A Test of Wits and Trivia

Quiz Night attendees deliberated with their teams on a Thursday evening at Townline BBQ in Sagaponack.
Quiz Night attendees deliberated with their teams on a Thursday evening at Townline BBQ in Sagaponack. Carrie Ann Salvi

    There is life, and even fun, on a winter Thursday evening in Sagaponack in the form of a weekly quiz night at Townline BBQ, according to Alex Prime of East Hampton, who competed last month as a member of the Most Interesting Team in the World.
    Formerly called the Smarty Pints, the team has won “about 40 times,” so far, according to Mr. Prime, who credited his teammate Ted Benjamin with being “the brain of the team.”
    Creating a team name seems to be part of the fun. A group of teachers who compete regularly change their name each week to that of a different former Ross School employee. Two weeks ago, they were the Wallaces. A player on Your Mom seemed delighted by the notion that he could make up different phrases using the words  “Your Mom.”
    There was also an East Hampton family, Boot to the Head, who said they are weekly quiz-night goers. The Disco on Your Face team arrived in the nick of time, luckily finding room for all four members at the bar.
    Players came from all backgrounds and professions, including, that night, a self-proclaimed pool shark, an antiques historian, and a veterinarian.
    Seated at barstools around small pub tables, the teams answered questions around themes including Black History Month, comedians, music, and haiku, a theme that solicited groans from many. The topics vary weekly, with general trivia included along with more specific categories like pop culture, food trivia, music, art, geography, famous people, and a picture round. For the Feb. 23 picture round, people were shown images of cartoon characters and had to identify the actor who played the animated character.
    “They get mad if the questions are not difficult enough,” said Paul Johnson, who has served as the quizmaster since October.
    The lack of a real serious tone at the event was apparent from the moment the rules were announced. Among them: Mr. Johnson always has the final say. “You are more than welcome to argue,” he said, “but don’t.”
    Other rules included no cheating, no smartphones, no conferring with people not on your team, and, perhaps most important, be nice to the bartender.
    Six teams competed on Feb. 23, with members ranging in age from their 20s to their 50s. The teams are supposed to have a maximum of five players, but a sixth was allowed with a one-point penalty for the extra member.
    Teams deliberated on 10 questions per round while downing beer, wings, chili, sliders, and warm pretzels. Each participant paid a $10 fee, put in the pot for the grand prize. The evening’s first-place prize was $174 and went to Boot to the Head. Not Just Books took the $87 second-place purse, and the Most Interesting Team in the World accepted $29 for third.