Archive for Monday, March 28, 2011

Lawrence DJs are answer to fun-filled trivia night

There are plenty of options for late-night trivia in Lawrence. Each offers it's own unique feel. Tom Conroy talks about what's it's like to come up with questions.

March 28, 2011


Trivia nights around town

Smackdown! Trivia at the Bottleneck

7:30 p.m. Sundays

$5 entry fee

Three questions per round, per team

Winning team splits pot

Average run time: two hours

Trivia League (through Challenge Entertainment)

8 p.m. Tuesdays at Salty Iguana (offered almost every night of the week at different bars and restaurants around town)

Free to play

Six rounds of questions, plus half-time and final questions

Teams wager points based on categories

Winning teams get league points and $50, $20 or $10 gift certificates to the host bar

Average run time: two hours

Conroy’s “Pub Quiz”

8 p.m. Wednesdays

$5 entry fee

Two rounds with six categories, six questions in each category

Winning team splits pot

Average run time: two hours

The pursuit of an entertaining night out with friends in Lawrence is anything but trivial.

That’s due in part to the several, varied trivia nights offered around town. Each bar and restaurant offers something unique to those who attend, which is what keeps the patrons coming back for the challenge each week.

Along with the food, friends and variety of libations served, each trivia night has something else that’s unique: its trivia disc jockey. From off-beat humor to crowd involvement and personalization, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few locations hosting regular trivia nights.

The Bottleneck — 7:30 p.m. Sundays

Andy Morton certainly doesn’t hold down the weekly Smackdown Trivia at the Bottleneck for the paycheck. He does it to watch teams compete.

“That’s my version of going to the movies,” Morton said.

Morton has run Smackdown in downtown Lawrence since 2000. Though the crowds have grown during the past few years, trivia was never something Morton imagined would grow in the way it has. On a weekly basis there are 40 to more than 70 trivia addicts crowding the Bottleneck’s tables.

“It started out as a whim,” Morton said. “Here I am 11 years later still doing this.”

Morton writes the majority of the questions himself, something that can take him mere hours to several days. He doesn’t always go it alone, though. He has help from the various co-hosts. They help write some questions and keep score for the teams in attendance.

Morton said the crowd can become raucous.

“My main job besides asking the questions is to keep the show moving,” Morton said. “There’s some entertainment value to it so I’ll get lippy back to the teams.”

Bailey Slater has frequented the trivia scenes in Lawrence during the past two years. She’s found herself continually drawn to Smackdown for the atmosphere and challenge. Morton’s quick wit is simply a bonus.

“He’s hilarious and still manages to keep this crowd in check,” Bailey said. “It’s a great time.”

Salty Iguana — 8 p.m. Tuesdays

The tandem of Melissa Sigler and Denver Porter help attract crowds to their various weekly venues, one of which is the Salty Iguana, on Tuesday nights.

The duo, who arrived on the trivia scene during the summer of 2010, lend their social skills to the not-always-friendly competitions. As part of the Lawrence Trivia League rotation, which runs for 11 weeks, they often see many of the same faces.

“We’ve got a rapport going with some of them,” Sigler said. “We’ve become friends with a lot of them.”

That friendship has led a number of league regulars to follow the duo from place to place each week.

The leisurely pace of trivia in the league allows for a more relaxed experience, although Porter and Sigler said they’ve had some heated competition.

Sigler personalizes the experience by letting trivia contestants request songs to play between questions. The theme for the songs people are allowed to request changes by the week. A recent theme called for songs with colors in the titles.

Lawrence resident Mark Barlow, only a three-week veteran of the trivia league, enjoys the casual pace and laid-back atmosphere.

“I found out the trivia was free then thought, ‘Sure, why not?’,” Barlow said of his inauguration.

Conroy’s Pub — 8 p.m. Wednesdays

Tom Conroy sees trivia everywhere. It’s part of being a buff.

It’s also part of what’s allowed him to maintain his weekly trivia night for the past 14 years.

“I just love it,” business owner and trivia DJ Conroy said. “There’s always something you want to share with people.”

Conroy shares everything, too — from jokes that make attendees groan to tidbits of knowledge no one else knows about. That’s one plus-side of reading three newspapers and cruising the Internet each day the way Conroy does.

The people who participate in Conroy’s “Pub Quiz” are as dedicated as the host. Trivia players say they try to attend every week, rain or shine.

“They’ll get here,” Conroy said. “They have to have it. It’s really cool.”

The questions range in difficulty but are answered correctly the majority of the time. Stumping the 20 to 30 people who participate regularly is enjoyable, but Conroy knows the bottom line.

“People just like to answer questions,” he said.

Meagan Patterson is one of those people. A Conroy’s veteran of two years, Patterson and her friends have become a regular team.

“You really get to know the other people,” she said. “You get to know people’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Conroy gets to know people, too, as evident by the first-name basis he’s on with many players. He also doesn’t see an end to his trivia days in sight.

“It doesn’t seem to get old,” he said. “People are always interested. It’s kept people coming, and that’s all I care about.”


paperjam 6 years, 10 months ago

Andy Morton is awesome, but this article should have also given a shout out to "Downtown Dell" who does trivia at Brother's and 23rd Street Brewery. That man has moxy.

oliveoyl 6 years, 10 months ago

I've been to several trivia nights around town and I still like Smackdown Trivia the best. Their structure is better than most, good drink specials and fun friendly competition. A lot of the teams have been playing for years and it's always fun to watch and partake in the banter.

Go Andy!

compmd 6 years, 10 months ago

I am a big fan of Downtown Dell, he's been my trivia jockey for a while now.

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