Not Quite My Tempo

Somehow, this J.K. Simmons round doesn’t even mention the insurance ads

Published December 1, 2023

Eric Keihl is the managing editor for Questionist’s parent company, Geeks Who Drink. Each week, he will accept a reader challenge to write a entire, quiz-ready trivia round on some tricky or obscure subject. You can challenge Eric here.

This week’s theme is J.K. Simmons, suggested by “gale1243” at Moonshot Brewing in Kennewick, Washington. Thanks!

J.K. Simmons: A proud member of the Oh Yeah That Dudes, and definitely an alderman for I-Think-He-Played-the-Dad-In City, having locked down the “main character’s father” role in Juno, 3, I Love You Man, Invincible, and so forth. The man’s a damn fine actor: He’s got a constellation of awards for his screamy role in Whiplash, he was the best part of the otherwise-meh Coen Brothers film Burn After Reading, and he was apparently so good in Morbius that they had to cut his scene, lest he drag the film closer to the top of the bell curve. 

It’s a nice resume for a guy who didn’t really get famous until he was cast as a neo-Nazi on Oz… at age 42. Before that, he was doing grunt work in stuff like The Ref and starring in the Richard Wagner satire Das Barbecü, a musical compressing the 15-hour Ring Cycle of operas into a self-styled “Foot-stompin’ Texas hootenanny.” But he surely did make up for lost time, and so can we.

Now, when I wrote this intro, was I rushing or dragging? Darn right, you don’t know. Either way, let’s get to the round.

1. Nineteen years after he started voicing Yellow, the Mars corporation honored Simmons’s Whiplash Oscar win with this mosaic made of what candies? M&M’s

Other notable M&M voicers include David Cross as Caramel, Vanessa Williams as Brown, and John Goodman as Simmons’s Yellow predecessor. Me, I’m angling to play the voice of the M&M That Gets Stuck in the Couch and Has Its Shell Worn Away to a Pale White So You Can’t Even Tell What Color It Was, But You Eat It Anyway Because What’s the Point Anymore. 

2. Zootopia starred Simmons as a mayor named Leodore, who naturally was what born-to-rule beast? Lion

Or maybe not born to rule: He threw some of his citizens into a secret asylum and got himself arrested. Makes you wonder how badly Mufasa was mismanaging the Pridelands budget in The Lion King.

3. For the release of Far From Home, Sony made a fake Daily Bugle website where you can watch Simmons call what superhero a “psychopath”? Spider-Man

Simmons says he got the news about landing the part of J. Jonah Jameson in the 2002 Spider-Man film not from his agent or Sam Raimi, but from a random fan who was plugged into fansites. Hey, there might be something to this internet thing!

4. The otherwise-meh film For Love of the Game let him play the manager of what favorite baseball team whose cool nicknames include “The Motor City Kitties”? Detroit Tigers

Simmons is clearly a serious fan: Check out this adorable footage of him shouting like a little kid during an interview in the final game of the season. He’s getting all excited for a 77-84 team, there. Respect!

5. He says he fell in love with the big sky and the mountains around Missoula, while studying music at the University of what big empty state? Montana

French fur trappers called Missoula’s valley “Porte de l’Enfer” or “Gate of Hell,” because it was covered with human bones from intertribal skirmishes. I’m sure most towns in Montana have stories like that; it’s that kind of place.

6. Who wants cake? This is a clip of Simmons voicing Aperture Science founder Cave Johnson, in what beloved puzzle game series? Portal

Heck, check out as many Cave Johnson lines as you want, and while you’re at it enjoy the bangin’ end theme by Jonathan Coulton again. Man, remember when Valve used all their money to actually make games?

7. He got his big Broadway break playing Benny Southstreet, gambling on a horse named Valentine in what New Yorkiest of musicals? Guys and Dolls

Damn, the man looks good in a pinstripe suit! Guys and Dolls was based on the work of Damon Runyan, who loved to give his characters twinkly names like Hot Horse Herbie, Dave the Dude, and Good Time Charley. Not surprising, then, that his real first name was the much-more-boring “Alfred.”

8. Certified by the world headquarters in Seoul, his wife Michelle has a black belt in what Olympic sport that gives max points for a spin kick to the head? Taekwondo

South Korea has unsurprisingly dominated Olympic taekwondo, but the U.S. has a respectable 10 medals, including a gold at the 2020 games from Anastasija Zolotic. Chukhahae!

Bonus: Illuminati alert! J.K. Simmons’s initials stand for “Jonathan Kimble,” and John Kimble was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in what film where he yells “shut up, kids!”? Kindergarten Cop

It’s true, and I have no idea what to make of it. As far as I can tell I’m the first person to notice, so if you hear about me being assassinated in the next couple weeks, there is a good chance I’ve stumbled onto something big.