On Wednesday, I hosted the O’Brien’s Pub Quiz in Santa Monica. Unlike most trivia nights that buy their questions from commercial companies, O’Brien’s is homegrown quiz with a rotating cast of local quiz hosts. The people who write the questions are the same people you see and play against every week. This has several advantages:
1) If you love/hate a question, you know who to blame/thank.
2) Every week has a different flavor based on the interests of the host
3) It attracts some crazy good teams.
The format is fairly simple. Teams of six players answer two rounds of 15 questions. In the first round, they have two minutes, while the second speed round has one minute questions. There are handouts and mini-handouts all produced by the host or hostess. At least five contestants from the recent Jeopardy “Tournament of the Decades” have been quiz regulars including Jerome Vered, Bob Harris, Mark Dawson, and Pam Meuler, and even the tournament winner Brad Rutter. Brad’s Jeopardy winnings now total more than $4 million having never lost a game to a human opponent! Technically he did lose an exhibition game against IBM’s Watson computer, but that is like losing a scavenger hunt contest to Google. The prize money at O’Brien is a little more down to earth – $100 in bar credit (respectable given that there is no entry fee). But people don’t really do it for the money, they play for the honor of beating all these other smarty pants trivia buffs and because they get to wear this honorable Fez hat.
The O’Brien’s Gallery of Winners
I’ve hosted twice since coming out to the group last fall. I think the quiz needed a good dose of fabulousness and fashion – and more female quizmasters in general. It’s not that I believe that there is any such thing as a female trivia question, but more rounded balanced quizes are a good thing. I do tend to ask a lot of science, because science is fun. This week my questions covered the biology of clownfish, squid, makeup slogans, food, flags, and the World Cup. Yeah it is hard, but I try and keep it fun and fair. You can find some of the my questions on my twitter feed, and I will provide the answers in about a week with some explanation as what I was thinking.