Recap by Shane Fordyce
In any athletic competition there are terms for incredible feats of athleticism. In hockey, it's referred to as “scoring a hat trick.” In baseball, it's called “knocking it out of the goddamned ballpark.” Geek Bowl VIII accomplished both of those feats... but only figuratively. I mean, have you seen our ragtag but loveable group of quizmasters and quizzers? Unless binge drinking and projectile vomiting secretly became Olympic sports, there weren't many physical feats of athletic prowess on display over Geek Bowl weekend.
It was our third consecutive event in the city of Austin, closing out a chapter in a tome so grand and so epic in scope that the combined run time of the these three blockbuster Geek Bowls rivals that of any Peter Jackson trilogy (okay, not the Expanded Editions). For 2014 we needed to raise the bar even higher than in previous years, which when you're in Texas it's basically a requirement. We needed to take over Austin’s biggest and grandest venue. We would take the show to ACL Live at the Moody Theater.
Yes, that's right. This state of the art facility was home to the biggest pub quiz in the country. 147 teams descended upon the Moody Theater and witnessed the grandest Geek Bowl we've ever produced. But before the first chord was even struck for our opening number (more on that later), we had us a Freak Bowl at Recess Arcade Bar. There was some serious pre-gaming happening, plus a freak show of ridiculous (costumed) proportions.
Performances by Guilty Pleasures (below).
The Hell Katz brought the freak portion of the evening to full effect with some sideshow stunts to entertain the assembled crowd, plus our new friend Katzen the Tiger Lady (below).
Special thanks to our Wayward Expansionist Ozzy Zion for putting together this fever dream made real (or is it surreal?), as well as our sponsors Thirsty Planet, Fireball Whisky and Firefly Moonshine.
Now back to Geek Bowl. Prior to game time, I had the chance to chat with a few of teams. The Piccadilly Twitz (above), self-styled ‘America's Favorite Pub Quiz Team,’ spared no expense this year, opting for the special VIP seating. I joined them in their special cave for a moment to get their thoughts:
The McCheese Administration (above) were last year's Geek Bowl winners. They were missing two of their regular players and had to recruit others. I asked them if that was going to impact their team in any way.
With a team coming from the wilds of Canada for the second year in a row, I just had to get a comment from Mama Said Knock You Oot (below), seeing as there are no Geeks Who Drink venues in Canada (I’m also biased since they are my fellow countrymen, eh). Their first appearance at last year's Geek Bowl VII was actually their very first Geeks Who Drink quiz. Ever. I got these words from them and in true Canadian panache it came off like every hockey player interview ever recorded all smooshed together.
Anyone that has been to Geek Bowl in years past knows that there's always a grand opening number. This year was no exception. The citizens of Geek Bowl introduced themselves to you all, including a warm welcome to our players courtesy of The Mayor of Geek Bowl. He also had threatened bodily harm and smashed electronic devices to those that attempted to cheat. The citizens were invaded by The Quiz, but despite his threats of sodomy, was soundly torn limb from limb by Geek Bowl's citizens to very bloody effect.
And with that, we began the quiz with Round One, “These Team Names End Tonight.” It was a tribute to the lame-assed, unoriginal and just plain stupid team names that are offered up to us week after week. They are not new. They are not original. They are not funny. They are turd sandwiches that need to be taken out back behind the woodshed and shot. And then set on fire.
Our audio Round Two, this year titled “Sexy Songs of Sex,” has been a showstopper and a crowd pleasure for years now. The past three Geek Bowls have seen a different band with a different musical style cover each song, and we easily exceeded previous years in terms of weirdness and variety.
For instance, a xylophone rendition of The Beastie Boy's “Girls” brought the crowed to their feet… and that was only question one. We moved on through cellos, reggae, and even a pipe and drum band. Imagine if you will, a country bluegrass rendition of “Too Drunk To Fuck.”
That, my friends, is Geek Bowl. There was also a ventriloquist offering up a version of Rod Stewart's “Hot Legs,” and a grand finale with the 40+ person Capital City Men's Chorus treating us to some Color Me Badd.
Geeks are not always known for their cleanliness. Anyone who has ever stood next to someone who has just played a 48-hour GTAV marathon can attest to this, so it was only fitting that you be tested on hygiene for Round 3, “Lather and Rinse, But There Will Be No Repeats.”
There were guest stars galore for the paranormal-themed Round 4, “I Went To Geek Bowl, and All I Got Was This Lousy Anal Probe.” We got an on-stage surprise as Quizmasters Bryan Hobby and Calleen Dean tried to work their way through their questions while ignoring a grey alien and a Sasquatch. Nothing more entertaining to me than watching a very small alien sizing up Mr. Hobby for an anal probing.
Every now and then a quiz round comes along that stands atop the shoulders of all other rounds that have come before. And then it shits on their heads. In my opinion one of the greatest examples of this was the infamous and much loved Care Bear Sex visual round from a few years ago. This year, however, the visual round to beat all visual rounds whipped out its gloriousness and smacked an entire room of 1,000 geeks with it. It is perhaps the greatest visual round (in video form or any form really) ever unleashed by Geeks Who Drink. It’s a round that I simply have no words with which to describe, so I'll just show it to you here:
How about that, huh? THAT is a tough act to follow. But eight quizmasters took to the stage for round 6, “William Shakespeare, Product Support Specialist” to attempt that very thing. Imagine if the Bard was tasked with writing up instructions (in iambic pentameter) for common current day products that we are all familiar with.
I think the most suspenseful part of this round was wondering whether or not the gatekeepers in the scorekeeping room would accept Kraft Dinner instead of Kraft Mac and Cheese for question #3. Or would Team Canada flip their table, rush the stage and “shirt” everyone on stage when the answers were given, thereby creating the first Geek Bowl related international incident. Listen, Canadians are polite, until you mess with our national pride in things like Kraft Dinner (Kraft Dinner is what Canadians call Kraft Mac and Cheese).
Last year we gave you a pretty epic Round 7 called “Celebrities We Could Get.” Would we be able to top bringing you Wil fucking Wheaton (on video), our big get for last year’s number 8? You tell me. How does LeVar Burton grab you? How about Mad Men's Rich Sommer and Robert Morse? Not enough? Okay, we brought you David Koechner and Elijah Wood for another double shot of nerdiness. And then, the coup de grace, Sheldon Cooper himself, Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons. Bazinga! Apparently that costs $20,000.
At this point in the evening it was time for our 'In Memoriam' musical tribute to the geek icons, TV shows and characters we've lost in the past year. If you're one of those annoying “spoilers” types, our video package is what I consider our big “fuck you” to them. Spoilers abound when we get to the characters we lost. And as always, Bianqa LeGata came out to do the honors with backup singers Brittany St. Julien and Rebecca Tafline. This time Bianqa thrilled us with a stunning rendition of Elton John's classic “Candle In The Wind.” She was later joined by the Capital City Men's Chorus to finish out the number. This, folks, was one of the highlights of the night.
Round Eight was our random knowledge round that actually had a theme (topics we don’t normally ask about, like Islam, babies, and ‘Friends’). After that everyone waited in anticipation of the announcement of the winning teams. Was the McCheese Administration going to win two years straight? How were things going to shake out for America's favorite pub quiz team, The Piccadilly Twitz? And what about Independence Hall & Oates from Philadelphia? Actually, fuck Philly. Nobody gives a crap about them, and as long as they don't win any of our money, all is good in the world.
As the scorekeepers worked feverishly to help answer this question....
Meanwhile, a member from each team participated in the First Annual Paper Airplane Contest (or as emcee John W. Smith called it, “a way for us to kill time”).
And then, at long last, the final scores and winners were announced.
For the first year ever, there was a prize awarded for 6th place. That dubious honour consisted of a self-help book, a copy of Steve Martin's The Jerk (on VHS), and a bottle of Manischewitz. It all went to:
Sixth Place: Judge Judy & Executioner
Fifth Place: Independence Hall and Oates ($300 prize)
Fourth Place: Chang Sing ($600 prize)
Third Place: Tiger Beatdown ($1,200 prize)
Second Place: Austin Titty Limits ($3,000 prize)
First Place: How I Met Your Mothra ($6,666.66 prize)
Congratulations to all our winners. Thank you to all the teams that came out for Geek Bowl VIII. Thank you to all the quizmasters from all over this country that gave their blood, sweat and tears to help make this the best Geek Bowl Ever. See you all in Albuquerque next year for Geek Bowl IX.
I wanted to do a little something different with this year's blog. As a behind the scenes participant for the past 3 Geek Bowls, I'm always interested in hearing neat stories from Geek Bowl weekend. I’ve collected a few for you here and I'll share them before things get turned over to QuizBot.
From QM Chaz from Seattle:
"Geek Bowl was amazing. Iron Bear was great for Thursday night quiz and the 5 seconds of karaoke we stayed for. Then adventures to the grocery store to beat the time we can get some beer was awesome. I had no clue where we were but I was just along for the ride. Geek Bowl itself was an experience like no other. I'm kinda torn cause I think it would be cool to play as well! The celebs got me the most when LeVar Burton came out my inner Troy went nuts! Finished it off with hot tub shenanigans. It was one of my best vacations ever. Can't wait to do it again! But this time with more sex."
From QM David Constantino from Buffalo:
"Although I don't have any crazy stories I would like to say Geek Bowl was an amazing time. Definitely one of the funnest weekends I've ever had. I think all quizmasters should experience it sometime."
QM Meghan Brown-Scoggins:
"Attending Geek Bowl VIII was like getting a weekend pass to ride the double decker bus around the Island of Misfit Toys."
And here are a couple of really cool stories that were relayed to me that I really think encapsulate how amazing Geek Bowl and the entire Geeks Who Drink family of players can be.
QM Stephanie Stone-Robb shared this with me:
So, one of my Geek Bowl teams were captained by a couple who just lost their house in a fire last week. A house I spent this New Year's Eve in. They weren't sure they should come to Geek Bowl. I wanted them to be there so bad because I hoped the event would be a good distraction and that we Geeks would show them a good time. They were thinking of trying to sell their table. But they were there and they came over and hugged me and I was SO excited and overwhelmed to see them. I hurried backstage and cried. So. Yeah. It's a game and we are silly and irreverent but moments like this make me so happy for this job. I talked to the couple in question yesterday and were SO thankful they came and had a much needed distraction and felt like things were a bit back to normal.
QM Jason Guynes from Dallas was kind enough to link his blog that recounts the experience of one of his quizzers at Geek Bowl. You can read it here.
And probably one of the coolest stories to come out of Geek Bowl VIII concerns our 3rd place winners Tiger Beatdown. Story courtesy of QM Calleen Dean:
This was the first year Kansas City sent a team to Geek Bowl. Tiger Beatdown took third place with a team made up of two Kansas City people, three from New Jersey, and one from Philadelphia. They met for the first time that day and have already made a pact to go to Albuquerque next year with the same exact team. Quote from Tim (from KC): "So close. But an INCREDIBLE time with amazing people, and a new team that's coming back together next year from KC, Jersey and Philly to kill it in Albuquerque."And there you have it. Geeks Who Drink. Support group and helping people make new friends from all over the country.
See you in Albuquerque.
Winners photos: Samantha Perry | http://austinfreshphotography.com
All other photos: Paulina Quezada
Score-O-Matt-ic 9001 Series Quizbot's Geek Bowl VIII Round Recap
Yes, humans. You came. You saw. You Geeked. You Bowled. You experienced it, and you're either sore from the effort, or basking in the afterglow of your giant gimmick paycheck. If you're itchin' to get behind the numbers, and become one with the data, then I'm your robot. Please join me for the next two to four minutes as I break down some interesting facts behind each round of Geek Bowl VIII, and the contest overall.
Round 1 - These Team Names End Tonight
Round 1 averaged 4 pts. It was intentionally built to mess with you as it was based on overused team names. Did you do so poorly because you were busy trying to decipher what team names we were referencing? Geek Bowl VII's round 1 averaged much higher with 7 pts., so we put it in hard and firm this year. About six teams got 7 pts. on this round, and all of them finished in the top 20% of everyone playing. Only ten teams overall got a 7 or 8 in this round. Overall theme: Retire these team names, or you'll only end up hurting yourself.
Round 2 - Sexy Songs of Sex
Round 2 averaged 11 pts. It had three teams get a perfect 16 pt. score. "Tiger Beatdown"'s perfect score in this round, and a well placed Joker surely helped them get as high as they did. They were the only team in the top ten overall with a perfect Round 2. "Fatal Narcissists" also Jokered this perfect round, helping them get an early lead at the first scoring break. "Village Idiots" had the only other perfect round 2. Nice work for each team comprised of two words! This round had more missed opportunities for Jokers than the three 16 pt. rounds. The rest of the cash winners had 14 pts. or less here.
Round 3 - Lather and Rinse, But There Will Be No Repeats
Round 3 did better than its 50/50 odds and ended up with a 6 pt. average. "The Chang Sing" had the only 8 pt. round in the top ten teams, with the rest of the cash winners at 7 pts. I guess not much else to say, but it was a good, clean round. Yeah, sorry.
Round 4 - I Went To Geek Bowl, and All I Got Was This Lousy Anal Probe
Round 4 averaged 5 pts. It was the first round this night to give us a sole 0 pt. score from one team. Since we're about celebrating, I'll leave them nameless. I can tell you they're from Washington state, which is interesting because it does have a lot of paranormal activity there. Maybe it was a recent substance that was legalized? Well, a Colorado team won the whole deal, so that can't be right either.
Round 5 - A Pervert's History of The United States
Round 5 was our easiest of the 16 pt. rounds with a 12 pt. average. After the top three winners, the next five teams all Jokered this Round. By the end of Round 5, 78 teams Jokered so far during the Quiz. Round 5 was the second most Jokered round, too, with 53 teams (to the 61 for Round 2). Most of you, and especially one team, should have Jokered Round 5.
Round 6 - William Shakespeare: Product Support Specialist
Round 6 was the easiest round of the entire Quiz with a 7 pt. average. A whopping 27 teams all got 8 pts. on this round. It would agree it was full of sound and fury, but signified something for sure. The lowest score on this round was 4 pts., and only a few of those, at that. Huzzah!
Round 7 - Celebrities (We Could Get!)
Round 7 quickly brought you back down to Earth with a 4 pt. average. No teams got all 8 pts., becoming our second imperfect round in the Quiz. Six teams got 7 pts., and slightly more with 6 pts. It proved even harder than the Round 7 of this theme we had at Geek Bowl VII with 1 pt. less in average. Levar Burton FTW! Anyone else casually noticed his well-placed Emmy award?
Round 8 - Random Knowledge
As you would expect, Round 8 was the hardest 16 pt. round, but curved just a little higher with a 10 pt. average. No perfect scores in Round 8, bookending this Quiz in pretty-damn-hard rounds. Of the 15 pt. scores in Round 8, "Independence Hall and Oates" should have Jokered their's, and they would have landed firmly in 4th place. The was a $300.00 mistake. And so, everyone finally got their wish: Philly got FUCKED.
More Fun Facts
- The top three teams all Jokered Round 2, and as I pointed out, the 16 pt. score belonged to the 3rd place team.
- The top six team each represented a different U.S. City.
- This is probably the most fun fact of all, but really the least fun for "Austin Titty Limits". If they Jokered Round 8 instead of Round 2, they would have tied for 1st place, and the tiebreaker would have decided it. Even worse, if they had Jokered Round 5, they would be your champs for Geek Bowl VIII. Luckily the tiebreaker still swung in their favor. Too close, but a hell of a match.
- Spellchecker really doesn't like the word "Jokered".
Until NEXT YEAR, humans!
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Thursday January 23rd – Pre-Game
Prime the pump. As droves of shambling Quizmasters descend upon Austin there’s a good chance you’ll catch them at either The Iron Bear (8pm, downtown Austin) or Nomad Bar (8pm, off I-35 in central Austin.
Friday January 24th – Freak Bowl – Recess Arcade Bar (222 E. 6th St), 8pm until 1am
What is Freak Bowl? To find out more we could give you a full rundown… or we could be total dicks and make you show up to find out. As usual, we’re sticking with the latter.
Okay okay okay, we can tell you there will be games (lots and lots of games), drink specials (thanks to our sponsors Fireball Whisky and Thirsty Planet), souvenir pint glasses for sale, a photo-booth and a wild night of live entertainment. Also, and it’s really a request—is we’d like you to consider dressing up for Freak Bowl. Fancy gala attire, your cosplay outfit, maybe that furry costume you’ve got sitting in the closet… BRING IT. This’ll be a night to keep it weird in Austin and the perfect excuse to let that freak flag fly (but nobody gets turned away, we’re not the fucking Arcade Fire).
Saturday January 25th – Geek Bowl VIII
Enough fluff. We know why you’re here, so let the carnage commence. Doors to Geek Bowl open at 6:00pm, and the quiz will start promptly at 7:00pm.
Sunday, January 26th -- Geek Bowl Hangover Brunch – Iron Cactus (606 Trinity St.), 11am until 2pm
From 11am until 2pm the Iron Cactus will be hosting our second annual hangover brunch. It’ll be for both quizmasters and players, so don't be in a hurry to get to the airport. We still want to spend quality time with you over Bloody Marys and mimosas.