Trivia nights have invited friendly pub competition for 50 years — and there’s likely a game near you.

By Erin Ball ’22

Attending a weekly trivia game was not a part of Connor Hughson’s life while she studied at Geneseo. But now, trivia at Lovin’ Cup in Rochester is a big part of her friend group’s weekly schedule. 

“We go as often as we can,” says Hughson, who graduated in 2014. “They’re just so fun.” 

Bars and restaurants in the U.K. started hosting trivia in the 1970s as a way to attract customers on slower nights. The idea stuck, and trivia nights and pub quizzes have continued to encourage regular weekly attendance. About 2,000 trivia nights are held every week in the U.S. and even more in the U.K. Many hosts even hold a multi-week-long tournament of trivia nights. 

In Geneseo, students pack The Idle Hour on Center Street each Tuesday night for a local competition. Trivia Night at Idle Hour started 13 years ago and tests attendees’ knowledge on everything from pop culture and geography to history and completely random facts, such as how much wood it takes to feed a family of beavers for a year (over 100 trees).  

Geneseo men’s rugby players Cole Zsemlye ’22 and Ethan Warick ’21 create questions each week, often from online research, and serve as emcees to teams like “Mr. and Mrs. Worldwide” or “Santa’s Helpers.”

Hughson doesn’t remember attending Trivia Night at Idle Hour while attending Geneseo, but she is now a weekly trivia attendee at Lovin’ Cup’s “Geeks Who Drink,” and she loves how the questions pull her friends together as they huddle to discuss possible answers. Pop culture is her forte, and the diverse question topics that often appear in a single trivia night keep attendees on their toes. 

Pop culture is also a favorite for Krista Hoctor ’22, who is a regular at the Idle Hour, hanging out and meeting fellow students outside of class. Her team often changes members but is usually best in sports and pop culture categories.

“I love how Trivia Night tests my knowledge in a fun and relaxing way,” says Hoctor, “and I always learn a bunch of random facts.” 

Test your trivia skills …

Cole Zsemlye ’22 and Ethan Warick ’21 — members of the Geneseo men’s rugby team who are the Idle Hour trivia MCs — share some questions to test yourself and your friends.

  1. Which chamber of the heart pushes blood to the entire body? 
    1. Left ventricle 
  2. What is the fear of sunlight called?
    1.  Heliophobia 
  3. What was Oxford’s word of the year in 2021? 
    1. Vax 
  4. What country first allowed gay marriage? 
    1. Netherlands
  5. What year did Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie separate? 
    1. 2016
  6. What symbol signifies an intermediate ski slope? 
    1. Blue square 
  7. In what year did Apple release FaceTime? 
    1. 2010
  8. What is the most expensive stock on the stock market right now? 
    1. Berkshire Hathaway
  9. A contusion is a fancy word for what? 
    1. A bruise
  10. Name both of the former hosts on the Frenemies podcast. 
    1. Ethan and Trisha