February 7, 2013

NYC quiz recap: Tuesday, Feb 5: THE BIG '80S QUIZ THING!

Omigod, wow! The Big ‘80s Quiz Thing was gnarly, awesome, tubular…any other outdated superlative you’d care to use. The crowds packed into The Cutting Room for five big rounds of the world’s greatest ‘80s-focused trivia, naturally, plus karaoke! What did you all think of The Human Karaoke Experience? I go way back with those guys—I’ve sung with just about live karaoke band in NYC, and HKE are my favorite: total pros, awesome song list, and the nicest people you’d ever care to meet. (Seriously, any nicer and I’d keep my distance if I were you.) By my recollection, you guys rocked out on a total of 21 songs: “Jessie’s Girl” (by a dude complete in ‘80s costume!), “Under Pressure” (rocked to the max by trivia king Jonathan Corbblah), and everything in between. BTW, HKE plays (for free) most Thursdays on the UES and a bunch of Saturdays in Bay Ridge, with a full song list 700-strong, from all decades; check out their website and make the magic happen. 

And the quiz wasn’t too shabby, if I do say so. “’80s Movie Quotes: All Chopped Up” went by awfully fast (by design; we wanted to maximize karaoke time)—my ace jacket designer, Sherry, told me she missed the whole thing while out for a smoke. But fun—I knew I wanted to do something with John Cusack’s “I don’t want to buy anything,” etc., quote from Say Anything…, so I’m glad I was able to construct an entire puzzle around it. And huzzah to everyone who knew it was Back to the Future 2 and not part one. ("Why don't you make like a tree and get outta here!")

And the high spirits resulted in some primo Smart-Ass Point action. The werewolf-themed Monster Cereal that didn’t make it out of the ‘80s alive was called Kibbles and Bits of Human Flesh. The fraudulent yet Pulitzer-winning series of Washington Post articles was about an eight-year-old boy with erectile dysfunction. The Pittsburgh Penguin who was the NHL’s only non-Gretzky MVP of the ‘80s was Burgess Meredith. Eight of the ten ‘80s TV themes played backwards were Cheers. And finally, one team left several answers blank, instead saying, “We were born in 1980, 1982, and 1985 respectively, which means we suck at this game. But at least we can make you feel old.” To which another team retorted, “We were born in 1986, 1987, and 1989. At least we can make that other team feel old.”

The finale was tense: We had tie for third place, requiring a quick run-off between returning champs the Fantastic Fournicators, Strippers for Stephen Hawking, and old friends making their triumphant return, It’s Always Hump Day for Richard III (once upon a time known as Robin Hood and His Merry Meningitis). Nobody could name the home state shared by two ‘80s U.S. Vice President candidates, but Fournicator Steve made it into the finale with some sweet knowledge of the song title shared by the Go-Go’s and Tears for Fears. Thus we were left with the FF, Cash Cab for Cutie (now known as Cash Cab for Tootie, ha), and Gerard Depardouche. And the Douche took it in three questions, thanks to Buck’s knowledge of the sitcom title character whose real name was Penelope, and the country whose president was assassinated in 1981. Smurfy.

Not the best photo, but we didn't want to get in the way of the dude jamming out to Quiet Riot.

The standings:
1. Gerard Depardouche
2. The Fantastic Fournicators
3. Cash Cab for Tootie
4. It’s Always Hump Day for Richard III/Strippers for Stephen Hawking (tie)
6. Totally Incontinental
7. Friends Don’t Let Friends Sing Bad Karaoke/Oh Noah You Didn’t (tie)
9. Debutante Ballbusters
10. Just the Tip O’Neil

NEXT: Excitement galore. In the midst of taping the Big Quiz Thing TV show (yee-ha!), we're doing the Big Oscars Quiz Thing at 92YTribeca on February 24, right before the ceremony screening; tickets available now, details soon. We return to the Cutting Room on March 12 with our usual multimedia grab bag format, plus a superb opening comedian: Ophira Eisenberg, host of my second-favorite quiz show, NPR's Ask Me Another. We carry on in Boston, L.A., and Chicago every month (calendar here). We're looking ahead to the summer, booking private parties galore and talking about another Big Family Quiz Thing. And what do you think: Should we try a Big '90s Quiz Thing? The Human Karaoke Experience is down for it (yes, ladies, they know Alanis Morissette). Stay tuned.


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