Upspeak for $500 please, Alex? Jeopardy! contestant Laura Ashby is causing quite a stir on the Internet — and not because she’s brilliant and was the reigning champ going into the Tuesday, Nov. 24, episode, but because of the tone of her voice.
In clips uploaded to the Web, the Marietta, Ga., native can be heard calling out categories. As she does, her voice reveals a bit of her Southern inflection combined with upspeak, where one’s voice rises at the end of statements to make them sound like questions. And it’s not a mix that viewers of the long-running game show seemed to like, and many shared their annoyance with it on Twitter.
She reminded me of Lily Tomlin as the “telephone operator”. The difference is Lily was funny. #JeopardyLaura
— Connie Fischer (@connajean) November 25, 2015
— miss world (@kthanksbyye) November 24, 2015
— Adam (@alm02060) November 24, 2015
One Twitter user even went so far as to create an account that tweets as Ashby’s voice.
While fans of the show may have found her tone annoying, attorney Ashby is hardly the first person to use upspeak on the show. According to the Smithsonian, sociologist Thomas Linneman studied 100 episodes of Jeopardy! and found that female contestants used upspeak more than 1.5 times more than male contestants, and that women who gave the incorrect answer used upspeak 76 percent of the time.
But regardless of what you think of Ashby’s tone, she’s walking away with an extra $40,000 in her pocket after her winning streak ended Tuesday night.
She even had a few zingers to share on Twitter:
— Laura Ashby (@WhoIsLauraAshby) November 24, 2015
All right Internet, you can go back to teasing cats with cucumbers now #JeopardyLaura
— Laura Ashby (@WhoIsLauraAshby) November 25, 2015
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