Michael Colen, a middle school teacher from Sacramento, CA who described himself as a “secret rapper,” won the show’s November 3 episode. Before that, he earned the audience’s goodwill with his colorful line readings and oversized comedic reactions. But it seems that longtime host Sajak, who’s been at the helm for 42 years, wasn’t a fan of Colen’s clowning. During one of the breaks, Sajak approached him with a “stern” rebuke.
“He came up to me and just told me, ‘Hey, Michael, you know, this is my show, right?’” Colen recounted. “And I politely said, ‘Yes, sir, it is your show for 41 years.’ So, it was funny, of course.” While Sajak probably intended the remark lightly, Colen recalled, “There was a stern drop of sternness to it.”
The teacher reported that he and Sajak were engaged in a “battle of wills” even when off the set. “It was two alphas going at it,” Colen said. “I’m an acquired taste. I’ve been putting out music for 30 years, so I have to say I’m an acquired taste.”
Colen continued: “So, at first it just took him a quick minute to get used to me. I had to find out where the line was. I had to find out where the line was, and Pat just drew it for me.”
Despite Sajak’s outburst, Colen said that he knows the host loves what he does. “I could tell that he was authentically enjoying himself,” he said. “When I watched the episode, his laughs were hearty. And his body language was good. So, I think everyone had a good time, including him.”
Sajak has been hosting Wheel of Fortune since 1981. He took over for the first host, Chuck Woolery, who held the spot when the show began in ’75.