WKU faculty member Guy Jordan never expected that he’d make an unprecedented, record-breaking run on ABC’s “500 Questions” – or become hit on social media in the process.
“I’ve been following everything on Facebook and everything on Twitter. It’s wild,” Jordan said Thursday. “I’m glad everybody watched.”
Jordan, an associate professor of art history in WKU’s Art Department and coach of WKU’s academic quiz bowl team, entered “500 Questions” as a challenger on Saturday night’s show and began his run as a contestant on Tuesday night. By the time Season 2 of “500 Questions” ended on Wednesday night, Jordan had reached a record 241 questions, survived multiple battles from several challengers and earned $169,000.
“I never even dreamed this would blow up the way it did,” he said of his experience on the show.
While his family (wife Carol, a WKU theatre faculty member, and son Ben) watched the finale in Bowling Green, Jordan was in the Philadelphia suburb of Haddon Heights, New Jersey, watching with his mother, Joanne, and sharing in her excitement as he continued his run.
“It’s always surreal to see yourself on TV, but we had a great time watching,” he said.
Jordan also enjoyed interacting with host Dan Harris and with the audience, which gave him a standing ovation when the show concluded.
“The game itself is absolutely fun to plan. It’s really fun to see how long you can survive without blowing three in a row,” he said.
As he completed the various 30-question rounds, Jordan showed his excitement with his happy dance. “My 8-year-old came up with that. He does that dance when he’s excited so we’ve made that our dance,” Jordan said.
The happy dance and a standing ovation weren’t on Jordan’s mind when he entered the game as a challenger. “In my course of thinking, the biggest accomplishment is getting on the show at all,” said Jordan, who has participated in trivia competitions for about 25 years. “As a challenger, you just don’t know. You’re really depending on the questions to go your way.
“When I got to be a contestant, I felt like I knew enough to get 18 to 20 a round. I’ve been doing this a long time. I know what I know and what I don’t know.”
Jordan’s strategy to avoid missing three in a row involved trying to clear the board of his worst categories (things like country music or celebrity fashion) and keeping his safe/rescue categories (things like philosophy, the Renaissance or the Supreme Court). And he wanted to avoid any battles when he had two misses.
“Battling is really hard when you’ve been standing up there a long time,” he said. “I hunted for battles that would be with nothing on the line.”
Even when he faced elimination, Jordan was able to come up with a correct answer to clear his misses.
“It’s not what you know, but how well you know yourself,” he said.
Jordan also was relieved when a few Kentucky questions, including one about the Corvette, appeared on the board. “I would have gotten those anyway and I knew the Corvette clue from my college days. But it was really cool to see that one come up and it was like Bowling Green was saying hello.”
As he mentioned during the show, Jordan plans to use some of his winnings for an art history study abroad trip this fall. “We’re going to help students go to Venice,” he said.
Jordan said he was worn down and exhausted when his 241-question run on the show ended. “It really is grueling but I’m not complaining about it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”