My Quiz-A-Ma-Jig story
For some weird reason, I don't think I ever blogged about my awesome experience as a celebrity guest panelist on Quiz-A-Ma-Jig at Max's a couple months ago.
Quiz-A-Ma-Jig is held on Thursdays on the second floor of Max's Taphouse (737 S. Broadway), a space called the Mobtown Lounge. The next event is tonight.
As you can see, we don't have any photos of Quiz-A-Ma-Jig in our archives. So I found the next best thing.
Ron Furman, who owns the place, usually claims all of the high-backed leather cushioned chairs and sets them around his table in the far corner, where he holds court with his cronies. It's not fair, but he's the boss.
I have only been to one Quiz-A-Ma-Jig before – years ago, and that was by accident. I was looking for a quiet place to chill out and smoke a cigar, and I stumbled upon Quiz-A-Ma-Jig. Before the smoking ban went into effect, a curtain of cigar smoke would hang in the upstairs lounge when it was full. Yuck. Needless to say, I like being able to breathe, so I like the new, smoke-free upstairs lounge.
If you plan on hitting up Quiz-A-Ma-Jig, get there at least 20 minutes before the games begin. My wife Amie, my pal Crazy Joe and I arrived about 15 minutes beforehand and nabbed one of the last remaining tables. ...
Picking a funny team name can be quite perplexing, we found. At first, I thought we should call ourselves the Teabaggers, after the protesters who dumped tea into harbors around the country on Tax Day. But Amie and CJ shot that one down. My next suggestion, Team Hey, That's My Bike was also vetoed.
We eventually settled on Team Om Namha Shivaye (Cover Your Heart, Indy!). Remember that movie quote? “Om Namha Shivaye” (pronounced um-num-shee-vie), is what the sacrifice victim mutters repeatedly in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as the evil priest Mola Ram rips his heart out with his bare hands. Hee hee.
In hindsight, it was probably a bad choice. But we got a kick out of it. And that, dear readers, made it all worthwhile.
Since The Sun is a family newspaper, I can't repeat most of the team names, because they were too lewd. Funny, yes, but too profane to print. Here is one that just makes the cut: Team Quiz-In-My-Pants. Get my drift?
Before the games began, one of the hosts laid out the rules for everybody. There was really only one important rule: Don't cheat. With all of the wireless Internet devices around these days, it's easier and easier to get answers on the fly. Terrible things would happen to cheaters, one of the hosts promised, and I believed him.
But our table and the table next to ours couldn't help but be suspicious when a member of Team Quiz-In-My-Pants pulled out a laptop and started tapping away on it. We asked her what the deal was, but she swore she wasn't cheating. Hmm.
Quiz-A-Ma-Jig is inherently unfair, because teams can be as large as they want to be. Just as two heads are better than one, the 10 or so heads in Team Quiz-In-My-Pants were better than the three in my team. It's not like Quiz-A-Ma-Jig offers wild and crazy prizes, though. The winners of each round get something small, like a T-shirt with a beer logo on it. Teams play for the love of the game.
Even with people playing for the heck of it, the competition still got pretty fierce. People screamed when they won a round, and cried out in despair when they lost one. It was intense.
The first round was modeled after the Price is Right. We had to guess the price of 10 random items – like a box of Lucky Charms cereal or a pack of Oreo cookies -- purchased at the Safeway in Canton. In Round Two, we had to guess a line of lyrics to 10 songs, from “Get Jiggy With It” by Will Smith to “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes.
You'd think since I write about music and entertainment, we'd ace it. But you try reciting all the verses to “Get Jiggy With It.” I dare you. I double dare you. We only got about half of them right. That would be our theme for the night.
Since things started to run late, the organizers decided to skip round three and go right to round four: The Match Round. My turn. I waltzed up to the bar, and sat down next to Ed Neenan, a local musician who goes by E. Joseph, Furman and John, one of the hosts.
Have you ever seen the Match Game? The host makes a rather lurid question, usually sexual in nature, and leaves a part of it blank. For example: The stable boy was so short, he had to get up on a stool to ___ the cow.
The celebrity panelists and the players jot down their answers, and the team that matches answers wins. As you can imagine, I can't reprint most of the questions (and especially not most of the answers). Trust me though, it was fun.
After the Match Game round ended, it was time for Final Jeopardy. We bet all our points when we heard the subject: sports equipment. The question: What are baseball bats made out of? Crazy Joe came through with the right answer. What was it? I'm not going to tell you. You'll just have to look it up.
In the end, our team fell roundly in the middle of the pack. The winners were – you guessed it – Team Quiz-In-My-Pants. I still say “hmm” about that one.
At the end of the night, the winners and losers didn't matter that much anyway. We had a blast just playing the game. If you're a trivia fan and haven't hit up Quiz-a-Ma-Jig yet, should you go? Yes.
And that's my final answer.
(Photos from the Baltimore Sun archives)