to last 5 minutes but is probably more like 5 seconds. All you can each manage to do is be in shock.
Couldn’t Julie’s roommates have been trying to sell Pamela Anderson’s old house?
Then again, be careful what you wish for, because another thing that happens when a celebrity stares at your penis is a confusing series of thoughts. It’s not exactly like, “Damn, I wish I were harder for Alex Trebek.” But when the house is 65 degrees, you have no clothes on, and your girlfriend took care of you the night before, there are things that you sort of want to explain.
Suddenly, one of us blinked. Actually, it was more like one of those winky nods that Jeopardy contestants get when they forget to phrase their answer in the form of a question. In this case, however, it communicated: “Maybe you should get some clothes on and get the eff out of my house.” So I did.
Since that day, I can’t sleep in a room with open drapes. Also, I can’t have sex if the Jeopardy music is in my head.