Trivia leagues have played an integral part of postgrad life since I’m not sure when. It takes all of your previous schooling and allows you to apply it in ways that your crappy desk job never will. Equally as important as your knowledge of obscure 1970s sports facts and dead celebrities, however, is the moniker you and your buddies go by. Your trivia league team name says more about you than your driver’s license, college transcript, and STD test combined.
More often than not, trivia league team names usually underwhelm. They’re often some crappy inside joke or an attempt to be funny, but really aren’t. A poor team name means a poor performance, and a poor performance means you won’t win that $15 gift card to Chili’s.
The best team names are original and hilarious. Last Wednesday when I went to trivia, I knew right away who was going to win without knowing anyone else in the room. I thought that “Jim Irsay’s Affliction Shirt” and “My Couch Pulls Out, But Burt Reynolds Doesn’t” were going to be serious contenders (and they were) but the collective groan of approval from the crowd when “Crimea River” was announced clinched the game before it even started.
So what makes a good team name? It has to be a name everybody understands, which is why inside jokes don’t work. It has to be funny and clever. No trivia team with the name “The Bulldogs” has (probably) ever won a game of trivia. Having a serious name is no fun, either–“New Hampshire State Alumni” isn’t cool, and you guys look like nerds. Also, when considering names, being borderline offensive can help your case, but be careful! There is a fine line, so know your audience. Team “Chris Hanson Is A Cock Block” will either seal the deal or have the entire bar thinking you’re a kid diddler. Also, keep in mind there’s going to be some 30-something loser emceeing the whole thing, and he has to introduce every last team. Nothing says, “get a real job, loser” like making this poor guy say “Diapers Make Me Horny,” or “Fister, I Hardly Know Her” because that’s your team name.
Unless it’s absolutely hilarious, avoid the word “team” in your team name. That’s playing it safe, and it usually doesn’t display a lot of creativity (even though Team Blumpkin is pretty funny). Also, if you’re going to go after a current event, make sure it’s actually current, not news that happened a month ago. “Jim Irsay’s Affliction Shirt” and “Crimea River” must be retired within a week or two, because they’re no longer relevant. Names like “Better Late Than Pregnant” and “My Trombone Is Rusty” are timeless. I’m looking at you, person reading this who will have an NCAA bracket-based name this week.
Finally, unless you’re a consistent winner at your local bar’s trivia night, changing your name every once in a while is fine, and in some cases is encouraged. When the NFL’s Houston/Tennessee Oilers became the Tennessee Titans, it marked a fresh start, as well as a Super Bowl visit during the first year. If people at trivia night start to pick up that “Nine Inch Males” finishes in the bottom three each week, they won’t take you seriously. You may need to establish a new identity to become a true contender. Goodbye, underperforming “Nine Inch Males,” and welcome, future trivia champs “The Trouser Snakes.” So much creativity.