Answer: This Park Slope brainiac has moved beyond the world of game show competition and entered the rough and tumble world of Brooklyn politics to endorse a candidate for the City Council seat being vacated by David Yassky.
Question: Who is seven-time “Jeopardy” winner and Evan Thies supporter Justin Bernbach?
That’s right, the former factoid champ hosted a trivia night fundraiser on Wednesday night at Union Hall for Thies, who is looking to succeed his former boss in the Council.
Answer: “It’s not a philosophical thing. He’s a smart guy and a hard worker,” said the human encyclopedia in response to the question of why he’s supporting Thies. “He’s shown a lot of love for and interest in the district.”
But even before Bernbach became a fan of Thies, the candidate was already an admirer of Bernbach’s success on the long-running quiz show.
Bernbach dazzled armchair contestants around Kings County in May when “Jeopardy” televised his seven-game winning streak. He racked up $155,000 during his run.
“I’ve known him about a month [since] I sent him a letter congratulating him,” said Thies. “He called and said he checked us out online and wanted to help us out. We had coffee.”
What started with a cordial note and a friendly cup of joe has blossomed into a political alliance that may (or very well may not) shake up the seven-way race to represent the district stretching from Greenpoint to Brooklyn Heights to Park Slope.
At Union Hall, donors gave $10 for three rounds of questions about Brooklyn issues.
Neither Thies nor Bernbach flexed his mental muscles that night. Thies was out of the competition because his campaign staff wrote the brain teasers, and Bernbach did not compete because, admittedly, he’s not smart enough.
“The aura would be wiped away if I competed,” Bernbach, a lobbyist for American Airlines, told The Brooklyn Paper. “And the aura is all I have these days.
“If the subject matter is mainly about Brooklyn issues, there are a lot of people who could beat me. If there were more regular ‘Jeopardy’ categories, I’d get competitive.”
He wasn’t a wallflower, however. After the teams of two were whittled down through two rounds of competition, Bernbach took the stage and did his best Alex Trebek impersonation for the final question period.
Bernbach has a pretty good track record backing winners. Last year, he donated $300 to the historic campaign of Barack Obama.
Trivia night fundraiser was on Wednesday, July 8. Visit https://evanthies.com for info.