Brad Rutter talks about keeping 'The Chase' edgy with 'Average Joes vs Trivia Pros' and adjusting to a fast format
Brad Rutter is one of the three quiz masters known as the Chasers on ABC's 'The Chase.' He's joining Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer as returning 'Jeopardy' champions who are going up against new contestants, in a head-to-head battle that sees the Chasers trying to take away the contestant's prize money, closing their lead one question at a time.
MEAWW spoke with Brad Rutter about the show's new format, and how he keeps himself prepared.
How have you been enjoying the format of the show? What's the chase been like for you so far?
It was really fun. It's really fast-paced, which is one thing I really appreciate about it. I think one cool thing is that if you're used to watching Ken and James and me on 'Jeopardy', a big part of the game is you have to wait until the question is finished being read to ring in.
In the Final Chase, that's not the case. So as soon as we know the answer, we can just spit it right out. If the question were on 'Jeopardy', you can kind of see where we would know the answer, and instead of us having to wait to ring in, we could just come out with it right there, which I think is fun.
What's your favorite part of the new series so far?
I think just the banter really, especially with Sarah [Haines], and we've had some great contestants on the show too, who are willing to play along, so that's fun. It's kind of playing a character as well as just answering trivia questions.
We've seen one episode so far, and we've seen that Ken Jennings seems to enjoy talking smack with some of the contestants. Is that something you're also prone to do, or are you a little more encouraging?
I'm probably somewhere in the middle between Ken and James. James kind of likes to play up the whole pro-wrestling aspect of it, which is fun to watch. Ken's a nice guy in real life. So he's sort of leaning into that. I'm more like, the smarmy guy at the pub next to you. I'll be fine - if you impress me, I'll be impressed, but if I'm not impressed, I'll probably let you know that too.
How have you been preparing for the show?
Well, it was tough because it's brand new obviously, and because of the way the federal laws work with game shows I didn't even know who was writing on the show until I saw the credits actually. We're kept pretty separate from that.
I'm always trying to - well, not really even trying to fix stuff up. It's how I go through life ever since I was a little kid, I just enjoy knowing things. I read a lot and watch documentaries and stuff. So interesting things will kind of stick in my head.
I'm always preparing that way, as opposed to Jeopardy where you know they like to ask a lot about presidents of world capitals and stuff like that. There wasn't any sort of canon that you could really dive into to make sure you know. It was all pretty new to me, too, so, I really enjoyed what the writers did come up with.
There is a lot of new trivia that is released on almost a daily basis. Do you feel like it's harder to keep up with everything now than when you started getting into questions?
Definitely. One thing is that with the academic stuff, I'm farther out from high school, and when I was into that, every day. For example, when I first went on 'Jeopardy' I was 22. So obviously, a couple of years out from high school, all this stuff was really fresh. I still know all that stuff, but it's sort of deeper in the recesses of my mind.
The other thing too, is just getting old - there's a lot of pop culture on 'The Chase.' That's one thing I do have to really make an effort with. Keep up with what's going on, on like the billboard, top 40 and what the latest internet memes are and stuff like that. That's something where I do have to make an effort, where maybe 20 years ago it would have been a little more organic for me.
Until last year, you were a quiz champion undefeated by any living human, but when you did lose, it was to one of the best. Even with the advantage, do you think there's a genuine possibility that a newcomer contestant could beat you?
Yeah, absolutely. Like you said, there's some advantages for the contestants built into the game, which is only fair. It's the Average Joes versus the Trivia Pros, as we say. So if we want to, keep it pretty close, that makes a lot of sense.
Also, we've been getting some really good trivia players, and contestants too, like Kristen from the team, last Thursday was in the 'Jeopardy' Tournament of Champions and James had been in the 'Jeopardy' college tournament. So it's not exactly a walk over. We have some good competitors to come up against.
The next episode of 'The Chase' airs on January 21 at 9 PM ET, on ABC.