Satish Chandrasekhar is somewhat of a cult hero at The S Thing offices. It's not very often people get to be on TV and normally it's for a glimmering moment, forgotten by the next day. What Satish managed to achieve in his 30 min slot is outstanding. Not only did Satish play against one of Jeopardy's Top 3 players of all time, he almost beat him. He also had a sentimental moment with the late, and longstanding host Alex Trebek and mused about their similar mustaches. Of all his memorable moments on the show, Satish caught the attention of millions of viewers by adorning his name tag with a massive, big S thing. It is perhaps the first time in TV game-show history that the S has been used with such high visibility.
We had to track down Satish and ask him about his experiences on the show, to learn any off-screen secrets and hear his inside-story on why he chose the S.
Satish Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate you talking with us & I know our fans will get a big kick out of hearing from you. During the airing of your show, we had so many people send your picture in; you may not have won but you’re a winner in our eyes.
First off, tell me a little about yourself, where are you from and what gets you out of bed in the morning?
I was a medical student, but as of last weekend’s graduation, I am officially a doctor. Going to residency to become an orthopedic surgeon. Desire to help people regain lost function as well as a desire to keep learning and be a part of innovating my field helps me get up in the mornings. Also to paraphrase the Indianapolis Colts’ (I’m a die hard colts fan) motto this past season, “get 1% better every day”, that is the ultimate goal that keeps me going.
I’ve been watching jeopardy ever since I was a kid. My family is big into it and my parents have watched since the late 80s so it’s always been a dream to get on and meet Alex Trebek and be on the same stage as some of the greats like Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, etc, and on the same stage at the same time in the case of James Holzhauer, the current reigning champ which was pretty cool. However I only tried out just for fun since I like doing the online test every now and then and it just went from there.
What made you want to go on Jeopardy? Was it a lifelong dream or just some fun?
Can you tell us a little about the process to apply and when you finally learnt that you’d be on the show? Did you practice and watch reruns none stop?Process to apply started with taking the online test which comes out 1-2 times a year. Would definitely recommend to anyone as it’s free and you don’t really lose much for trying out. Next step was an in person audition which involved another test and a mock game with the buzzer to assess personality. Actually got the call that I’d be on while I was on a residency interview so that definitely amped me up during a pretty stressful time in my life. Can’t say I really practiced nonstop since I was still in the middle of medical school rotations, but I did go through a lot of the recent questions from the j! archive
As most people who watched the show know, you decided to brilliantly adorn your name with the S Thing. When and why did you decide to include this? Was it at a whim or did you always think you would include it? You have 2 S’s in your name, were you tempted to do the S thing twice?
Ah the S thing. That was actually something that came out of a discussion between myself and my classmate/friend Michael once I found out I was on the show. He kinda challenged me to use it and I thought it would be a cool idea since it reminded me a lot of my childhood school days. Only thought to use it once in my name but opportunity missed I guess.
Were you nervous that you wouldn’t be allowed to use the S?
Wasn’t too nervous about using it because I figured it was tame enough to use and that worst case they would tell me if I had to change it (which I figured would be pretty low probability). Have also seen a ton of folks do weird stuff with their names so I figured there was precedent set before.
Did Alex or anyone ask you what it was before you aired?
No Alex didn’t ask me about it, but both my fellow competitors (James Holzhauer and Marshall Shelburne, both great guys to talk with and play against) commented on it as they are young enough to have had the same nostalgia about it that I did.
How many chances did you get at writing your name & did you nail it first go?!
I was actually pretty proud that I nailed it on the first try. Although I did have a rehearsal on that day beforehand and used it there too so if you count that maybe it was my second?
Any secrets we should know about Alex Trebeck or Jeopardy
Not too many secrets to know. Alex Trebek is exactly how you would expect him to be. Very nice man, very witty, and I wish I could have spent more time talking to him. Main thing is that the rest of the crew (Maggie, Lauri, Corina, etc) are just the nicest most awesome folks and they’re all completely behind the scenes. Most viewers probably don’t even know they exist, but they’re who helps keep the show running smoothly.
Can you tell me growing up what you called the S and what it means to you?
I just called it the S, and even now I call it the “elementary/middle school S thing”. At first I saw a bunch of my friends drawing it and I was jealous until someone finally taught me how to draw it and the rest is history I guess