Meet Your Quizmaster
Every first and third Friday of the month. Interviews by "Quizmaster of the Year," Michelle Miller!
Take a peek behind the host with our in depth interview series with the men and women who help run Geeks Who Drink each and every week! Click Here to see a list of who we've already interviewed!
I got to sit down with Texas native and Statistics graduate student, Katie Dessi. We discussed her love of video games and my hatred of Tyra Banks.
So, you're in Houston. Are you from Houston?
Nope. I moved here 3 years ago from Dallas. I was born there.
What took you to Houston?
Grad school. Nobody from Dallas voluntarily moves to Houston.
I think that statement stands no matter where you're from.
If you're from El Paso it might seem like a good move.
Yeah, EP is a bigger hole than Houston.
I was in EP once. I ate from the wrong food place and spent 12 hours in the restroom because of it. Never again.
12 Hours in a restroom is a slight step up from 12 hours in EP. What's the graduate degree in?
Statistics! It's not nearly as exciting as it sounds. I want to get hired at a non-research university and do consulting for law firms.
Katie Dessi FancyPants.
The exact opposite actually. Because that's a nice work from home gig, which means I don't have to shower or get dressed to make money.
Katie Dessi NoPants
There you go. I'm not wearing any now. Maybe. Only the NSA knows for sure.
I am...only because I came into an office. They are sweatpants though...so there's that.
I don't own a pair of sweatpants.
Well...they are yoga pant type things.
I'm more of a parachute pant sort of person.
Man, I miss my parachute pants.
I like knowing that everyone can hear me no matter how quietly I try to walk.
That's what those sweet 90's track suits are for.
I'm pretty sure my sister had to be surgically removed from hers.
I was once at the video store around Christmas and an entire family walked by wearing those things.
That was every video store around Christmas.
It was a walk by synchronized swooshing. OK....back to important things. How did you find out about GWD?
Jason Warren kept pestering me to come play at West End. AAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL the way in downtown. Ugh. I really didn't play too many times before I was hired. It was a bit of a drive from Denton, and I like Jason, but not that much. And I didn't know anyone in Houston to play with when I moved, so I didn't play down here. Jason texted me about applying one day, so I did. I'm pretty sure I was hired because of my hair.
That's not a terrible reason to get a job. It's better than not getting a job because of it.
I'm sure I'll start running into that wall once I graduate. Ha!
Ok, so your fancy hair got you a job. Tell me about your first hosting experience.
I was fortunate enough to start out at Lucky Strike. It's a bowling alley for people who don't have anything better to blow their money on so they pay $50/hr to bowl. (Or something equally insane.) I was in the lounge area. Believe it or not, nobody hangs out in an expensive bowling alley's lounge. So I'm pretty sure the only two teams were my trainer and the bar staff. It was a difficult venue to screw up. I did enjoy hosting there though. I had a wireless mic. So I could get booze AND ask a question.
My dream venue has a wireless mic. I just haven't found it yet.
My dream venue is at a nudist camp...or a strip club. And I'm being 100% serious. The pictures for the blog would be epic. Nothing but teams coming up with clever ways to hide their naughty bits. I'm sort of surprised nobody has tried to justify going to strip clubs on the grounds that they were selling a venue.
Holland and Pio tried that in Oregon. I think they got kicked out of Oregon. Do you have a particular type of round that you enjoy hosting? What are your favorite types of questions?
I like the rounds to the tune of [blank] describes a movie. Mostly because I get to do voices. I suppose I like questions that don't cause people to riot. Ha!
I enjoyed the hulk rounds combined with that online hulk soundboard. That was a good time for my quizzers. Mostly because every noise sounded like Hulk in the middle of an orgasm.
The challenge with that round was lasting all 8 questions. My throat started to waive the white flag around question 6. It became "Hulk Is Miserably Ill and Has Been Netflixing in Bed All Day."
Luckily I sound like the Hulk regularly.
HA! I do not.
Tell me about your quizzes. Do you do anything special that will make me want to attend one?
So there are only two weekly "out of the ordinary" events. The first is a traveling shirt. Each week the winners take a shirt home and mark it up. They get pretty intense about it. One team sends the shirt home with a guy whose wife is a killer embroiderer. There are all these elaborately stitched out scenes. It's spiffy.
The second is 95% of the time the manager picks out a bottle of booze he needs to get rid of and I am charged with giving the entire bottle out via shots. I start with last place at the end of each round and start giving out shots to teams that haven't won a round. "You're already out of the running, might as well get crunk!" Otherwise there are a lot of running gags. This is all at my Tuesday venue. My Monday venue is odd. I host inside and everyone sits outside on the patio. I have schizophrenic moments. Talking to an empty room.
How does that work?
I would assume so.
I like to stare out the window and talk and pretend I can hear the crowd's responses. Slow waves. Both venues are entirely regulars. I like that.
I love that. My regulars are the reason I go back every week. So, hosting for Geeks doesn't pay the bills and neither does being a student. How do you make money to keep those locks of yours died so perfectly?
Lol, actually, being a student does pay the bills. Stipend baby!
Man...I miss those days.
It's a great gig...I managed the Rice grad bar for a year. Volunteer position. I get free beer for life in return. Granted the average beer costs $2, but still.
Are you talking about Valhalla?
Yep! How the fuck do you know about that?
I went down there to audition and I had given up all drinking until I was done with grad school auditions and that was my last one. My friend took me there to celebrate. There are pictures of me dancing with the lawn crew thanks to 50 cent Shiner drafts.
OOoo... that was back in the day. The price went up to 75 cents, and now 95. We replaced Shiner with Ziegenbock.
But you can get bottles for $2.
Do they still not allow tips? Anything you tipped got used to throw a giant party.
We do accept tips. They go towards the bartender ball fund. All bartenders volunteer for 1 hour shifts. The monthly parties are their repayment. This summer we rented out a party barge on Lake Conroe, and invade a BBQ restaurant on the way home. Bring LOTS AND LOTS of beer on the barge.
Sounds like an excellent time.
The summer parties are the best. We do a party barge, we do a float trip, and then one other water related event that changes. I ran a Smash Bro tournament a month ago. We used an auditorium classroom, so the games were played on a giant screen!
I need a job at this place. Well, would you consider yourself more geek or drink?
I looooooooooooove video games. I have 13 systems! I've got an NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, and og Game Boy. I also have a Sega Genesis (Gen 1) and Dreamcast. I forgot the Nintendo Virtual Boy I've got a Turbo Grafx16, Neo Geo AES, PS2, and XBox 360. I think that's 13.
I want a Sega Genesis so bad.
The Movie Trading Company sometimes has them.
I miss Toe Jam & Earl and Sonic.
OOOO.. I have Toe Jam and Earl! I also have all the Sonic games, even the Knuckles add on thingie. But besides video games I’m probably more drink. That said, I'm a beer and a half drunk.
What are some of your favorite beers?
Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout is my absolute favorite. I'm a fan of dumping beer into whiskey and bourbon barrels. In the summer Harpoon's UFO is great. Oh, and just about anything by Rogue. In particular their Double Chocolate Stout.
Rogue is delicious.
I KNOW! I have a case of Dead Guy that was aged in Dead Guy whiskey barrels.
I just found a bottle of Boulevard chocolate ale that I forgot I bought in my refrigerator. I'm excited about opening it up.
Oooohhhhh. Their Rye on Rye is insanely delicious.
I like a lot of stuff from there.
The chocolate ale was confusing. I was expecting something darker. You know... because chocolate. Aventinus Eisbock is one of my five favorites.
Deschutes is the other brewery that I have never had a bad beer from.
Not a fan of them.
But their beers tend to be too hoppy/bitter for me. Even their stouts are roasty/bitter. I'm a wimp. IBUs over about 30 hurt me.
I'm an IPA lover. I love the hoppy stuff. Chainbreaker or Red Chair is my go to summer beer. I can spend an entire interview talking about beer...Beer and the movie Clue.
You should mix your beer with booze and an egg.
You lost me at egg. Explain.
It’s a stout flip. 2-3 shots of a stout, 1-1.5 shots of blackstrap run, .5 shot of turbinado, 1 egg, shake shake shake, drink. You can make a flip with lots of beers though. Pumpkin beer and SoCo. Heffes and a good gin.
I think you might have just changed my life.
Any hipster bar will have the stuff to make one, but they'll charge too much and they're super easy to make at home.
I don't spend enough time at hipster bars.
The people watching is fantastic, and you can play fun drinking games like, "Take a shot for a waxed stache!" or "Give a shot for an asymmetrical skirt made out of a picnic blanket!"
I host on Tuesdays in a hipstery neighborhood....but I think my quiz scares a lot of them away. I should venture into their natural habitat after a quiz some time.
Bring lots of purell.
So, when you're playing quiz, is there a topic you are particularly good at? What's your pub quiz specialty?
I'm miserable at it. Heh, I do really well with Top 40 music rounds. The second we move to marching band covers all hell breaks loose. Visual rounds are usually a disaster for me. Current events are hit or miss. If there's a lot of celebrity gossip in the round, I tank. Name 8 x in 2.5 minutes never goes well for me. What I'm saying is, I like to play, but I'm really bad at it. Sort of like undergrads and sex. Sandra Lee and cooking.
My favorite teams are the ones that never win and come back week after week. I had a team say to me "We need to joker R2 because it is the round we are best at." They got 9/16.
Ouch. My favorite teams are the ones who give lip.
You like mouthy quizzers?
Yes. And that’s all I’ll say about that. Ha!
Perfect. So, we do a thing called quiz for a cause. Is there a charity out there you'd like to make money for?
Yes. It's the "Katie Dessi Student Loan Repayment Fund.” It's a great cause. They're always taking donations. I hear that if you donate enough money to the cause you get special favors. The charity refuses to publicly announce what those favors are.
I'm sure they are "mouthy" favors.
I heard a rumour that some favors are mouthy, but that those favors are outsourced.
Immigrants...taking all the good jobs.
The same company handles mouth favors that operates the call center. In all seriousness, I dig animal rescue charities. People suck, but cats are cute. I think we've all been classically conditioned to get misty eyed when we hear that damn Sarah McLachlan song. "THE POOR PUPPIES AND KITTIES!!! SAVE THEM ALLL!!!”
I've gotten to host 2 puppy fundraisers. We move the quiz outside and everyone brings dogs.
THEY ARE THE BEST!! I WANT ONE EVERY WEEK!!
Shit! That would be amazing! I can't have pets, so I'll just make my players bring their pets to me.
My dog Chester Copperpot loves the quiz. He has a bow tie for just such occasions.
HAHA! Dogs are nicer about wearing clothing than cats are. I want a giraffe with a top hat. Because they need just a few more inches.
I said that about my last boyfriend.
He was a midget?
He was 2 inches shorter than me.
HAHAHA... I thought you were making a penis joke. And that I was being clever by switching it to height. I zigged when I should have zagged.
It happens. We're clearly no Penn & Teller.
Penn and Teller are great. There was entire season of America's Next Top Model where Tyra kept telling a girl, "You zig when everyone else zags." I'm not sure what she thought she meant.
I fucking hate Tyra Banks.
I love to hate her.
Like, I think the world would be better without her.
The woman is batcrap crazy. She actually did a photoshoot where she changed all the girl's ethnicities by painting their faces different colors.
I used to spend my afternoons watching Maury and her show would come on after.
THAT'S RIGHT! That bitch has a talk show!
Because I'm lazy, I'd watch it.
One time she cried because she wore a fat suit and she felt awkward on the subway.
ROTFLMAO. That's some cutting edge journalism. The frightening thing is she thinks she means well.
Then another time she told a girl that was pregnant and working at the bunny ranch because the father of the baby and her entire family abandoned her. She told the girl she was a disgrace and should be ashamed.
FUCK YOU TYRA BANKS! You just made the pregnant hooker cry.
You've seen the "Tyra Banks is crazy" YouTube videos, right? There needs to be a diva temper tantrum video round. Or audio and make every answer Tyra Banks. Spoiler alert: Tyra does not like it when you quit her show.
I am going to spend my evening watching those videos. So, we like to do private events. If you could host any private event, what would your dream private event be?
That's easy. Henry Cavill taking a shower. I'd totally ask him questions. Ryan Reynolds showering would be another good private event.
He's mediocre in every way but his looks.
If he's showering, that's really all he needs. I'm not asking him to act out Waterworld in the shower. Maybe a scene from Boogie Nights.
LOL...If he's showering WITH Henry Cavill, and they tie, the tie-breaker will be to act out Waterworld.
Perfect! So, you've been around for a little while. What's your advice for quizzers and new quizmasters out there?
My advice for new players? Every player should be able to identify three songs: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Canada; "Pink Houses" by John Middle Name Optional Mellencamp; and "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotee. For new hosts? Don't try to be funny. It's uncomfortable for everyone. Finish in 2 hours. Your first few nights should be hosted mildly buzzed. It helps take the edge off. DON'T SLEEP WITH PLAYERS OR WAITSTAFF! I didn't, but a sub did. Now he refuses to sub for me. Boo.
That sucks and is also great advice. You should probably know that the next time I come to Houston I'm going to show up on your doorstep just to play your Sega. I'll bring a dozen eggs. You're welcome in advance for the eggs.
HAHAHA... That would be weird, but not completely unprecedented.
You can catch Katie at Christian's Tailgate Midtown on Tuesdays, Little J's on Wednesdays and McElroy's on Thursdays. All her quizzes start at 8pm. You should go check them out and make sure you sing Summer of '69 to her. This is my final interview for you guys and the man that was once described as "not being aggressive enough for his face," Jason Guynes, will be taking over. I'm taking this opportunity to go and try all the cool things I've had the chance to learn about from my many Quizmaster interviews. See you bums at Geek Bowl IX!
I got to sit down with one of Tacoma's finest. We talked about bars that host quiz and cage fights (sometimes on the same night). Thankfully, I made it out of the interview alive.
Thanks for taking time to chat with me.
I'm just honored that you are interviewing me before Colin Sheehan.
Awe...did you not read Colin's interview a few months ago?
Hahaha, apparently not. I see his name and keep scrolling.
You have one job. Be more interesting than Colin Sheehan.
I think I can handle that.
Alright. So, first things first. How long have you been with the company?
Going on 3 years.
Now, you are in Tacoma, right?
Fuck yes. I quiz in Gig Harbor though, which is basically Tacoma for rich people.
Ohh...60% more money and 30% fewer stabbings?
I mean, it's Tacoma. You can go to Nigeria and find 30% fewer stabbings.
Good point. So, how did you find out about Geeks Who Drink?
My wife and I strolled into the legendary Paddy Coyne's quiz one Tuesday evening. And I met a man who turned out to be a God.
And that man was?
Holland Fucking Hume.
The man, the myth, the ledgend.
His penis really is that big, ladies and gentleman. I've seen it.
You're not special. Everyone has seen it.
So, you were a quiz player. Were you a winner?
I was...and then I wasn't. Tacoma has stiff competition, and as quiz grew, Holland asked me to be his scorekeeper. Then i went on a little audition with Jon Pio, and all of a sudden, I'm driving 35 miles each way hosting quiz in Renton.
Talk to me about Renton.
Haha. I had a quizzer get mad and punch his girlfriend's mom in the face after quiz. I mean, Jack's was an interesting place. They had a cage in the bar...for fights.
Renton sounds amazing.
I am stronger QM because of my time there, that's for sure.
I have zero doubt about that. So, what do you do besides host a quiz? What's your day job?
I am a CNC Machinist/Programmer.
I don't know what those words mean.
I take raw materials (aka metal) and turn it into usable parts with the help of computer-controlled machines.
Oh man...you're like an alchemist.
Haha, not quite, but I am probably going to be responsible for Skynet. Sorry in advance for that.
I'll remember this. So, if I you had to list the top 3 best things about being a quizmaster what would they be?
First and foremost, being able to fuck with people. I'm kind of an asshole, and putting a Microphone in my hand just makes it worse. It's like how bullies in high school become cops. The second thing would be the worship. I force my quizzers to cheer for me every week, no joke. If I don't hear whistling and clapping, I don't start quizzing.
HAHAHAHAHA!! Awesome! And #3?
Three is just the number of awesome stories I get to tell about quiz. Like the girl who told me she [do things to] me in the bathroom at Jack's if I made sure her team at least came in second place.
SECOND? Awe...that poor girl's dad didn't love her enough.
Yeah. she wasn't even shooting for first. They came in last.
That's your story and you're sticking to it. So, you love hosting the quiz. What are your favorite rounds?
I love Before and After Rounds. Mainly because most quizzers hate them. I love it when the bar is really fucking loud and you ask a ridiculously difficult question, and all of a sudden, it's completely silent.
So, are you more geek or drink?
I have really cut down on the alcohol consumption, but I am a total geek. I can't watch Big Bang Theory because I find myself arguing with my TV about various nerdy things.
I can't watch BBT because I think it is a terrible show.
It certainly is and my parents love it. If I am over there and they are watching it, I have to leave the room. One thing I really hate about it is that none of the women on the show are geeky. Like, even the smart ones don't like Star Trek or even Buffy.
You already know more about it than I do. So, what do you geek out for?
Like I said, my parents love that show. Probably my biggest geek obsession is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I'm also into most Sci Fi, really, especially Star Trek.
Cool. Old Trek or TNG?
I'm a fan of the Original Series, but TNG is where it's at.
Good answer. So, did you see the TMNT movie?
It could be good. They already have that half mutant Megan Fox in it. Seriously, have you seen her thumbs?
Hold on, let me google it.
Yeah....TOE THUMBS, SON! Aside from hosting a fundraiser to get Ms. Fox a thumb transplant, if you could host a QFAC for any charity, what would you choose and why?
Oh shit, now you are making me think...probably Autism Speaks. I used to be a caregiver for autistic adults and I feel like even today a lot of people are confused as to what autism is. I think awareness is pretty important.
I agree with that. That's a pretty noble cause. Now if you could host any private event what would you choose?
Jason Segel's bachelor party with Seth Rogan and Neil Patrick Harris as groomsman.
Hahaha...why those three guys?
I have been told by more than one person that Seth Rogan and I have the same run, so having an opportunity to have a foot race with somebody who runs just like me would be awesome. Neil Patrick Harris knows magic and shit. Plus he's gay and gay people are cool automatically, and Jason Segel because I feel like he doesn't mind embarrassing himself, which would be necessary.
I'll be sure to send this interview out to all of them.
Sweet! yeah, let's make it happen
How would you say working for geeks has changed your life?
It's more than just changed my life, it's taken it over. I used to hang out with a lot of different people from diverse backgrounds. Now, everyone I hang out with is connected to quiz somehow QMs, quizzers, or bar staff, which is cool, because a lot of my old friends were lame.
Way to upgrade.
Yeah, none of my old friends ever offered to [do things to me] to finish second in anything.
Aside from "perfect your sexual innuendo," if you could give any advice to quizzers or Quizmasters what would it be?
For the quizzers: Listen to the fucking quizmaster. Nothing I hate more than telling a room full of quizzers that you do round 5 in your own time and that it's due with round 4. Only for them to come at me after round 4 with "Oh you want the pictures now, we haven't done that yet." For quizmasters: Don't be lazy. It is easy to get into a routine and "phone in" the quiz. A good QM doesn't allow that to happen.
I got to sit down with new(ish) Chicago Quizmaster, Wyl. He introduced me to Jeppson's Malort and I just hope I make it out of this interview alive now. Alright....first things first, tell me where you are. How long have you been with Geeks? You're a baby!! That's how we like them. So, how did you find out about Geeks? Excellent. What is your day job if we are your night job? Talk to me about Nerds at Heart. That sounds amazing. How many matches have you made? Fun! Yeah, I would assume so. Plus nerd love is adorable. Let’s talk about ghost writing. As a ghost writer, what do you write? Romance novels? Please say it's romance novels. Tech blogs are boring. I like sex advice. I guess that is true. Creative nicknames are where it’s at. So, would you say you are more geek or drink? What does this Malort taste like? Oh dear that sounds amazing. That last part sounds terrible. You are the live embodiment of a Jackass episode. We can dream. So, besides terrible booze, what do you "geek out" for? Who's your favorite author? Nice. I will have to look into him. We do a little thing called Quiz For A Cause. Do you have a non profit that you'd like to help make some money? That sounds like a very worthwhile cause. Tell me something about your quiz. Sell it to me. Convince me to come to your quiz when I come to Chicago. I would think those are the people you would force to do the macarena. All hail the macarena. So, how would you say coming on board with Geeks has changed your life. Anyone in particular you'd like to give a shout out to? I AM A MAN SHROUDED IN MYSTERY! There are worse things to be shrouded in, I suppose. Do you have any advice you'd like to impart upon the quizzers of the world? Excellent advice. Do you have any advice for fledgling quizmasters?
Buena Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States
I started in October of last year, so, what's that... 8 months?
I am. A heavily drinking baby.
I moved into a new apartment last July, right around the time that Geeks was starting up here. There's a bar around the corner from my house (Holiday Club) that had a poster, and I started geeking out about it. We went the first night it was there, won, and then came back every week. Eventually I needed a night job and GWD was hiring.
I've got two, I do public relations and marketing for a dating company called Nerds at Heart and I am a ghost writer.
Nerds at Heart is an in-person singles events company. It's similar to speed dating but with rotating groups and board games. We also add in trivia questions, a quiz to see who is "the biggest nerd" and themed prizes and drink specials. We're in 4 cities across the Midwest and are expanding.
I don't have all of the numbers (we don't do post event match making, since we want to encourage our attendees to take that step themselves), but in the last year or so there have been three marriages and two babies. The most recent coming just a few weeks back.
That's my favorite part of the job. Seeing people actually fall in love. It's cute. And beats writing promo copy all day.
One guy proposed on the London Eye with a handmade box that looked like a die. Their wedding was dice themed. It was amazing.
God I wish it was romance novels. Right now I do blog posts for a tech company. But I HAVE worked on a book of sex and marriage advice before. That was... interesting...
I'm a bigger fan of doing the tech stuff. There's only so many synonyms you can use for vagina before your stomach starts to turn.
I am the perfect combination of both of those things. I deal with geeks and nerds all day, I perpetually outgrow my bookshelf, and I drink like a goddamn fish. In Chicago there's this booze called Malort, and my obsession with it has led to me modeling their t-shirts and getting a tattoo of their logo, paid for by them. To put a bow on that, I am also a geek about drinking.
Grapefruit flavored gasoline.
Also, bugspray and earwax infused vodka
Most people don't like it. It's usually a dare or a joke, but it's the only hard alcohol I drink anymore.
With a little less male nudity, though.
I get overly excited looking at specs for new gadgets that I can't afford. Also new books. And new bars. So, in order of geeking out-edness: new bars, new books, new tech toys.
Etgar Keret. He can make your soul ache in 100 words. Each of his collections is around 50 stories, so it's a ton of bang for your buck, too.
Yeah. There's an organization that provides mentors to refugee teen girls called GirlForward. They do some amazing work and deserve all the love/money/shout outs they can get.
I certainly think so
My Tuesday night is hands down the greatest Tuesday night quiz in the city. Besides the fact that we are notorious for our dance offs, it's not unusual for us to have liquor companies come out to pass around free samples and swag. Add that onto the fact that I am the greatest QM who has ever goddamn lived and you've got one hell of a night ahead. And if it's your first time, we won't even force you to do the macarena.
No way. You have to let the macarena into your soul on your own terms. Those impure of heart are not wanted in the mass macarena.
Well, my liver is certainly worse off for it, but I'm more comfortable in front of people, make small talk easier, and have made some fairly life changing friends.
They know who they are.
Trust the quiet ones, tip your bartenders better, and put your goddamn phones away.
Don't trust the quiet ones, tip your bartenders better, and stretch out with your feelings.
I got to sit down with new(ish) Chicago Quizmaster, Wyl. He introduced me to Jeppson's Malort and I just hope I make it out of this interview alive now.
Alright....first things first, tell me where you are.
How long have you been with Geeks?
You're a baby!!
That's how we like them. So, how did you find out about Geeks?
Excellent. What is your day job if we are your night job?
Talk to me about Nerds at Heart.
That sounds amazing. How many matches have you made?
Yeah, I would assume so. Plus nerd love is adorable.
Let’s talk about ghost writing. As a ghost writer, what do you write? Romance novels? Please say it's romance novels.
Tech blogs are boring. I like sex advice.
I guess that is true. Creative nicknames are where it’s at. So, would you say you are more geek or drink?
What does this Malort taste like?
Oh dear that sounds amazing.
That last part sounds terrible.
You are the live embodiment of a Jackass episode.
We can dream. So, besides terrible booze, what do you "geek out" for?
Who's your favorite author?
Nice. I will have to look into him. We do a little thing called Quiz For A Cause. Do you have a non profit that you'd like to help make some money?
That sounds like a very worthwhile cause.
Tell me something about your quiz. Sell it to me. Convince me to come to your quiz when I come to Chicago.
I would think those are the people you would force to do the macarena.
All hail the macarena. So, how would you say coming on board with Geeks has changed your life.
Anyone in particular you'd like to give a shout out to?
I AM A MAN SHROUDED IN MYSTERY!
There are worse things to be shrouded in, I suppose. Do you have any advice you'd like to impart upon the quizzers of the world?
Excellent advice. Do you have any advice for fledgling quizmasters?
I got to sit down with one of Austin's finest and one of our newest "overlords" here at Geeks, Kavi Kardos. We talked about weird required reading and her love of tequila.
So, how long have you been with "Umbrella Corp?" Errr....I mean Geeks Who Drink?
I got hired in November 2011 as a QM, started hosting my first venue in early 2012 and then fully sold out in May 2014.
"Officially sold out" Explain...
As of May this year I'm the new(ish) Director of PR and Marketing for Geeks, so this is like my life now.
What does that entail?
Oh jesus. um, let's see...I'm in charge of making sure people know about us and all the cool stuff we're doing, like themed quizzes, Geek Bowl and the Rumble in the Pub, and of course our everyday quizzes too. I spend a lot of time on Facebook, so it's kind of like what everyone else does at their jobs, but I don't get in trouble for it.
What made you the right person for this job?
Was it your extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of facebook? Do you know where the "back room" of facebook is?
No, but I have a friend who works for them and she once stood about four feet away from Zuck for like an hour. I'm a highly persuasive person, so that helps, and I had just enough experience with press outreach/PR-type stuff to feel like I had a shot at the job, when it became available.
What did you do before you became a "Corporate" Geek?
I have two degrees in publishing that are clearly having next to no impact on my life now. Well, I worked in that field for a bit before deciding I needed to get my foot in the marketing door, since that's a big industry in Austin.
Doing nothing with one wasn't enough so you went back for a second?
Apparently, I just really like being in school, but no one tells you that taking online classes is kind of shitty and totally different from sitting in a real classroom. I did the Masters through a University of Houston online program.
How did you first find out about Geeks? Were you a quizzer?
No, by the time I auditioned I had only played one Geeks quiz. I had seen our posters all over town and had just gotten fired from hosting a really crappy, proprietary trivia night (not naming names), so I wanted something similar but better.
Tell me about your audition process for us.
I played a quiz at Nomad here in Austin - hosted by Dav Wallace - and then went to auditions pretty soon after that. I think I read a question about Vin Diesel? I got hired, then I trained with John and James at the Highball, which was... a thing.
So, you have a job hosting this super rad quiz. What makes your quiz so great in a town of ALL THE QUIZZES?
I host two nights a week at the same bar (besides my scorekeeping gig on Sundays), so I've gotten to develop the kind of relationship with my bar managers and quizzers that I think a lot of people don't get to have. Read into that what you will. Almost all my quizzers at this point are regulars and I hang out with the bar staff outside of quiz, so it's kind of like getting paid to hang out with buddies twice a week. Only they all have to pay attention to me the whole time.
Exactly. I always tell people that it's like getting paid to force my friends to pay attention to me for 2 hours.
Other people looking at me is like oxygen. I'm an only child.
Basically. So, do you consider yourself more geek or drink?
Drink for sure. It's a widely known fact at this point because I can't stop writing about it in my quiz blogs, but Chelsea (my roommate and fellow GWD corporate goon) maintains an impressive list of movies I've never seen. Those alone knock me out of the running for geekiness, but there's a ton of other geek stuff I still have yet to get into as well. I will, however, drink you and everyone you know under the table.
What's on your list of geek things to get into?
Comics is at the top. I keep getting recommendations that I need to act on. Not that I have a lot of time for leisure reading. But, yeah, comics are definitely on my list.
I keep meaning to get into them, but then I start watching another season of Seaquest DSV. When you drink. what's your drink of choice?
Beer is definitely my poison, and that's something I do geek out about. But I'm also a big fan of the agave liquors. A good mezcal drink is a beautiful thing.
Talk to me about beers.
Beers... my favorite of all time is Rogue's Dead Guy Ale, and I'm almost always impressed with what Dogfish Head is doing. Luckily central Texas is a great place for breweries so there's always a ton of local-ish stuff to drink. One of my dream promos for Geeks Who Drink involves getting some craft brewery to do a collaboration with us on a special GWD beer.
I want a geeks beer so bad! Kink's IPA! MAKE IT HAPPEN!
I'll see what I can do.
Thank you! So, if you could host any dream private event anywhere what would it be?
I'd have to say Playboy Mansion.
In that weird hot tub room?
Either that or amongst the peacocks
Who would you be hosting to? Just a few bunnies or would Heff be there?
Hef would have to be there. The only way I'd settle for him not being in attendance is if I was hosting a PE for his funeral.
What about a QFAC? Who would you like to help make some dough?
I'm a sucker for animals, so it would definitely be for an animal shelter of some kind. Emancipet here in Austin is a great org. They cut off a lot of balls.
I've gotten to host 2 puppy quizzes here and they are my favorite!
Yeah, I've never gotten to do one but I've rescued three pets and I'm ready to deck anyone who gets a dog from a breeder. I even got myself hit by a car while saving a puppy on a busy street, so I feel like I'm well on my way.
Besides beer, what are some things you "geek out" for?
Books, mostly. I'm a literary nerd. I'll talk about lit theory for hours.
What is on your "must read" list for people?
That's a tough question, because it really depends on the reader, but I'd say that every human should read something by John Updike and some of the old Winnie-the-Pooh books. American Psycho is my favorite novel, but it's pretty hard to recommend because it's so fucked up and I wouldn't want the recommendee thinking there's something wrong with me.
My book that I always recommend is Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. I don't care if people think there's something wrong with me. Everyone should read that book.
Haha, I'll check it out.
You won't regret it. So, how would you say working for Geeks Who Drink has changed your life?
Well, in the last three months it's changed everything, as you'd expect from any new full-time job. But, in general it's introduced me to an entirely new group of friends. It's made me a more confident person, all that stuff you always hear. It's all true.
What kind of advice do you have for someone that is thinking about filling out that online application to come work for us?
First of all, use bit.ly/geeksapply if you're doing it on your phone or tablet. Secondly, for the love of god, just be yourself. There's nothing worse than an audition wherein the person on the mic is acting the way they think a QM is supposed to act.
That's excellent advice. What's your advice for the people out there thinking about attending your quiz?
Show up on time, and you'll have a way better night if you're willing to let go of any aversion you might have to pop punk, because I'm going to play a lot of it.
Explain pop punk to me please?
Fall Out Boy. Remember New Found Glory? Them too. Just really terrible stuff. That you listened to when you were 14. Or almost 28, in my case.
What drink do you recommend your quizzer buy you if they want to grease the wheels?
I guess that depends on exactly which wheels we're talking about, but if there's tequila in it, I'll probably at least grant you brownie points.
Brownie points are a good place to start. Anything else they can do for "brownie points?"
For heaven's sake, sign up for the Rumble if you haven't already. Just do it. It's free and you win things for showing up to a quiz you're already coming to.
Are there any readers out there you'd like to acknowledge? Now's the time.
Sure. My dad is definitely reading this. Hi, Dad.
You can catch Kavi at The Drag Bar on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Head on out there and buy that girl some tequila.