Meet the Hosts & Writers

 

photo courtesy the World Science Festival

photo courtesy the World Science Festival

 John Chaneski  is a native New Yorker, born in Hoboken, who co-hosts TriviaNYC’s (and NYC’s) only Saturday evening trivia at One Star Bar in Chelsea. He has parlayed his BFA in Drama from NYU into a varied career in games, puzzles, and trivia, initially by hanging out at the offices of GAMES Magazine in the 1980s. A series of interesting gigs followed: puzzle consultant and hand stand-in for Tim Robbins in the 1994 movie “IQ”; writer of questions (and answers) for ABC’s “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire”; senior researcher for NBC’s “The Million Second Quiz”; emcee of The Poetry Brothel; Puzzle guy on the public radio show “A Way With Words.” In 2010 he was part of the team that created NPR’s newest game show “Ask Me Another.” He was, and continues to be, its first-ever Puzzle Guru. He lives in Brooklyn with his amazing philosopher-poet wife, Jennifer Michael Hecht, their two talented kids, Max and Jessie, and a black mutt named Goldie.

 

image Jacquie Chmura is quite an amusing character, despite her lack of classical training. She studied Art History, and will bore you to death on the subject if you let her dominate the conversation for more than five minutes. Her love of art is actually how she got her start hosting trivia; while working at a Chelsea gallery, she stumbled upon NYC’s only Saturday night trivia at One Star. She thought, “That seems like it would be fun to do…” and the rest, as they say, is her-story. When she’s not hosting trivia, she can be heard providing “fun facts” which are almost never fun, and convincing others that her “fake facts” are 100% true. She also enjoys inserting movie quotes into everyday conversations, posing ridiculously with historical figures, and walking through any park, as long as there isn’t a torrential downpour.

 

giana Giana DeGeiso has been performing her whole life, loves to entertain and finds any excuse she can to be silly on a microphone. Giana started her acting studies and career in Reno, NV then moved to San Francisco in 2006 to further her training at American Conservatory Theater. In 2009 she moved to New York where she studied with the Larry Singer Studios on stage acting and the Magnet Theater for musical improv.  She has been hosting with Trivia NYC since 2013 and has loved every moment from general bar nights to private party events. She can also be seen performing with her short form improv group, Rufus Khan, or performing musical improv comedy with various talented folks all around the city. She loves puzzles of all kinds and can’t wait to make you think, laugh, and write legibly at one of her next trivia nights.

 

 

IMG_2952 Jason Grabisch. “Hi there, I’m Jason! I like witticism, wordplay, bad jokes, dad jokes, and everything in between. I may not be the king of offhand puns that illicit groans, but I’m definitely in the royal lineage. A woman on the phone once told me I had ‘great diction and a sultry voice’ so when the opportunity presented itself to host trivia, my friends jumped at the chance to tell me I absolutely had to do it. When I’m not hosting trivia, I am an after school STEM/STEAM instructor in various elementary and middle schools. I also spend time beard growing, and grooming myself to one day have a successful turn on Wheel of Fortune and impress Pat Sajak so much that he names me as his successor when he ultimately retires at the age of 97. Don’t worry, Vanna will still be going strong.”

 

WEB_Mike Gregorek 5 (3) Mike Gregorek is an actor, host, and comedian in New York City, where he serves as a performer and director at the Jekyll and Hyde Club Times Square. He is also a company manager and player with the improv comedy troupe ComedySportz NYC. Mike also performs standup regularly at such clubs as the Gotham Comedy Club and Broadway Comedy Club and serves as a regular panel moderator for Wizard World Comic Cons. He has been on stage with Rachel Dratch at a Gilda’s Club benefit and was recently featured as one of the “opening contestants” on NBC’s Million Second Quiz. Online, Mike can be seen in the award winning web series, I Live With This, in which he won Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series at the L.A. WebFest. Theatre credits include work with Random Access Theatre, The New York Fringe Festival, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Keegan Theatre, Imagination Stage, Arena Stage, and New London Barn Playhouse.

 

jarrod Jarrod Hornbeck, a native of Queens, New York, has had a long relationship with organized trivia that began with his obsessive list making as a child. At age 11, he won his school’s Quiz Bowl, perhaps cementing that organized trivia was in his blood. While he spent most of his teenage years perfecting the art of the mix-tape, his love of trivia was reignited when he stumbled into the Drunken Smartass Olympics at Dempsey’s Pub, hosted by Tony Hightower, with some friends in 2008. After a few years of play, and numerous wins, he thought, ‘I could see myself hosting one of these.’ Suddenly, he formulated an idea: Usurp Tony and take ALL of his ladies! After numerous unsuccessful attempts to do so, he settled on plan B: Join forces with Tony. This collaboration is still going strong, now in its fifth year, and Jarrod has become something of a revered figure in the minds of quiz-loving Astorians (if you ask Jarrod, anyway).

When he is not hosting trivia, Jarrod can be seen teaching things to Elementary School children, quoting ‘The Simpsons,’ getting tattooed, having his heart broken by the New York Rangers, and spreading his generally snarky attitude and negative opinion on most topics.

 

Gershon Mic Gershon Levy is originally from Maryland, found his way to New York in 2004, and is currently residing in Queens. He has a background in acting and singing as well as two IT certifications. One of his acting highlights was appearing in a re-enactment for America’s Most Wanted as a car bomb victim (NB: the suspect turned himself in the night the episode aired). Gershon has been a fan of game shows since he was old enough to answer in the form of a question and has always been obsessed with knowledge. He is one of the few people who gets excited for sports questions. When not hosting trivia, Gershon enjoys spending time with his wife Michelle and watching his hometown sports teams, although rarely both at the same time.

 

 

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Nelson Lugo is a New York City magician and storyteller. He was featured in TimeOut New York as a New York Entertainer To Watch, and co-hosts a popular podcast called The EPIC PIEcast for NerdyShow.com. He’s been a guest speaker for The Sunday Assembly NYC and was spotlighted on the stories-about-science podcast, The Story Collider, twice. Most recently, he was a guest Ringmaster for The Big Apple Circus show “Metamorphosis.”

 

 

 

pous Terri Pous. “A picture says a thousand words, and trust me, 80% of words I’d use to describe myself are in my photo. As for the rest of them, well, this is a self-declared judgment-free zone, so here goes. I’ll absorb any kind of trivia you throw at me, but I most prefer the history, politics, geography, and entertainment types. I’m known to recite many a celebrities’ birthdays and children’s first and middle names, so please do me a favor and quiz me on some if you see me so I can feel like it’s taking up useful real estate in my brain. When I’m not co-hosting Tuesday night trivia at the fantastic Gael Pub with the equally fantastic Adam Souza, you can find me cheering on Northwestern’s pathetic sports teams (go Cats!), petting a stranger’s dog, meandering around a museum and/or park, or finding my new favorite dumpling, ice cream, or pizza spot. Suggestions are accepted and encouraged.”

 

reginarobbins

Regina Robbins is a writer, director, and native New Yorker. She has worked with a number of theatre companies around the city and is currently an Artistic Associate and Company Manager with Everyday Inferno Theatre. Her short films have been screened across the US, winning awards in New York City, Cleveland, San Diego, and Asheville, NC. Perhaps most importantly, Regina won four games on Jeopardy! in 2010 and subsequently competed in that year’s Tournament of Champions.

Guess what? She has a website: reginarobbins.com.

 

adrienne Adrienne Sowers hasn’t seen her natural hair color in twenty years.  She has a clown phobia.  She’s a member of Mensa. One time, she met John Stamos on a plane and he told her she was pretty. Wait, that last bit’s about Regina George from Mean Girls. Anyway, Adrienne’s been working the film/theatre/tv/nightlife scene in NYC for five years, using her nerdliest of nerdy degrees, an MFA in Dramaturgy, to pave her way.  She also hosts burlesque, works as a nightlife performer, and coaches young writers.  When she’s not doing any of the aforementioned things or on mic for Trivia NYC, Adrienne can be found getting lost in familiar places, thrift shopping, or weightlifting… seriously.

 

 Michael Webster, a professional saxophonist and composer in NYC’s jazz scene, has been a trivia buff since childhood, when his grandmother hooked him onto Jeopardy. A native of Ottawa, Canada, Michael was inspired to join his high school’s trivia team after they won the national championship in a competition known as Reach for the Top (televised on the CBC from 1966-1989). His areas of expertise included geography, music (naturally) and slowly reciting pi to twenty places. His team would go on to place third in Ontario, losing to the eventual national champions.

When not hosting trivia for Trivia NYC, Michael can be found writing music for big band & orchestra, performing in venues around NYC, practicing his horn, and teaching music for the New York Jazz Academy. Other interests include watching hockey with his lovely fiancée (fellow trivia host and honorary Canadian) Jessica Wagner, and training for masochistic uphill bicycle races, such as Lake Placid’s Whiteface Race 2015 (8 miles at 8%!).

For more information please visit www.michaelwebstermusic.com.

 

 Stella Zawistowski is a self-described “brainy meathead” whose personal records include a 250-pound back squat and a New York Times Sunday crossword solving time of 4 minutes, 33 seconds. A lifelong lover of trivia, she has parlayed her knowledge of useless facts into an appearance on Jeopardy! (winning the whole game until Final Jeopardy; yes, she is still bitter), and several top-ten finishes at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

Stella has sung in choirs for most of her life, including the Oratorio Society of New York, a choir that performs regularly at Carnegie Hall. As a result, she is deeply convinced that there needs to be more classical-music trivia in the world. But don’t worry — she promises, as the gal who puts together the TriviaNYC questions, to make all that highbrow stuff fun and accessible. She is a brainy *meathead*, after all!



Alumni

 

jon keller headshot Jon Keller is a writer, performer and trivia host hailing from the canal riddled city of Lockport, NY. His quiet crush on trivia turned into a full blown romance after attending the Drunken Smartass Olympics at Dempsey’s Pub in 2007. Jon hosted his own trivia night at Walter’s Bar in Manhattan before joining TriviaNYC in late 2014. When he’s not trivia hosting, he writes and performs with his Magnet Theater house sketch team Action Park, and improvs with his indie duo Nabokov Prime. He thinks Trebek looked better with the mustache.

 

triv Alanna Schubach is a freelance writer and teacher living in Astoria. She began playing trivia at the Raven’s Head Pub in the heady days of summer 2013, when her team became rather fixated on the then-host, one Jarrod Hornbeck. (They might have created a secret Facebook group devoted to him.) Her admiration of his fine trivia hosting skills bloomed into a desire to secure her own gig, alongside BFF Jeanette Duffy. They’ve bounced around from venue to venue, bringing exquisitely honed schtick to a crowd of nerds and regulars at bars all over Queens.

 

 

jess w in chase tee Jessica Wagner credits much of her trivia fandom to her parents, who watched Jeopardy! a lot and led rousing family games such as “Guess which 1960s character actor is doing the voice-over in this commercial?” Born and raised in Queens, NY, she participated in spelling bees and other nerdish pursuits until becoming that ultimate home for varied and sometimes useless knowledge: a university librarian! (Comes complete with dark-rimmed glasses and a cat.)

She graduated to host-dom after being a regular player at the Drunken Smartass Olympics at Dempsey’s Pub (alongside teammate and future TriviaNYC host Jon Keller). Her areas of expertise are history/politics, geography, film, and pop culture (at least through 2005, at which point she stopped paying as much attention). In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with future-husband-and-current-TriviaNYC-host Michael Webster, watching detective shows, running, and sampling craft beer safely and responsibly.

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