Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in August 2018.
When the teams arrive for Trivia Night at Angry Pepper Taphouse in Seminole, Fla., Greg Tipton is sitting in the back corner of the bar putting the finishing touches to tonight’s game.
He cuts open sheets of paper to make reply coupons, sharpens blunt pencils, tests the restaurant’s audio system and checks his questions one last time. As he walks around the high tables and booths handing out packages of game accessories, he greets his regular players and encourages newcomers to give his game a try. And when the clock strikes at 7 p.m., it’s time for little things.
Tipton hosts Trivia Night every Wednesday at Angry Pepper. During the day he is a math teacher at the high school and uses his questions to test the knowledge of the diners. This sideline pays him an additional $ 125 a week.
“I’m interested in the product,” says Tipton. “I want it to be good. I want people to have fun. “
Your friendly neighborhood Alex Trebek
Tipton says he had no intention of being a trivia host. When he started taking on bartender and server shifts at Angry Pepper a few years ago, the restaurant already had one.
After the existing trivia host decided to move on, Al Cowan, owner of Angry Pepper, asked Tipton if he wanted to take over. Cowan assumed that the public speaking skills Tipton had developed as a teacher would make him a great host.
Tipton pondered and realized that accepting the gig was “a breeze” – it would allow him to earn extra money that he could use to support his family.
Learning the ropes was stressful – especially with a live microphone in hand.
If he asked a question early on with a touch of wiggle room in the answer, he got 30 pairs of angry eyes staring at him after he revealed them.
Or worse, those angry people marched to his corner point at the bar and passionately defended their answers. Tipton credits the conflict resolution skills he uses with his students to amicably resolve these disputes.
“It’s kind of a natural transition,” he says. “Teachers have this command of a classroom. Here you have a classroom where you mainly eat and drink. “
Over time, Tipton found his rhythm as a host and figured out what kind of questions his players like. Now he’s looking forward to Wednesday evening.
“If I have the feeling that we had a good week full of trivia, I take it very positively,” he says. “I think,” you know what? I think everyone was having fun. We had good questions, “which is a great feeling, especially when they come up to you – on a lost team – and you say,” Hey, I like your questions this week. That was fun.'”
Everything revolves around the questions
Tipton has a basket of answer sheets and file folders for regular teams and newbies. Aileen Perilla / The Penny Hoarder On Monday evening, the pressure is mounting for Tipton to write questions. He knows that when he has two he can come into the zone and write the remaining 14.
His questions start out simple and get progressively more difficult. If they are too tough at the beginning, players can bail. Part of Tipton’s job is to keep people busy so they have a chance to win the prizes (and maybe order another round of food and drinks).
At the beginning of the game, Tipton might ask, “The TV show” That ’70s Show “was discontinued in what condition?” (Wisconsin)
Then he’ll beat her in the later rounds with something like this: “Who was Al Gore’s runner-up in the 2000 presidential election?” (Joe Lieberman)
The questions that Tipton enjoys creating the most are meant for mid-game when he wants about half of the teams to get them right. He calls these the “I Knew That” questions because that’s what players say when they get them wrong.
For example: “What is the name of the famous house that architect Frank Lloyd Wright built in Pennsylvania in 1935?” (Falling water)
Tipton describes hearing the mixture of half cheering and half moaning as a “euphoric feeling”. “It feels good because [the players] Respect these kinds of questions, ”he says. “I think that’s when you realize that was a good question.”
Kevin Brahm, who plays with friends under the team name Vape Naysh, says that Tipton’s laid-back personality and talent for never asking boring questions keep the team coming back.
“Every now and then there are questions from the president where we say:” Aw … I don’t know the 11th president “. But he’s fun and keeps the game moving,” says Brahm.
Play for a little respect in the neighborhood
Up to 25 teams play in the main winter months, when the season residents are usually back in town.
And what do you win? The top three teams will receive gift cards worth $ 20, $ 15, and $ 10 for the restaurant.
“It’s not about the big stakes, but people like to come first, second, or third,” says Cowan.
Competition is fierce as players lean over the table to whisper to their teammates.
“What is the name of each of the seven dwarfs?” Asks Tipton. Teams write down as many names as they can remember on their pieces of paper, and then provide the answer.
The noise in the restaurant fades as Tipton reads the list, followed by an audible groan as he says “Bashful” and “Doc”.
Even the players who feel grumpy for asking the Snow White question the wrong way smile.
Matt Reinstetle is a former Penny Hoarder employee.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com