Your Lore Chapter 2: Scott Rogowsky (Host of HQ Trivia)
A few weeks back I started getting texts and emails with a link to a SiriusXM JamOn "Roll Your Own" segment where a guest DJ comes into the studio and spins up his/her own playlist. This particular segment was hosted by Scott Rogowsky the face of the live interactive app HQ Trivia. The truth is I had never heard of Scott or HQ Trivia prior to his JamOn segment (insert old man shame). It turns out HQ Trivia, an app based live game show, is massive, it attracts more than 1 million contestants each day and Scott aka Quiz Daddy aka Quizzie McGuireis is America's favorite new game show celebrity. He's like Bob Barker 3.0. Scott is beloved because he is genuinely funny but more than that because he is genuine, he's a good dude and an authentic entertainer - he's real. Whats more Scott's a huge Jamband fan. He inserts a ton of pop culture references in his speak on HQ but Phish gets the lions share. So much so that there is a Twitter handle dedicated to his Phish references PhisHOnHQ. In his SiriusXM JamOn segment he talks about reaching Nirvana listening to music twice. Once at a Phish show at SPAC in 2004 during You Enjoy Myself the other was.... wait for it.... during an Assembly of Dust show during Nate Wilson's solo in Harrower. After hearing the segment, checking out the app and reading about Scott's rising fame I reached out to say "yo" and to thank him for the shout out. We've been bro-ing down on email for a few weeks. It turns out we have a lot in common (besides moments of nirvana with AOD) and I thought it would be cool to interview Scott as a way of getting to know this affable dude and by way of holding a mirror up to a guy who conspires to smile every day of the week.
Listen to Scott (Quizz Daddy) on SiriusXM JamOn
Reid: For those who don't know, what is HQ Trivia?
Scott Rogowsky: HQ Trivia is a live, daily game show you play on your phone or tablet (it's a free app available in App Store & Google Play). We send a push notification when we go live (9pm EST every night and 3pm EST on weekdays), and when the game starts, I pop up on your phone and ask a series of questions ranging from easy to difficult. If you answer them all correctly, you win real money! Last Sunday we gave out $50,000 to 6 winners who answered all 15 questions
Reid: How did you get involved with HQ and what is your role there?
Scott Rogowsky: I auditioned in April 2017 as part of a casting call. Initially I was writing the questions and overseeing the quiz with the director Nick, in addition to hosting. Now we've grown to the point where we have a team of writers, researchers, fact-checkers and producers pitching in to the process, giving me the luxury to focus on my performance.
Reid: How much of your "speak" on HQ is scripted vs improve?
Scott Rogowsky: All of it is plagiarized from the Spaceballs novelization by Jovial Bob Stine
Reid: How has your work as a professional comedian changed since you started HQ?
Scott Rogowsky: I'm getting more of it! But one thing I have had to adjust to is being a 'broadcaster' with an audience that reaches far beyond the coterie of comedy nerds to whom I previously catered. Certain subjects are now off limits when it comes to my persona as it relates to HQ. I'm trying to find the balance.
Check Out Scott's Interview With Kelly Ripa & Ryan Seacrest
Reid:I know you have a love of music and often sneak Phish references into your HQ commentary. Was there a song, album, band or moment in time when you recall having a musical "awakening" as a young kid? A moment in when you were like there is something special about music?
Scott Rogowsky: I've always wondered what it is about a person that makes him or her "into" music as opposed to being a passive listener. My dad, for example, rarely listens to music, and when he does, he might whistle along to a song but he has no clue or interest in finding out who sings it, what it's called, what album it's from, etc. I inherited his record collection which consisted of Andy Williams, Joan Baez, and Barry Manilow Live! (which I'm convinced he only bought to help get him laid).
I would certainly classify myself as someone who is "into" music. I'm not on the record store clerk-level, but I like digging into the history of music, listening to eclectic genres... I always have a tune in my head. I can't pinpoint the exact moment when I had my awakening, but I must have occurred at sleepaway camp when I was first exposed to what suburban Jewish kids consider "good music" - The Dead, Dylan, The Band, Little Feat, Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Tragically Hip (had a lot of Canadian counselors). Phish came on the heels of that - I remember fondly cruising around with my newly-minted driver's license listening to Hoist (8 years after Hoist was released, granted).
Reid: Do you play an instrument?
Scott Rogowsky: The guitar and piano, both not very well.
Reid: What was your first Phish show like?
Scott Rogowsky: Possibly the greatest first show ever - 2/28/03 at Nassau Coliseum. Destiny Unbound! Soul Shakedown! Amazing Tweezer, Bathtub, Hood. I didn't even know how good I was getting it. I'll never forget the slow realization that Destiny was being played, the old heads losing their mind after waiting 11 years... the rolling thunder of crowd noise. It was magic. I went with my sister and girlfriend at the time... who didn't appreciate it as much. I've been to over 20 shows since then but it's hard to top that first.
Reid: Besides The Phish and jambands are there other musicians or genre's that you really dig?
Scott Rogowsky : Phish and the Dead led me to appreciate bluegrass and old country - Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe. Love alt-country and Wilco. I also got turned onto hip-hop in '95-'96 and still love it today (Tribe, Talib, Wu-Tang, Chance, Kendrick. Funk might be my favorite genre. Love the blues. Love 60s brit pop (just saw The Zombies in concert). Bowie. Beatles and Stones. McCartney's "Ram" album is one of my all-time favorites. Love love love LCD Soundsystem. There are so many bands I love, I can't possibly name them all. Strangefolk and Assembly of Dust are high up there! (Authors Note - thank you Scott the check is in the mail)
Reid: As a guest host on SiriusXM you recently referenced the spiritual role that music can play in people's lives. Why do you think some people are "of music" and some just kind of take it or leave it?
Scott Rogowsky : I guess I sort of answered this earlier, in reference to my dad. I honestly don't know what it is! Genetics? It seems a matter of taste, like anything else. Some people looooove the taste of borscht. Some people can't stand bananas. Who the hell knows why we like what we like? I like music that moves me - on that gut level that gets me up and dancing, or on a higher intellectual level where the lyrics speak to my soul. But generally I refer to the great Chuck Berry: Any old way you choose it, if it's got a back beat, you can't lose it.
Reid How would you describe the spiritual role music plays in your life?
Scott Rogowsky: Music is immeasurably important to me. Certain songs can conjure up emotions or memories, I can travel through time... I can still see myself driving past the Westchester Mall listening to "Julius" for example. I can picture myself in the den, losing my mind as I rapped along to Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life" or in my childhood bedroom, slam dunking on my nerf basketball set while screaming the lyrics to Eve 6's "Inside Out" (slightly embarrassing in hindsight). Music is the language of the universe. The great "OM" - the vibration that reverberates through everything and every being. I feel it in a real way. I'm always buzzing with a song in my head. It's important to stay tuned to the OM.
Reid: Bagel or Pizza?
Scott Rosowsky: Pizza bagel.
Reid: I agree. I practically live on those things. When my wife is away I ration them. X per night til she returns. Thank you, Scott, for taking the time to expound on HQ Trivia, Transcendental Music, and Tasty Treats - Continued success Quiz Daddy!
Here's How To Find Scott
Check out "Running Late" with Scott Rogowsky - He is interviewed and interviewing some really interesting people including Dan Rather last night
Be Sure To Download HQ Trivia
Conspire to Smile Folks - Reid Genauer