Funny You Should Ask: Trivia Night Sweeps Across Hamptons

Candace Bushnell whispers in a sotto voce. Some of the other tables can hear her. “It’s the theme from ‘Shaft!'” Her teammates shush her sternly. Then giggle.

Welcome to Trivia Night at Wölffer Estate. It’s Tuesdays here through February 7. Thursday, the action moves to Townline BBQ just up the road. Paul A. Johnson acts as emcee for both.

“People like to show off what they know,” he said. “After COVID we are all really looking for something to do.”

Bushnell was part of a team that included realtor Debbie Loeffler and stylist Sue Kort. “It’s fun and you get to hang out with your friends,” claimed Kort (aka The Missus). They dubbed their team “The Smarty Pants.” It only sort of helped. They came in third.

For Johnson, this trendy new side hustle has kept him busy. His day job is Development Director for East End Arts. Now he’s doing this four or sometimes five nights a week all across the South Fork. “It started about a month ago here at Wölffer and it’s going really well so far. It’s something to do in the winter. I do the one at Townline and two in Riverhead.”

Emcee Paul A. Johnson with patrons at Townline BBQ.

Johnson thinks one of the trivial reasons so many enjoy this pursuit? It’s not that time consuming. “You’re not out until 2 in the morning. We’re usually done by 9. It’s a nice quiet evening.” On this particular Tuesday, about 30 people came to play. It’s a comfortable number. The Townline tourney pushes patrons from the bar into the restaurant part of the building. It’s that popular. You can go it alone but generally everyone is in groups of four to five.

Cole Severance and his team are the Wölffer winners this week. They know more famous statues of rock-and-roll stars than the other players competing. Johnson asks some questions out loud, but others are photographs on handouts you have to be good at identifying. A competing team was sure one sculpture was Madonna. It was actually Chuck Berry.

Tough room.

“We go to a lot of these so we get a lot practice,” admitted Severance. “We’ve done pretty well. We came in third place at Townline.” His teammate is more specific. “You have to scan local news, read ‘Apple News’ and watch ‘Jeopardy,'” offered Selena Garcia Torres.

Wow. This is work. But if you don’t win, for the $20 entry fee you get a glass of wine to help soften the blow. It’s $10 at Townline. Some places offer cash prizes. Sag Harbor Cinema’s Monday night game is free. And you can win movie passes.

“It’s hard and it’s a diverse set of movies going back to the 1920s. There’s a lot of technical trivia,” said Andrew Bedini who runs Java Nation Coffee in Bridgehampton. “For example, ‘How many frames per second is a standard film?’ I won a tiebreaker on that question. It’s 24.'” Okay, now he’s just bragging. But the coffee guru in Bridgehampton says the Cinema crew brews up the most challenging quiz.

“What’s cool is the four employees come up with the questions,” said Bedini. “And they are a diverse four.” It can get sophisticated. After a few weeks of just reading out the questions, Sag Harbor Cinema’s Greenroom lounge put some of the questions on video. Seeing a few seconds of the beginning of a film, for example, and identifying it. Bedini says if all else fails, see what’s playing downstairs. “You study the films they are showing in the theater and the actors or directors and that’s always good for two or three points,” he said.

Everyone seems to have a theory. And a strategy for winning. Johnson says choose your teammates carefully.

“The best tip I can give is you need to curate a team with people from different specialties,” he advised. “Someone for sports, someone else for movies, someone for history. And it’s helpful if you have all different ages as well.”

Contributor Bill McCuddy loves all things trivial. He cohosts a WLIW-FM/LTV show “AirHamptons with Bridget & Bill” with JLP editor Bridget LeRoy, and hosts three podcasts on movies and pop culture. He is also a movie critic on PBS. He lives in Bridgehampton with his wife and an 87″ Sony TV. “So it’s really a miracle I get out at all.”


An East End Experience

2024 © James Lane Post®. All Rights Reserved.

Covering North Fork and Hamptons Events, Hamptons Arts, Hamptons Entertainment, Hamptons Dining, and Hamptons Real Estate. Hamptons Lifestyle Magazine with things to do in the Hamptons and the North Fork.