Buzzy (née Austin) Cohen is the most divisive Jeopardy contestant since your ex-boyfriend Tom appeared on the show and couldn’t stop staring at himself in the camera. Cohen has won eight straight episodes (continuously trolling Alex Trebek throughout), and will appear on the show again tonight.
Those who love him see a goofy-cute Jewish guy you could happily bring home to mom. Those who hate him think he is a punchable tool. I hopped on the phone with Buzzy this afternoon to ask him the important questions, such as, Has anybody punched you yet? and You gettin’ a lot of sexts?
On his sudden internet popularity:
“My friends were like, ‘Can you just do something that we can turn into a GIF? And that’s when the dirt-off-your-shoulder-wiping and the hair thing started. I really didn’t expect it to go anywhere. I knew there would be some reaction to the kind of Trebek-teasing stuff, but I didn’t expect it to be at this level.”
On being recognized:
“The weirdest place I was recognized was I went out to Joshua Tree and I was at this thing called the Integratron. It’s this weird hippie New Agey thing. It’s like they do sound baths, and I just thought it would be cool and weird and interesting. And one of the people in the sound baths was like, ‘Is your name Buzzy?’ I wasn’t wearing a suit, but she recognized me.”
On what his wife thinks of him being a Twitter heartthrob:
“My wife thinks it’s hilarious. Whenever people are like, ‘Oh, Buzzy’s so hot and smart and funny,’ she’s like, ‘ Yeah, I know. I agree with you.”
On all those sexts he’s receiving:
“There are some really interesting, very forward people that have messaged me things you can’t print on your website. I just ignore them. A part of me wonders: Do they really think I’m gonna respond? No, you totally don’t seem crazy for hitting up a stranger that you saw on TV! The thing is, I’m sure they’re just having fun too. But both men and women have sexted me, by the way.
On his hair-and-makeup routine for the show:
“I do it myself. I actually got it trimmed up like a couple days before, but I’m really not a morning person and you have to be at the studio at 7:45 a.m., so I just kind of threw some stuff in there and put some fingers in it. They do have a hair-and-makeup department — it’s more like a makeup department to make sure you’re not shiny — and I would just ask them, ‘Hey, does everything look alright?’”
On his signature glasses:
“They’re a French brand called Veu DC. I only have one pair, but I do have a backup pair that I haven’t put my prescription in yet. I have a 2-year-old daughter who likes pulling them off my face, so I wanted to make sure when she inevitably breaks them that I have a backup pair.”
On whether or not he’s gotten punched yet:
“No, no one other than the normal people who try to punch me in the face.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.