From ‘Stranger Things’ to ‘Seinfeld,’ pop culture reigns supreme at CT trivia nights

If you know the inspiration behind a 12-person jury is the 12 Apostles or that Taylor Swift’s favorite number is 13, you might want to try your hand at one of the many trivia night events around Connecticut.

While not everyone is a whiz like local hobbyist trivia, Yale Phd student and Jeopardy! contestant Matt Amodio, that’s okay because it’s not really about the prizes (which are typically gift cards to the local restaurant, bar or brewery where the trivia night takes place). It could be the bragging rights, but the real draw is the friendships made and shared in a night of friendly competition.


“It’s lighthearted, people will chime in and make comments and people are making jokes, which is good because then they’re having fun with it,” said Mark Marszycki, who uses the professional name of Marek for trivia nights he hosts in New Milford and South Windsor.

Trivia night hosts like Marek typically have a DJ background and are adept at engaging a crowd. They often run these events by using an iPad with a trivia app or create their own questions with a visual slideshow. There’s usually only one rule: no cheating by looking up answers on your phone. Hosts say it does happen sometimes, though.

People can fly solo at trivia nights but often play with coworkers and friends in teams. Team names are often cleverly-named like “Sherman’s Hermits” or self-promotional like a team made up of a local band, who played as the team “Come See Our Band Play on 625.”

Stacy Krom of New Milford was at The Abbey restaurant recently with friends, Chris Alfson, also of New Milford, and Kenny Improta from Naugatuck, making up “The B Team” that plays regularly here. “We’ve been coming almost a year and now we have people from my work coming, we have the best time,” she said.

Trivia nights attract new people curious to test their knowledge as well as core groups of regulars. The B Team is one of three regular teams at The Abbey most every week, along with the Westies and Penguins.

Here’s when and where you can catch Ken Tuccio and Marek’s trivia nights:

Best Trivia Ever, Statewide: Multiple dates

The Abbey, New Milford: Thursdays at 7 pm

Connecticut Valley Brewing Company, South Windsor: Wednesdays at 6:30p.m.


Ken Tuccio founded Best Trivia Ever in 2018, which now runs over 100 trivia nights in Connecticut Monday-Thursday nights. “I built this company to focus on the younger demographic by doing more pop culture. We target a 21 to 35-year old demographic,” he said. “What we do are shows about Taylor Swift music and viral videos and we do fun and engaging categories like relationship issues, break ups and household chores. By doing that what we have done is we have made kind of a trivia night more inclusive to not just the ‘Jeopardy!’ crowd or the crowd that likes Trivial Pursuit, but we are getting that young … demo that would traditionally not come out to trivia night. But now they are coming out with their friends [on a weekday night] to play and to drink and to spend money at a bar or restaurant on a slower night who really could use it.”

Each venue and trivia night is different. Some venues are small, others big and some trivia events like to do general interest categories while others do themed trivia nights. Depending on the theme, the size of the audience grows.

“We just did a show this past Thursday in Providence and I believe we had 55 teams play,” Tuccio said. “As far as the most popular themes, our most popular one we’ve ever done is Taylor Swift — an entire trivia night based around Taylor Swift music. We had people singing along to the music, trying to remember the lyrics and digging in deep about Taylor Swift’s career.”

Marek said he does themed trivia nights Wednesdays at the Connecticut Valley Brewing Company, while the Abbey’s trivia nights are usually general in nature. His most popular themes by him have been around pop culture. On June 29, the brewery will hold “Stranger Things” trivia night.

“When I did a “Seinfeld” night, there was one team that got 50 out of 50, and when I did a horror night last fall, it was 50 movie clips,” he said, noting other popular themes were “Schitt’s Creek” and Marvel. “There are teams that are strong at a genre or a topic and that’s why they come out and play.”

Tuccio also likes to keep his events lighthearted. “I always say it’s not the SAT’s. People are there to have fun and drink and eat,” he said. “Obviously people want to win but at the end of the day this isn’t some trivia bowl where people are hanging a trophy up on the wall. We try to keep it fun. We want people to have a good time and want to come back next week.”

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