Townie guide to... trivia under the influence

Andy Morton, that "trivia guy" from television's "1 On 1 Trivia" and The Bottleneck's live action Smackdown!

Why is it that booze and useless general knowledge go together so well?

"When somebody's krunked out of their mind, they can still feel like they contribute something to the world, no matter how inane or useless."

How did the live trivia show you host, Smackdown, come about? What motivated you to make the leap from nerd to dick? Speaking, of course, as a nerdy dick...

"Conroy's-then Kaspar's-had been running a live action game and it seemed like a fun thing to do. So we took their format, mixed it up to make it more competitive, and eight years later, we're still doing it. For the record, somebody else usually draws 'first dick,' so that's when I get to lip back. I think some new people are taken aback when my sailor mouth starts flapping since I can't do that on the TV show."

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Is there a ratio for number of drinks to improved trivia performance? Kind of like beer goggles for your own intellect?

"My lawyers have advised me to not encourage any behavior that may be detrimental to a player's health. That being said, The Bottleneck runs some amazing drink specials on Sunday nights."

As trivia host-you think yer better 'n me? Huh?!?!

"I'm not better than you, I just have the answers in front of me so I wield more power over you. There's a big difference. There have been numerous times where we had an answer wrong and we will try and fix the problem. Occasionally people will get huffy when there's some strange little semantic problem with the phrasing, so I have to constantly remind teams that there is not a team of writers or researchers putting the game together and if they would like to take the game over, I'd be more than happy to let them put up with some of this crap every week."

What's the process for writing the questions? Is there a delicate balance between brain teasers and brain rapists?

"It takes roughly 8-10 hours a week to put it together. The questions can come from anywhere-television, reference materials, etc.-but I've found that the internet is, by far, the most reliable source of information out there. You'd be surprised how many questions come from BangBus.com."

Recurring event

Smackdown!

  • Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence
  • 18+ / Free - $5

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What are the best kind of categories for bar trivia? Any personal favorites, both as player and host?

"People are always amazing me with what strange things they know ,so you can't get a firm grasp on it. Any time I ask about three-letter airport codes, it's because I got lazy and needed another category. A current favorite of mine is a category my brother Erky designed, called "Boney, Baloney, or My Little Pony," where we'll give you a name and you have to say whether it's a porn star, a made-up name, or an actual My Little Pony. People get really pissed when you have an entire category on Sue Grafton books, though."

Aside from abandoning any pretense of a social life, what advice do you have for bar trivia hopefuls?

"One, it should not take you 20 minutes to come up with a team name. Two, if you're not sure of the answer, just say "William Howard Taft," "Comet from 'Full House,'" or "Hanoi Rocks"-it improves your odds greatly. Three, please remember to turn in your materials at the end of the game-that shit costs money. Oh, and don't forget to check out The Two Finger Point podcast at twofingerpoint.com."

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