Dear Geek Bowlers, Just wanted to thank everyone for making Geek Bowl IV a huge success. The volunteers, the staff, the dance crew, Kent Shelton and The Gothic Theater and Moe’s for letting us rehearse, GWD co-founder Joel Peach, the autodidact of video editing, did an amazing job with the graphics, visual and video rounds. Kent Wilhelmi on the wheels of steel (and the voice of God), John Mazzucco from The Limbs, and, of course, our whole dance crew, especially Emilio Scattaglia who was with me every Sunday since October trying to figure out how to choreograph without any access to talent. Big thanks to GWD Operations Manager Matt Angell who worked like a ferret on meth. I especially want to thank all our teams (and quizmasters) who traveled from Texas, New Mexico, Grand Junction and, yeah, even Philadelphia — say what you want about Johnny Goodtimes, but try and tell me he didn’t unite us all in hatred? At any rate, the fact that people came in from so far away for this really means a lot. I hope to have teams from Seattle, Charlottesville and Houston next year. Just wanted to note that I’m well aware of the evening’s shortcomings: namely that the night ran too long generally and too fast in other places. We needed to be wrapped in three hours and it took four; that responsibility is mine so… please blame me. There were some spreadsheet glitches and a few other issues that slowed the scoring down. Not making excuses, just an explanation and letting you know that fixing it is my top priority for next year. As Vivien Leigh’s carrot-clutching silhouette as my witness, we will get this thing done in three hours. Already instituting our own version of the Marshall Plan to make it happen, starting with cutting the length down to eight rounds of eight questions, just like a normal quiz. That said, if anyone out there wants to offer some software solutions I’m all ears and eyeballs so please get in touch. Things to expect next year: a bigger venue, no high top table seating, a bit more time to deliberate on answers before they’re collected. I’m also hoping to accommodate spectators and I’ll try to limit the number of Froot Loop questions to, say, half a round. Thanks for your support, big ups to Jesus and Tequila/TheSlump Busters on taking first and I’ll see you all next year. -John Dicker Co-Founder
How does one take what is arguably the best pub quiz in the country and make it better? Simple. Geek Bowl. How does one take three years of the ultimate quiz off and improve upon that? GEEK BOWL IV. Saturday, January 30th is a date that will live on in quiz history. It stands as an (in)famous date, not because of the fact that we sold out The Gothic Theatre faster than most bands (2 hours, 58 minutes to be exact), but because of the people who packed it. The players, the workers, and the amazing volunteer staff are all amazing, but despite an intense competition to be run over the course of several hours, it's the camaraderie and friendship between everyone in the theatre that makes Geek Bowl the special event that it is. Sure, as the questions are asked the friendships seem secondary to the hopes and dreams of an oversized check, but it's the moments in between that I think make Geek Bowl what it is. The downtime during the scoring breaks, in which smokers congregate outside, the non-smokers mingle around the bar to talk and share in their mutual love for their weekly quiz. Their stories, their shared memories of which rounds stumped them, which pleasantly surprised them, and how a simple weekly two hour event brings people of all types, of all places together in a common nerdy bond. That's why I've been hosting for almost three years. And that's why I sit in front of my computer screen humbled and honored to be able to impart my thoughts on my company's flagship event and share it with the people who make this job the best job in the world. Of course I could go on about how everyone was friends and outside of questions formed friendships, but that wouldn't make for an interesting blog. I'll save that for my Lilith Fair writeup. No, I'm going to talk about the competition for the coveted Geek Bowl.
The Pre-Game Talk Show My first chance to talk to some players was outside the historic Gothic Theatre on a surprisingly pleasant day, minutes before the doors opened. I was excited to talk to Pour Favor, the first team to show up from Texas. This was the first year that Geeks Who Drink has had Texas teams show up and three-person crew from San Antonio's Lion & Rose Broadway was definitely not an underdog team, confidently saying that they wish to break the top ten and, baring that, drink a lot and write down "fuck y'all, we're from Texas" on any questions they don't know the answers to.
Another Texas team, Oxford Coma, this one from Opal Divine's Freehouse in Austin, also beamed with pride and told me that, "we didn't come all this way if we didn't think we'd do well." However, if they didn't do well in the total standings, their goal was to at least defeat their Austin rivals. "We're all for Austin, but we're still gonna kick their ass." I cannot talk about rivalries without mentioning the most infamous of teams to ever grace Geek Bowl with their presence, Trust Us, We're Doctors. Johnny Goodtimes runs his own quiz over in sunny Philadelphia, and was invited by Head Geek John Dicker to participate in the momentous event. He wrangled his best team and flew half way across the country to heckle, irritate and win.
Goodtimes and his head-banded comrades were confident of a victory, despite being the most hated team in the building. Every team I interviewed was very vocal in their dislike for this team of outsiders invading their quiz territory, some of whom were all too quick to threaten physical violence against them and their host should they obtain a winning position. When questioned about this, the Philly boys said they loved the hatred, even if that hatred played a part in them having a hotel in the middle of nowhere (Tech Center, where I was thrown in not two doors down from Goodtimes), having to walk miles to the venue, and no actual table from which to play. Despite those things still not garnering any sympathy votes from anyone there, I was told they would make do. In contrast to Goodtimes' smack talk filled blog post and pre-game bragging, they turned out to be very gracious players, telling me of their hopes to make friends and their expectations of competing against talented players. After boasting of their team being the Ric Flair of Geek Bowl (an attribute I'm still not sure of being a good or bad thing), Johnny answered my final question on the differences between himself and John Dicker. "He's the better human, but I'm the better host."
AND SO IT BEGAN.... As the lights went went down on the four hundred plus patrons of the Gothic Theatre and I was snugly attaching my jock strap to the outside of my fiancee's tights, the epic event began. This being the highlight event of the entire year, we couldn't just begin it with questions. Monks chanted, and the familiar visages of our beloved mascots Kink and Edgar made their way down the aisles to the stage. I could describe the music, the background video and the embarrassing dancing (and clothes), but I will instead show you the video, taken by a player in the audience. I do want to point out the efforts from everyone in the dance, and take note that quizmasters from all corners of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas came together and practiced tirelessly to provide you with a fantastic introduction to the best quiz of the year.
After the dance, the rules, much like any quiz, had to be explained. Only this time, we had master of funny Adam Cayton-Holland on deck to deliver them in a way that only seems fitting for the loads of cash we took from all of you.
ROUND 1 The quiz kicked off with Aaron Retka and John LaHendro reading our first round, Geeks and Bowls. Proving our writers' talents for making a theme have so many wire thin related questions, we tried to puzzle players with questions ranging from clogged drains to puppies on television. The bobbing heads after the questions were asked was one of the sights I was able to observe from my perspective of journalistic overseer. Seeing them go up and down and the hushed silence that followed was similar to watching a nature documentary. I'd like to think it was some sort of secretive nerd mating ritual. Another moment that was awesome to witness was our end of the round timer. As each round concluded, a thirty second countdown clock appeared on the screen above the stage. Simple, stark, and ominous, it was the last chance for everyone to contemplate the answers already written and the spaces still left blanks. I enjoyed watching the frenzied fury of all the teams feverishly trying to fill in any gaps with a correct answer during that half a minute.
ROUND 2 The second round of the evening was America Songs and a more narrowed down affair, with no questions coming from “out of the blue.” Quizmasters Krista Overby (looking really pretty in her all pink tracksuit!) and Ellen Awesome read the round, but not before Ellen made sure we all knew how she felt about Philly's presence and the prospect of Denver regaining the cup. While everyone got a chuckle out of America, Fuck Yeah!, I was noting the the reactions of the crowd to the questions: "It's easy to tell the easier from the harder questions. The easier is evident by the sudden rush of four hundred heads ducking down, like a reaction to the bomb going off in old Cold War PSAs. The harder questions, however, are met with many a puzzled stares back at the Quizmasters, as if expecting one last tidbit of information to help them find an answer to the question, but sadly finding only the same confusion at just not having a definitive answer." Ellen was quick to come back at any indignation sent her way, by pointing out that no one should complain to her, as she "just danced for you fuckers."
ROUND 3 Paul Harris and Kent Shelton were proud to have presented our third round of the evening, Two Bears, One Cup: The Animal Fucking Round. Kent, I would like to point out, was crucial in us obtaining The Gothic Theatre as a venue this year, and I (along with you) owe him a lot of thanks and gratitude for it. Questions during this round were sure to make any juvenile giggles in the crowd to come out, with testicles, penises with multiple heads, giant schlongs, erectile clits, rape and bestiality. Our multiple choice round, not only being a jump into the much more difficult category was also the sort of gross entertainment that we at Geeks love to provide. I think the best response to this round of general genitalia knowledge was best summed up by a passing Gothic Theatre server who simply muttered out loud to anyone within earshot, "that's fucking gross."
ROUND 4 Paul Nagy, host at The Elm and D-Note, had the distinction of introducing our visual round. Drag Show featured ten actors in drag flashing across the screen with teams hurriedly trying to write down the answers. There was a frenzy of motion from the seats as players rushed to write down their answers legibly and quickly turn back to the screen for the next image. Most teams excelled at pinning down the wigged actors, with many even getting what I would think was the hardest one, Joyce Hyser. Sometimes winning at quiz is a matter of luck, with the theme simply being a random topic that you happen to just know all the ins and outs of. The Brocolli is a Hammer, Which is My Penis (With Chlamydia) was one of those teams. Hailing from Georges, I was seeing plenty of smiles as the drag show visual round appeared overhead. I went to explore why this team above all others seemed so calm, collected, and amused with this round. It turns out that this was one of those random strokes of luck teams hope for. Half the team is involved in putting on drag performances and it most definitely helped them.
While they expressed a bit of disappointment that stars such as RuPaul, Nathan Lane, Robin Williams and John Travolta (along with a self serving "myself") weren't presented in the round, they all agreed that their favorite from the list was the late Patrick Swayze. Trying not to interview the team solely for the drag connection, I asked what they did in preparation for Geek Bowl. I got a great belly laugh from the squad and a simple response of, "we got dressed up!" In a related event before the first scoring break of the evening, team I'll Take Dykes for 500, Alex felt it was the opportune time to garner favoritism with the scorers with the gift of a large pink dildo. Their proctor, while I'm sure tickled and excited at the prospect of obtaining such an illustrious gift, graciously declined the offering in maintaining the integrity of the quiz.
Our First Scoring Break At the time of our first scoring break I decided to seek out members of COLDCOCK!!!!, our Albuquerque winners from last year's Geek Bowl III. Sitting unassumingly in the center of the floor, the team wore nothing fancy, and had no outlandish accoutrements that one would assume the famous winners of last year's bowl would have come with. Asked how they felt about being the second most hated team (Philly being the first), I was told that they're just happy that there are now some more people that recognize New Mexico and Albuquerque as part of the United States. They said their previous win was "good publicity for Albuquerque." Not as confident as others attending, at the first scoring break they said they were pretty sure they were not as good as last year. I followed that with a question on if not an Albuquerque team, who would they like to see win. I was informed that should they lose, it would be best to have the Gothic and the rest of Denver burnt to the ground, but they were quick to point out that their appearance at Geek Bowl has always been "for the kids." Coldcock's and Philadelphia's cockiness (no pun intended) were brought down a notch as comedian Adam Cayton-Holland took stage and was quick to mock them, filling the auditorium with rousing shouts of boos for both the teams. He also took this opportunity to insult pretty much everyone from outside of Denver, as well as inform us that he was filming portions of Geek Bowl for G4's Attack of the Show. Why they chose him to do it and not me I will never understand.
Our First Glimpse of Win The noise from the teams at the Gothic was quickly hushed as the quiz was back with the answers. You could tell how well the collective crowd was doing as the answers were being read aloud. As our first four rounds of answers were read aloud by Quizmasters Derek Knight, Justin Carmical, Dave DeNovellis, Fernando Gonzales, Jessica Langley, Heather Lunde, and introduced by Gia Ashe and Andrea King, the volume was the key indicator. Rounds One and Two's answers were met by many cheers, while round three we met with a very mixed reaction of some cheers and mostly silence, they key indicator of teams who were obviously beating themselves over the heads by putting down the wrong answer.
However, even the silence of that was nothing compared to the dead quiet that came as the first scores showed up on the screen. Faces were staring with an unblinking devotion to the scrolling list, trying to find their team's position and who was beating them. That silence was quickly broken as a roaring cheer erupted at the sight of the top score: A tie between last year's winners Coldcock!!!! and Denver's own powerhouse team of Jesus & Tequila/Slump Busters. Although Philadelphia was right behind, they were a but a distant memory in the likes of the tie between Albuquerque and Denver as we went on with the quiz.
ROUND 5 One of the special highlights of Geek Bowl is our live audio round. This year, quizlings were treated to a live audio round presented by the one man band, The Limbs. As he proceeded to play a selection of memorable and not so memorable tunes, he was met with only semi-applause from the crowd, as most players were feverishly writing down their answers, too concerned with winning to thank the man with the guitar hitting the drums.
As The Limbs played on, each table had at least one person covering their ears, trying desperately to continue on the song they just had heard in their heads. The one man show of The Limbs played through the list twice, hitting drums with his feet and cymbals with the guitar he was playing. He provided an entertainment so good, I felt it almost sad that he only played 20 seconds of each song, leaving many of us wondering what a full rendition of Jay-Z and Kylie Minogue would sound like. ROUND 6 While Quizmasters Amanda Reyna and Evelyn Hurley represented the Texas quizzes and read our sixth round, Delusions of Grandma, I was noticing a change in the crowd. What was originally a mixed bowl of teams playing, but still laughing and having fun had become something else. Either the quiz was getting harder of the drinks were starting to settle, but the overall tone of the crowd at the Gothic was getting quieter and more intense. Even Evelyn's attempt to lighted the atmosphere by dancing and humming the Jeopardy theme couldn't drive out the fact that the real competition was on.
As the answer sheets were being collected, I was asked by several people if they had time for pee breaks. Matt, a player from Ronwell Dodge informed me that he had to go "really badly." I told him that should he not pee with incredible haste he wouldn't be allowed back in. Deciding to hold it, he sat back down and told his team he'd wait it out. They told me that if it they didn't win Geek Bowl, it would most assuredly be because of his need to pee. Geek Bowl is indeed a harsh quiz.
ROUND 7 The other unique round found only at Geek Bowl is our video round. This year's raised a rousing toast to scenes in film which can only be described by it's theme, Closted? We had 10 extremely (not) gay clips that might make the most hetero in the crowd question the sexuality of some of their most beloved films. QM in Chief John Dicker proudly took the responsibility of creating one of the gayest things to grace Geeks Who Drink since his opening dance number. The Calm Before The Storm During our second break teams mingled awkwardly, all awaiting when the lights would go down again and they could see how the scores had changed. A member from Umar, Umar, Pants on Fire told me that although his team tried the strategy of six players of different ages, it was hard to really know if you're ready for it. He summed it up the best, "It's trivia – you can't prepare for it and besides, it's supposed to be fun, not work."
Quizmasters Christina Frichtel and Eddie Eiffler along with The Limbs went over the answers. All mouths stood agape as the scores scrolled down the screen above the stage. There was no tie this time. The top three teams: Jesus & Tequila, Coldcock!!!!, and Trust Us, We're Doctors. Three teams, three cities, and one round left. Who would win? ROUND 8 As the tension in the theatre loomed, the competitive air about the players was broken at the sight of our final rounds presenters, Jason Mueller and Emilio Scattaglia walked out on the stage with sharp suits and no pants. Mueller claimed it was tactic to relieve nervousness of standing in front of people, but Emilio explained using terms like "fucking" and "idiot" to tell him he had it wrong. The real reason that there was only a thin layer of plaid and hearts between penises and the crowd was simply because they could.
Still, no thin layer of boxer could distract the crowd from buckling down for their final opportunity to gain an advantage on the other teams. Our Random Knowledge round to end all random knowledge rounds was no slouch, forcing some teams to recall movies, books, failed business and even draw out the periodic table of elements. However, one question stood out as the single question of the night that will anger quizzers until next year: Besides the original, there are two other types of Froot Loops cereal – name ‘em. The groans and complaints about that one single question will last long into the next year, with John Dicker proudly patting himself on the shoulder for coming up with a truly clever piece of quizzery at every mention of it.
The Final Scoring Break Tensions amongst the players, while still looming in the background, were set aside for a moment as Matt Angell and myself took to the stage to deliver some prizes at random from our great sponsors. I do want to make mention of whomever Busey is, for that jerk entered like a billionty times. Quizmaster Kent, who at this time I would like point out ran the sound for the entire show, as well as provided the God-like voiceovers, then told me to stay on stage as for the third year in a row we danced unplanned to Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. As our fellow quizmasters joined us on stage for some inebriated, improvised entertainment, our scoring team worked diligently on the final round. The End Quizmasters Tavie Meier and Patrick Kelly swapped clothes from the beginning of the evening before reading the answers to the final round. As entertaining as it was to see a man in a sequined purple tracksuit, nothing could quell the thirst of the crowd for the final standings.
The scores scrolled and there were cheers, jeers, and tears. Hated team Trust Us, We're Doctors had come in fourth place, and while disappointing for them, created many a sighs of relief for the rest of the crowd. It was now time to reveal the winners. Head Quizmasters Joel Peach and John Dicker took the stage with three oversized checks. Inviting the top three teams up, they all walked up excited to be winners, but nervous at the outcome.
Third place was awarded to the sharply dressed team, Coffee Cake and Xanax. There was a pause as Jesus & Tequila, from Denver, Colorado and Coldcock!!!! from Albuquerque, New Mexico awaited John and Joel to call their name. Second to Coldcock!!!! and first to Jesus & Tequila. Cheers rang out from both the teams and from the crowd as for the first time since the Geek Bowl I, a team of Denver won the coveted Geek Bowl trophy. All three teams graciously congratulated each other as the crowd slowly dispersed, all wondering what will change in the next 12 months, as teams from across the country start setting their sights on winning the trophy next year, at Geek Bowl V.
Before I end this (extremely long) blog, I would like to pause and thank everyone who participated in this year's Geek Bowl. The players, who came from near and far to participate, the volunteers who worked their asses off, and John Dicker and Joel Peach, for not only hiring me and selecting me to be the one to write this blog, but for creating a fun event that so many people depend on to entertain them each and every week and for putting in the countless hours planning, securing and preparing our yearly event for the fourth time. Thanks to them and to everyone. -Eric The Jewish Viking Kohen THE FINAL SCORES
Jesus & Tequila 109 Coldcock!!!! 106 Coffee Cake and Xanax 101 Trust Us, We're Doctors 100 The Honey Badgers 98 Contemplators of the Tree of Woe 96 Margaritavillains 95 Legalize Shemp 93 Ronwell Dodge 93 Golden Girls Gone Wild 93 Bigger Than Jesus, Better Than Ezra 93 Your Mom's A Dirty Horcrux 92 Suck It, Trebek! 92 I say Tomato 91 U Got Served 91 Jaymie and the Argonauts 91 Oxford Coma 91 A Wolfman, a Plan, a Canal, Panamflowa 90 Nerd Force 20/20 90 Alderaan Insurance Company 90 Senor Mooseknuckle 90 Just The Tip 89 Magic's Johnson 88 3rd Generation Diaphragm Failures 88 Busey 88 Demented and Sad, But Social 86 Ewok Reacharound 86 The Chode to Victory 86 The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare 85 Gobias Industries 85 Nobody Puts Donkey in the corner 84 Robot Squid Murder 84 Nostradumbass 83 Drunkey Punch 82 Carpe Scrotum 82 3 Girls, 3 Guys, 1 Cup 82 That's What She Said 82 Thoughtpocalypse 82 The Dukes of Valmont 82 Who Would You Rather… 81 Umar, Umar, Pants on Fire 81 I'm Not Gay but $5 is $5 81 The Macgruber Squad 80 Medical Grade Assclowns 80 Nerdy Sanchez 79 H1N1 79 3 + 1 = 5 78 Triple Nerd Score 77 Uncredited Right Bastards With a 9 Inch Name 77 Is This The Oriental? (I Think They Prefer "Asian") 77 The Overestimated Underdogs! 76 A Brain, An Athlete, A Basket Case, A Princess, A Criminal and Jim 76 I Can't Believe It's Not Butthair! 75 The Never Nudes 75 Electric Boogaloo 74 Austin Nerdcore Coalition 74 Gynecomastia 71 Skinny Jeans and Self-Inflicted Hand-Jobs on the #15 bus 71 I'll Take Dykes For 500, Alex 70 Chesses & Lettel 68 The Standard Deviants 68 The Scare Bears 66 Hold Me Closer Tony Danza 66 Terror Cell Al-Haveabeerza 65 Don't Fuck With Snuffleupagus 65 Loker Stroker 64 Unemployed in Greenland 64 Pour Favor 64 If We're So Bad At Trivia, How Comes So Many Teams Are Ahead of Us? 63 The Sloan Shore 63 Bingo The Wonder Pony 63 The Brocolli is a Hammer, Which is My Penis (With Chlamydia) 61 Demon Fetal Harvest 58 You Say Tomato 56 Fans of Bacon 56 Bastard Children of Dr. Moreau 54