Today we chat with WaPo’s Chris Cillizza, author of “The Fix” blog. Cillizza hosts the over-the-top nerdy “Politics and Pints” trivia night at the Capitol Lounge in the heart of Capitol Hill’s block of bars. We wanted to find out more about him and his knack for political trivia.
1. How long have you been hosting the trivia night? The event on Monday at the Cap Lounge was our second. We had a test run in December (also at Cap Lounge) and it went so well, the powers-that-be decided that we should do one once a month in 2010. So, that’s the plan. Second Monday of every month — schedule permitting — from 7-9 pm. Folks who want to be on my “early alert” system for the latest date can shoot me an email with “Politics and Pints” (our super awesome name!) in the subject line.
2. How and why did you come up with the idea to do this? I actually went to an event “The Hotline” sponsored about six months ago — I was on the “old media” team which fell to the huge nerd-dome of a politicians’ team stacked with Sherrod Brown and Tom Davis — and thought to myself: “I’d love to do something like this on a regular basis”. Washington is full of people who remember, for example, who held Tennessee Rep. Bart Gordon’s seat before him (it was Al Gore) and so I figured a trivia night would be something that would generate a fair amount of interest. To be honest, I have been incredibly overwhelmed and thrilled at the turnout. We had 30 teams for the first “Politics and Pints” in December and 34 teams this time. I am assuming the turnout is high because everyone wants the super-coveted official Fix T-shirts, which are one of the prizes.
3. Have you contemplated doing a “Game Changer” feature with Politico’s Patrick Gavin? A Trivial Pursuit-a-thon perhaps? It looks like you could beat him. He usually loses these things. Gavin, eh? Well, he is taller, darker and handsomer (is that a word?) than me so I am not sure I should get into any sort of competitive endeavor against him. And, if we did do some sort of crossover trivia, would that be like when the characters on “Private Practice” appeared on “Grey’s Anatomy”? If so, no.
4. How are your trivia skills, you think you’re pretty good at it? I KNOW I am not good at it. That’s why I have to have the answers provided to me! I am regularly amazed that people know the answers to some of the questions I ask. Did you have any idea that appointed Sen. Michael Bennet was born in India? Me neither!
5. Are you a “Jeopardy!” watcher? Do you follow along and shout the questions aloud? When I was a young Fix growing up in Connecticut, “Jeopardy!” was always on after dinner so I have been with Alex Trebek through the mustache days and back. But, no, I wasn’t an answer shouter — mostly because I didn’t know the answers. My mom? HUGE shouter of answers.