West Islip native Dan McShane returns to 'Jeopardy!' for Tournament of Champions
People treat Dan McShane a little bit differently since he competed on five episodes of “Jeopardy!” last year, walking away with $64,001.
Often, they expect him to pick up the check at bars and restaurants, he said, and insist on speaking to him in the form of a question.
“Everyone thinks it’s funny to say things in the form of a question when they’re talking to me,” said the 25-year-old West Islip native. “That gets old pretty fast.”
But he’s not so tired of it that he would turn down an opportunity to return to “Jeopardy!”.
In December, McShane got an email from the game show’s producers informing him he had qualified for the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions.
The tournament, which will air for two weeks beginning Feb. 13, consists of players that have won the most games since the last Tournament of Champions in November 2011. The 15 contestants that qualified will compete for a $250,000 grand prize.
“It was pretty surprising,” said McShane, who now lives in Brooklyn. “I think I just barely qualified.”
He said he started studying for the tournament right away, brushing up on areas in which he felt rusty like classical music, Shakespeare and poetry. Though he can’t reveal much of what happened while taping the show Jan. 15 and 16, he said he was glad he had taken time to delve into the U.S. presidents, learning more than just who they were and in what order they served.
He said the tournament is a tougher competition because of the caliber of the competitors and that was reflected in the questions posed.
“You have to think more,” he said. “It’s a lot more obscure knowledge and you’re playing against much better opponents.”
Still, he said, being on the show for a second round of competition put everyone on the same playing field and reduced nervousness.
“It made it much less of a pressure-packed situation,” he said.
After receiving his winnings last year, McShane quit his day job working for a healthy living website — instead he started bartending a few nights a week — and in the fall spent a month traveling in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Otherwise, he said, having competed on the show still hasn’t really sunk in.
“I never really thought I’d actually get on the show or anything,” he said. “To get on it, then to win and then to get on Tournament of Champions is crazy.”