Losing his patience? Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak yelled at a contestant one day after going viral for jokingly tackling a winner.
During the Wednesday, March 22, episode of the game show, contestant Nicole from Peachtree, Georgia, noted that she was ready to solve the puzzle with two unknown letters remaining.
Sajak, 76 — who has hosted the program since 1981 — replied by loudly exclaiming, “Please, solve the darn puzzle!”
After Nicole shared her correct final guess, Sajak said, “It’s a horrible moment when you know that, ‘Everyone in America knows what this is, why don’t I?’ But you got it.”
He added: “We appreciate that you pretended you didn’t know until the end. You increased the drama and that was great.”
The television host’s comments come after he jokingly tackled a contestant named Fred during the show’s Tuesday, March 21, episode.
Fred explained earlier in the broadcast that he works as a professional wrestler in addition to other gigs including drama teacher and bar trivia host. After the athlete racked up an impressive $75,800 in prize money, Sajak asked the other contestants whether they wanted him “to body-slam [Fred] for you” because of his wrestling background.
The Illinois native then jokingly pinned the Wheel of Fortune champion’s left arm behind his back and grabbed hold of his face, attempting to put him in a headlock.
Some viewers were alarmed by Sajak’s attempt at humor.
“It was only a matter of time. After four decades, Pat Sajak finally snapped,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another chimed in, “Pat Sajak on his brand new show ‘Wheel of Torture.’”
Other fans, however, thought the moment was clearly all in good fun.
“Pat didn’t tackle him. [He] was playing with him because he said he was a pro-wrestler,” a third viewer wrote via Twitter.
Fred, for his part, seemed satisfied with his experience on the show during an interview with Sajak’s daughter, Maggie Sajak, posted on the official Wheel of Fortune Instagram page.
“I told myself that it’d be a good day if I won more than the thousand that we’re guaranteed. And I’ve got 75 times that. And I just can’t comprehend that number. It’s unbelievable,” he said.
Pat, meanwhile, has raised eyebrows for his treatment of contestants in the past. During a March 2022 episode, the Daytime Emmy winner slammed a player’s introduction story about nearly losing a big toe.
“That may have been the most pointless story ever told. And you told it, Scott. Congratulations to you,” Pat said.
Viewers were quick to defend the contestant, with one Twitter user writing at the time, “When did #Patsajak get so cold-blooded?”
Another social media user wrote: “I felt so bad for the contestant. Pat Sajak should be well aware of how mean it is to belittle someone on nationwide television.”
Pat has hinted that his tenure on the show could be coming to a close soon.
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“We’re getting near the end,” he told Entertainment Tonight in September 2022. “We’re not gonna do this for another 40 years. The end is near.”
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