Let me entertain you and quiz you on random trivia!
October 31, 2012 1:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm in charge of hosting a trivia & talent show night for a fundraiser. Need your advice and a few recommendations...

We've got a party room in a local pub rented out, expecting about 40. People are responsible for their own drinks, but we've got a free appetizer buffet. We've only got five people signed up for the talent show (2 days away), my fundraiser lead thinks that's an ok number and we should still go ahead. Attendance was good last year and it seems people are planning on coming this year too. So we'll be riding largely on my charisma as host, our trivia, and my ability to get audience participation on-the-spot. I know it's mostly about just having fun with it all, but I've got a few things to ask of you:

1. One lady wants to sing a song karaoke-style, I'm not inclined to lay out cash for renting a machine and disks - has anyone tried out any good PC or Mac karaoke software? Preferably freeware?

2. What are some things I could probably get audience members to come up and perform? what mini competitions for prizes can you think of?

3. I need your favorite trivia / pub quiz databases and websites!

4. Links to good clean jokes to tell

5. Your tips/tricks of being a pub trivia master/host, and whatever else you can tell me about being the ringmaster of such events!

We'll be renting 2 wireless mics, I've got a laptop, and there's audio jacks to hook up to the sound board upstairs and pipe audio back down to the speakers in our room.

Thanks in advance!
posted by lizbunny to Grab Bag (4 answers total)
One thing that they do at pub trivia is play music while people answer the questions. This draws out the evening to a couple of hours.

You have two ways of having people write their answers;

1. Using a comprehensive score sheet.

2. Or, using small scraps of paper and totaling each score, question by question.

Either way. bring a good calculator.

If you plan on using the scraps of paper, after each round, give the total scores for the teams. So everyone knows how they're doing.

Have questions only kids can answer (if you'll have kids present.) Dinosaur questions, Dr. Suess or questions about cartoons are good.

Make sure you spread them around, sports, current events, pop culture, music.

This is controversial, but the last question can be some random shit that negates an awesome score. Husbunny and I rule at trivia, so we HATE when this happens, but it can help if the scores are really lop-sided.

Here's a site that has some good tips.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:36 PM on October 31, 2012

Trivia: make doubly sure that you ask your questions in a clear manner and have really checked your answers out. Ideally, you should run your questions past a few non-players to see if they're all on the same wavelength.

Bad: "Q: Where is the Sea of Tranquility? A: Canada."
Also bad: "What was the first non-variety show to premiere on television in prime time?" Well, does Howdy Doody count as a variety show, or is it excluded because it's a kids' show? Better to just say "What was the first sitcom to premiere on TV in prime time?"

You can play songs during the questions in a few ways. (I do think this is a nice way to space things out so some good back-and-forth discussion takes place.)
--First, you can use the songs simply as spacers. Obviously, it helps if you set a time range so you don't have, like, "Song 2" followed by "Kashmir."
--Alternately, the songs themselves can be questions, and you can do this at the same time as answering other questions. Have, say, a three-song round, during which they have to fill out answer 12 questions on paper, and include a spot on the bottom of the round wheet where they need to identify the artists for each song.

Having some questions that aren't just "answer in the blank" can be good. Some ideas for this:
--Canadian, Dead or Both? (Ex. "Is John Candy Canadian, Dead or Both? Is Monty Hall Canadian, Dead or Both?") Or "Swedish or Norwegian?" (Trick question: Abba is both if you count the fact that Frida was born in Norway!)
--Match the X to the Y (so at least all the answers are in front of them)

Picture rounds can be pretty fun, too. Put four or five photocopied pictures on there and have people identify the people or place or whatever. Some fun ways to do this are things like high school photos of people who became famous, or Name The Cereal By Its Mascot, or similar.
posted by Madamina at 7:30 PM on October 31, 2012

Kjams was easy to set up and run on a mac at home. Borrow a really good singing microphone and test it out on the pub speakers before the event.

Someone did a trivia night fundraiser for my organisation recently. They did a silent auction for donated art pieces, raffled off the flower centerpieces at the dinner (raffles are great if you can get at least one awesome item donated - someone raised $20K for a friend's organisation at a bar trivia night with the top prize a donated iPad) and it definitely helps to have a cash bar - alcohol makes people more generous!

They had printed scoresheets on clipboards and pens ready to go for each table. They also made it a rule of honor that no phones were to be used during the trivia night. It's apparently way more fun to have teams or tables for these events - encourage people to come up with silly names!

Once you have a karaoke set-up, get people to come up and sing songs after the trivia event. A nice twist is to have people bid for a friend to sing, so they can chose a truly appalling song like My Heart Will Go On to be butchered with much laughter. Try and 'pre-book' a few people so you prime the audience with some willing participants.

Oh and the MC during the opening spent a few minutes going through rules and stuff like where the bathrooms are, how long the event would be etc, and made sure to remind everyone once in a while what they were fundraising for so people were organised and motivated.
posted by viggorlijah at 10:42 PM on October 31, 2012

There's no link to a database, but at our school's trivia night the most fun categories the last several years have been audio/visual. A few good categories:

1. Classic book covers with the title taken out - name that book
2. Pictures of famous duos (laurel/hardy, abbott/costello, hall/oates) - name that duo, and which one is which
3. Classic TV themes - name that show
4. Famous mascots - name that company

And last year, they did a great job of varying the categories so that more people could be involved. So our smart guy could answer questions about world capitals and our Honey Boo Boo expert could name reality TV hosts.
posted by AgentRocket at 8:27 AM on November 1, 2012

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