Quick, what was the name George Costanza wanted to give to his first born child on Seinfeld? Who guest-starred on Arrested Development as George Michael's ethics teacher? What newspaper did Carrie Bradshaw write for on Sex and the City?
If you can answer any of those questions you should consider competing in the next local Trivia AD contest. The company, founded by two Hoboken residents, holds television and movie themed trivia nights in and around New York.
“My family always told me I should enter a Seinfeld trivia contest because I've seen every episode 400 times,” Trivia AD's co-founder David Oliver said.
Since Oliver couldn't find one he started his own, in a bar in New York. Over 200 people came. With that success, Oliver, an art director by day, and his wife Kara, a Hoboken resident for thirteen years, founded Trivia AD last August. They run the trivia nights together with a roster of expert quiz hosts.
Each Trivia AD night is geared toward a particular show or movie and is divided into five rounds, including general knowledge, quotes, true or false, character identity and a lightning round. Altogether the night lasts less than two hours.
Oliver said on average a quiz host will spend two or three hours organizing questions for a trivia night, on top of the immeasurable time spent watching and re-watching episodes. He said the quiz hosts have to find questions that strike a balance.
“The questions can't be so easy where everyone always gets them, but if they're too hard then people get mad,” Oliver said.
As a rule, Oliver said Trivia AD tries very hard never to reuse questions, and also shuns lifting questions from the internet.
The company also has one other rule: no cheating. Oliver said most people play honestly and put away their smart phones, but that he's caught a few people cheating, including one man who had a laptop.
“Either I'll catch them, or someone from the other teams will,” Oliver said. Anyone caught cheating is disqualified.
Trivia AD often holds contests in bars, including Carpe Diem, Hudson Tavern, Liberty, Marty O'Brien's, Mulligan's and the Shannon in Hoboken and others in New York City, and also books corporate events, birthday parties and other gatherings. Oliver said the company gets its revenue from the bars and the private events.
“The restaurants benefit because we're bringing in people, especially on slower nights Monday through Wednesday,” Oliver said.
Oliver said the company also tries to get special prizes from sponsors connected to the show or movie, even sometimes from the actors involved. For example, a Seinfeld night might feature a script signed by Bryan Cranston, who played Jerry Seinfeld's smug dentist Tim Whatley (Cranston is also the guy from Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad).
Oliver said that the trivia nights attract anywhere from 50 to 150 people depending on the location and theme. He thinks they're popular because they appeal to people with an interest.
“People really respond to the themes,” he said. “Women come up to me and say things like, 'I've been waiting my whole life for this, my sorority sisters and I used to watch Clueless all the time.”
Oliver said Trivia AD is open to suggestions if someone wants to put together a quiz for a new show. To find out how to do that, and also see the contest schedule, visit the Trivia AD website.
(Oh, and those answers are Seven, Heather Graham, and the New York Star.)