3 Life Lessons from your Pub Trivia Host

Hosting pub trivia, or entertainment side-hustles in general, are good moonlighting gigs, but great for the extroverted introvert. “That’s not a thing,” you say, to which I respond that nature is full of oxy-morons (but don’t press me for examples). You enjoy people and socializing, but at the end of the day, you crave your ‘Me time’.

Before working on a cruise-ship, I got my fill of extroverted introversion by hosting trivia in bars for three years (plus the glory of living by myself). Those were some of my best times, and when I think about not having taken the chance and auditioning for the gig, I can only imagine how lackluster life would have been without it. Life would have been a 40-hour per week desk-monkey job, the friends I would have never met, and… not much else.

Anyway, before you quit your day-job to become a trivia host†, here are three tidbits I’d like to leave you with:

It’s just a f**king game

For those of you who watch Jeopardy! every single night and get personally offended when the contestants don’t bet the big bucks during the final… I’m one of you. Unabashedly, I take armchair trivia way too seriously, but it’s good to have passions in life (I think). What’s not good? Forgetting the lessons we all learned in kindergarten: there is such a thing as bad sportsmanship. Don’t be a sore loser. Don’t be a sore winner. It’s just a f**king game, calm your tits.††

Come on, we all know that one person we hate having over on game night because they’re utterly miserable assholes if they win, lose, or just exist in our presence. Same goes for trivia, except the audience is tripled and you can’t kick them out of your house because your house is a bar you don’t own. You’d be surprised at the amount of adults who feel completely comfortable throwing temper tantrums because, “I know I wrote , but [correct answer] is what I meant!!!”

Once or twice in my three years of hosting? How about once or twice per month.

  • Don’t be that person.
  • If you are that person, then zen the hell out; winning or losing != life or death, and you look like a child if you’re butthurt about not provably being the smartest person in the room.
  • If you lose, be grateful for the fun times you had with friends (or the life-enriching experience you had by yourself). If you win, be grateful for the free beer. Whatever the outcome, grow the f**k up.

Pub trivia: for the sapiosexuals among us

It’s date night and you’re broke as a joke? Take them to pub trivia. It’s usually free to play, and your ‘Database of Useless Shit’ may pay dividends in free food and drinks.

Benefits of trivia-date-night:

  • No need for the politely unbearable “What do you do for fun?” and “Do you have any siblings?”. Let the trivia questions do all the work for you. The conversation flows naturally, and maybe your expansive knowledge about emperor penguins leads to sexy times. Who knows.
  • Answering ‘Are we compatible?’ from the zero hour. Right away, you work together as a team (which people oftentimes forget is a necessary component to, say, commitment and/or marriage) to figure out the Best Picture winner in 2004, which either elucidates how you’re both die-hard Tolkienists or how one of is a little too invested in All Things Middle Earth.
  • To each their own, but I value knowledge for knowledge’s sake; if you do too, then pub trivia is a good metric for whether your date shares the same values as you.
  • Allows you to suss out whether they fall in the adult baby categories (see point #1)

Public speaking is a marketable skill

I cannot stress this enough. There will always be a need for public speakers in life. It’s not something everyone can do, and you’ve made yourself valuable by a factor of ten if you address hundreds or thousands without profusely pit-sweating. Not a good public speaker? ‘Practice, practice, practice’ & ‘Fake it till you make it’, friends. These pieces of advice sound overused and trite, but they are nonetheless true. The only way to learn how to speak in front of a large group of people is to practice speaking in front of a large group of people.

Conversely, maybe you’re confident that you are an awesome public speaker. But, confidence doesn’t always translate to skill; quick, what would you do when you tell a joke that doesn’t land? Or, worse, is accidentally offensive? What do you do when you forget halfway through your sentence what your point was? What do you do when you literally cannot remember one syllable words like ‘dog’ and ‘stand’? What would you do if people started boo-ing you?

Think I’m exaggerating to prove a point? Think again. I guarantee 99% of regular public speakers—be they trivia hosts, MC’s, salesmen, or whatever—will corroborate that mistakes happen and audiences aren’t always angels. But, you either give up or adapt for the better. I used to be crippled with social anxiety – the idea of approaching a stranger and saying words in their direction induced panic. So, naturally, I auditioned to be a trivia hostess. Three years later, I was MC-ing gameshows on the world’s largest cruise ship and loving life.


In sum: be humble, value your smarts, and never fear what you tell yourself you can’t do.

Got it?

†: Good news! It’s usually a part time gig , so you can double up on your working hours in a week.

††I went to a very progressive kindergarten.

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