The Quiz Box is a trivia show where comedians write the questions and respond with their very best improv to win the game! We talk through the process of creating a hilarious game with the creators.
When Erik Tait fell in love with podcasts like Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, he “wasn’t sure he’d ever be famous enough to” be a guest. Erik’s response to that recognition was to start his own podcast, The Quiz Box, which features three comedians and one special guest, all answering questions over the course of three rounds and competing for a singular prize: the chance to return on the next episode. But Erik was quick to admit that the early stages of the show, which at the time went by a different name, “were awful” until Nickey Winkelman came on and helped “sort out the format.” Over the past four years, Erik, Nickey, and Kevin Hendricks (the audio engineer and producer for the show) have gotten the format down pat and built The Quiz Box into a really exciting and incredibly funny podcast.
Erik explained that creating an episode “starts with the previous show because the winner of each show is invited back on the next one… to defend their championship.” The rest of the panel of contestants is built around that person because “while it is a gameshow it’s not really about winning, it’s really an improv game.” The point is to make a hilarious conversation, which means Erik and Nickey choose and write questions that people won’t get immediately but should edge everyone toward a few hilarious moments. Kevin originally came on the show as a comedian and panelist and, Nickey said, asked if he could “make the podcast sound better.” And so Erik moderates, Nickey keeps score and adds color commentary for the podcast listeners, and Kevin makes sure everything sounds good. With the team in place, continuing the show has been a lot of fun but definitely a good bit of work.
Nickey explained that one difficulty is coming up with questions for each show. “We need about twelve new trivia questions every month and it’s impossible trivia… that no one would really know. But finding things that are not only interesting to our audience and will also facilitate the panel to make jokes and ultimately we want the answer to the question to be a punchline,” she told me. Erik emphasized that questions are very much a team-effort, as he does the initial research and write up but Nickey makes sure everything is show-ready. Despite the difficulty, the trio all have pieces of the process that they love.
Even when it’s hard to keep questions fresh and funny, Erik cited the research stage of the show as his favorite. Nickey, on the other hand, pointed to the “spontaneity” of the show, calling it a “fun and frightening way to step outside of rigidity” because they never know what’s going to happen when recording an episode. Kevin, since he is left out of the preparation process so that he can play the game without any extra advantage, said his favorite part comes after everything has been recorded. Kevin loves getting to choose the one joke that will act as the title for the episode: “picking that one way to tease what I think is a highlight of the episode… it’s sort of like being an archeologist.” The trio loves every part of making The Quiz Box and are looking forward to making more episodes.
While the hosts have been recording in the same live location for years, Nickey told me they are looking forward to “recording in new, different locations.” “We would love the opportunity to take it to other cities, or locations, or conventions,” she explained, allowing “more people to experience the live part of it.” Erik and Kevin mentioned looking forward to growing the show technologically as well, through both online promotion and investments in the equipment the show uses, hoping to add listeners and quality so the show only improves.
So, if you love trivia, comedians, improv, or just people having a really good time with lots of laughs, listen to The Quiz Box and leave a rating and review to let the team know what you think!
Chasing Pods is a Podchaser blog series dedicated to letting our readers know about podcasts they may not have heard of or provide a sneak peek into the making of their favorite podcast. We talk to podcast creators about their journey into podcasting, the creation of their shows, the ups and downs of the work, and what they’re looking forward to for their podcast
Do you love or make a cool podcast? Do you want to be featured on our blog? Email Morgan (email@example.com) to tell him why your favorite show should be featured next.