Menchaca passed the test and then faced a live audition a few months later. The live audition consists of another, similarly timed test and a brief “play-through” of a mock version of the show. “I remember feeling hopeful that my audition went well but trying to keep my expectations in check,” he says. “I also remember being the youngest person in the room. The whole process was extremely exciting.”
“It’s one of those things that maybe you get a phone call and maybe you don’t,” he adds.
Menchaca got the call, but unfortunately he had a conflict and was unable to participate. “I thought it was my only chance and it had gone up in smoke,” he says. Luckily, almost a year later, he got another call and was asked to come onto the show in June 2012 because his original audition was still valid.
“This is something that I have wanted to do for a really long time,” he says. “The whole experience is pretty surreal. Being on the set that you see all the time on TV, it’s sort of like going through the looking glass.”
As he went through the rounds, he says his confidence grew. He felt that after the first round things got easier because after that he had already made it and had nothing to lose.
“After I won the first one, the pressure was off because I had nothing left to prove,” he says. “It was such an unbelievable moment. Not just one win but winning several times . . . it was very overwhelming.”
Menchaca says he did not really have too much time to study because he was concentrating on law school at the time of his appearance. He has a fairly good memory for facts, which has helped in law school. In addition, he has a liberal arts background, which helps with analytical processes. He says he only has one answer that he wished he could take back. He answered Jacob in response to a question regarding the son that Abraham was prepared to sacrifice. He says he knew the answer was Isaac, “but my mouth decided to move before I could control it. It felt embarrassing to give the wrong answer to a question to which I actually knew the right answer.”
When all was said and done, Menchaca appeared on six episodes, winning five games and taking home $115,503. He says he might use his winnings to travel, but could also use the money to pay off his law school debt.
Photo of David Menchaca with Alex Trebek © Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
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