HQ Trivia game has not-so-trivial Canadian connections

HQ Trivia game has not-so-trivial Canadian connections
From CBC - February 15, 2018

Scott Rogowsky, one of the hosts of the online game show HQ Trivia, has become an internet sensation for his nickname dropping and quick-thinking puns. But did you know he has a special affinity for Canada?

You may have seen hints of itif you are one of the hundreds of thousands who fire up the app every day at 3 p.m. or 9 p.m. There are the occasional references to places like Moose Jaw, tothe "Canadian Tuxedo," andthe shout-outs to SCTV.

"I love this country, your countryI wish it was my country," Rogowsky told CBC News during a recent tour of the HQ office in New York.

So where does his love of Canada come from? Take a guess intrue HQ Trivia fashion:

A) He was born in Moose Jaw
B) His wife is Canadian
C) A summer job in 2005

The New York-born Rogowsky is not married, so that cancels A and B. The answer is C. In the summer of 2005,Rogowsky worked for a trucking company and drove from Montreal to Calgary, hitting everywhere in between.

"We are talking Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Sault St. Marie, Nipigon, Regina, Winnipeg. I do not think I got to Saskatoon, but Medicine Hat for sure," says the affable host, whose detailed knowledge of Canadian geography is combined with a childhood spent idolizing Canadian comedians like Rick Moranis and Martin Short.

The HQ Phenomenon

Launched in August, HQ Trivia routinely draws more than a million players for its afternoon and evening games. Theapp reached 2 million players during a special Super Bowl edition on Feb.5,where the total prize money was $20,000 US.

There are a number of hosts, but Rogowsky quickly emerged as the clear fan favourite.

Not since Regis Philbin and Who Wants to be a Millionairehas a trivia show overtaken popular culture like this. With stories of office workand classes put on hold while the game is on, Rogowsky recognizes he's probably responsible for thousands of hours of lost productivity.

"When I was working office jobs, I was going on Facebook all the time. If I'd had HQ back then, I'd be on HQ now. It's healthier than a smoke break," he says.

Rogowsky usually arrives at the HQ offices a few hours before the show. He will go over the script with the show's team of writers, producers and fact checkers. They will discuss everything from his performance to the ease of the questions.

"We want to make them bulletproof, so there ca not be any wiggle room for people complaining," Rogowsky says. "People like to complain."

App co-founder Rus Yusupov, who also helped create the video app Vine, says stumping the masses is especially challenging when the very device players are using is also a tool to find the answers.

"If you can Google the answer, if you can come up with the right keywords and find the answer [in 10 seconds],I think you deserve the reward."

Canada's HQ Master

One player who does not need a search engine to find the answer is Canadian Paul Paquet. He is one of Canada's foremost trivia experts, having hosted trivia nights in Ottawa for 20 years.

The Future of HQ


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