Pot Smoker Cheech Marin Beats Anderson Cooper on Jeopardy

Although he did far better than his colleagues Wolf Blitzer and Soledad O'Brien, CNN's Anderson Cooper actually lost to famed pot smoker Cheech Marin on Celebrity Jeopardy Thursday.

"That's right, I lost to Cheech Marin," Cooper told his 360 viewers last night.

"Cheech of 'Cheech and Chong' fame, pot-smoking star of blunt-burning films like 'Up in Smoke,' 'Next Smoke' and 'Still Smoking,'" the CNN host continued.

"He not only beat me; he crushed me" (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary):

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: All right, time for tonight's "Shot." CNN anchors in jeopardy because they've appeared on "Jeopardy," the game show. Tonight, I appeared on "Jeopardy" and, well, how do I say this? I lost. Not only did I lose; I lost to this guy.

That's right, I lost to Cheech Marin. Cheech of "Cheech and Chong" fame, pot-smoking star of blunt-burning films like "Up in Smoke," "Next Smoke" and "Still Smoking." He not only beat me; he crushed me.

Now, before I show you how badly I did tonight on "Jeopardy," let me just mention in my own defense that I actually won "Jeopardy" the first time around I went on it. Here's me in my "Jeopardy" prime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX TREBEK, HOST OF "JEOPARDY": Anderson.

COOPER: Who is Maria Callas?

TREBEK: Correct.

COOPER: What is Germany?

TREBEK: West Germany, correct.

COOPER: Who is Archie Bunker?

TREBEK: He's the one.

Canada is right.

That's it.

That's it.

Yes, indeed.

You're the leader and the winner today. That means your charity, Anderson, gets $50,000.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: OK, so I beat Maria Bartiromo and I beat Kweisi Mfume, for the record. So I was pretty confident going into this tournament. But this was actually a tournament of people who had already won on "Jeopardy," and so it was all people who knew how to play the game.

Now, I must admit I was even more confident when I heard I was up against Cheech Marin. I admit, I thought his reflexes would be slow, not to mention his synapses, perhaps, but I was so very, very wrong.

Great. Cooper thought he'd have better reflexes than the pot smoker. As you'll see, nothing could be further from the truth:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TREBEK: This guy, as Conan the Barbarian, on what's best in life: "To crush your enemies and to hear the lamentation of their women" -- Cheech.

CHEECH MARIN, COMEDIAN: Who's Arnold Schwarzenegger?

TREBEK: Yes.

Cheech again. MARIN: Who is Al Pacino?

TREBEK: Right.

Cheech?

MARIN: What is pillow talk?

TREBEK: Right.

Cheech?

MARIN: What is never-never land.

TREBEK: Yes.

Cheech?

MARIN: What is Camelot?

TREBEK: Yes.

Cheech?

MARIN: What is a baster?

TREBEK: Yes.

You're the winner today. Your charity will get $50,000. And Aisha and Anderson's charity, $25,000 each.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So I admit it: I lost to Cheech Marin. I tied for second with comedian Aisha Taylor, who's also a great player.

And joining us now is the two-time "Jeopardy" champion, the man who crushed me, Cheech Marin.

Cheech, congratulations.

MARIN: Thank you very much, Anderson.

COOPER: Have you been -- have people just been congratulating you? Do they pour out onto the streets to congratulate you? Because people have been mocking me mercilessly since this thing aired tonight.

MARIN: It's tough when you can't hit a big league curveball, man. That's the separation point.

COOPER: So Cheech, I've got to admit: I thought I would crush you. I thought -- I thought all -- I'd seen all those movies back then. Clearly you were not inhaling in those films. Because you...

MARIN: I have lost a couple of steps.

COOPER: Also, you know, it's all about, obviously, sort of what you know, but also the buzzer. I think you -- you were in, like -- you had the Zen of the buzzer whereas I think I was just slow on the draw. Because I kept clicking on it and not getting it.

Nice. So much for having better reflexes, Anderson:

MARIN: Yes, if you can't get in, you can't answer. It's all -- the first time I won, the writers came up to me and says, "Are you a musician?"

And I go, "Yes."

They said, "Oh, well, we thought so because of your timing." It's all timing.

But it got better, for next Cooper sought buzzer clicking assistance from the pot smoker:

COOPER: Now, see, I was doing the thumb. I peeked at you, and I think you were doing the index finger. That's right.

MARIN: I learned that from a track coach when I was in high school with a stopwatch timer. He said it's a much faster reflex in the index finger.

COOPER: When I really started panicking I thought I was going to switch to your method, but then thought I shouldn't, you know, switch my gait in mid-stride. And nevertheless, I still went on and lost.

MARIN: That's what I try to do. I try to confuse my opponents.

COOPER: And Aisha Taylor was great, as well. You all came to play and to win. I've got to say, one of the more depressing moments was right after this thing aired. I got this e-mail from Soledad O'Brien. I'm going to hold it up on my BlackBerry. I don't know if everybody can see that.

It says, "Cheech Marin beat you?" That was the tag line. And then she said seriously, "Seriously, that's sad."

Yes, which I thought was particularly brutal.

Now I should also mention that -- do we know what Soledad's final score when she played? I don't know her final score, but Soledad lost. And she lost -- she came in third, actually.

And Wolf Blitzer actually played this year as well, and he came in third. Not only did he come in third, look at that. Negative $3,600. So at least -- yes, in the realm of CNN anchors, I actually won, in that sense.

MARIN: Yes, damning but faint praise.

COOPER: But you were a great, great competitor. And we would love to -- you know, if you're ever going to be on again, let me know, because I do not want to be on that episode.

MARIN: Oh, well, thank you. It's great, because we get to compete for a charity. And I love my charity, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. And if you can win $1 million, that's going to make a great deal of difference.

COOPER: I know. And I was playing for Friends Indeed, which does grief counseling for people with life-threatening illnesses and their caregivers. And I wanted to win that $1 million for them. Unfortunately, I only won $25,000. But good luck. You're going to another round, right?

MARIN: Yes, we do. It's coming up pretty soon, too.

COOPER: All right. Well, I'll be rooting for you. Thank you very much, Cheech.

MARIN: Thank you very much, Anderson.

COOPER: Cheech can be seen shortly in the movie "The Perfect Game," opening in theaters April 16. And -- which is the true story of the winning 1957 Monterey, Mexico, Little League baseball game.

And you can also see Cheech with Tommy Chong on their "Get it Legal" tour. "Get it Legal." I cannot believe I lost to you, Cheech.

MARIN: See you in Edmonton on Saturday.

COOPER: All right, all right. Cool, take care.

Folks should recall that Wolf Blitzer REALLY got crushed at this game last September, compiling a horrific minus $4,600 while losing to comedian Andy Richter. The following month, Soledad O'Brien also came in third behind actor Michael McKean and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

As such, in the course of six months, one CNN host lost to a comedian, another to a basketball player and the guy who played Lenny on "Laverne and Shirley," while another got beaten by a famed pot smoker.

I guess CNN doesn't hire its personalities based on intellectual capacity.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.