Alex Trebek Is In The X-Files, See The Terrifying Character He Played

By Michileen Martin | 3 weeks ago

Alex Trebek Jeopardy!

Nope, you didn’t misread the headline. Alex Trebek not only showed up in an episode of the sci-fi drama The X-Files, but it’s arguably one of the best stories from the series to ever air. The beloved game show host went hard against type and played the scariest character for that hour. In the 1996 episode “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’,” Trebek played a Man in Black who may, or may not, have been Alex Trebek. And yes, that’s confusing. It’s meant to be.

Season 3’s “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'” unfolds as the Truman Capote-like writer Jose Chung (Charles Nelson Reilly) interviews witnesses involved in an alien abduction, including eventually the series’ stars FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). In various scenes told from different characters’ points of view, we meet a pair of Men in Black. The first is the fast-talking Jesse Ventura who always either does everything he can to convince the witnesses they never saw aliens, threatens them, or — in the case of the shut-in Blaine (Allan Zinyk) — beats the crap out of them. The camera avoids the face of the second Man in Black, but we keep noticing different characters reacting shocked at his appearance.

alex trebek the x-files

It isn’t until Mulder finds the pair in Scully’s hotel room that the second Man in Black’s face is revealed. Mulder suggests Ventura and his partner are Men in Black who are purposely trying to act odd so that any stories of their appearance will be disbelieved. Ventura responds, “I find absolutely no reason why anyone would think you crazy if you described this meeting of ours.” That’s when a black gloved hand falls on Mulder’s shoulder. Mulder turns to find himself facing Alex Trebek as Alex Trebek, or as a Man in Black disguised as Alex Trebek. The revealed Man in Black says, “you are feeling very sleepy, very relaxed.”

“Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'” was written by Darin Morgan, whose stories were known for blending absurd humor with horror and suspense. Other memorable episodes from Morgan include “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” — starring Peter Boyle (Everybody Loves Raymond) as a psychic cursed to see only the moments of each person’s death — and the cockroach-ridden “War of the Coprophages.” But the story Alex Trebek starred in was unique.

An argument could be made that the episode Alex Trebek appears in is the ultimate episode of The X-Files; not necessarily in terms of quality, but in how it reflects the series as a whole. The show revolves so much around different characters looking at the same events and seeing different things. Mulder sees little green men around every corner. Scully sees deluded witnesses. Their boss Assistant Director Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) ignores most of what he sees and focuses only on what the shadowy men who hold sway over him allow him to see. Meanwhile the weekly villains or victims see madness, horror, or nothing at all. “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space'” dials everything up to 11, giving us lava monsters, chain-smoking aliens, and an Alex Trebek who put Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to shame.