Alex Trebek, eat your trivia-loving heart out. You’ve got nothing on SpareFoot’s resident quiz host, RJ Gossett. Well, at least we humbly think so.
Could the “Jeopardy!” host keep up with Gossett? We doubt it. Every Monday and Tuesday night, you’ll find Gossett plying his part-time trade as a quizmaster at two venues in Austin, TX, that aren’t nearly as cushy as the studio where “Jeopardy!” is taped.
For Gossett, a member of SpareFoot’s Client Relations Team, working as a quizmaster is no trivial matter. (Yes, the pun is intended.)
“I’ve always been a huge fan of any sort of knowledge-based games, and I’m a super-competitive person,” he said. “I used to play a lot with my group of friends back home in Tennessee at a couple of local restaurants. It was a great way to make all of the television I watch and music I listen to worth it. I’d like to think I’m a fairly competent player, with a wide range of specialties.”
The SpareFoot Blog quizzed—yes, another pun—Gossett about his experiences as a quizmaster, an actor, a WWE fanatic and a SpareFooter.
What exactly is a quizmaster? What does a quizmaster do?
I work for a company called Geeks Who Drink, which runs hundreds of pub quizzes across the United States. As quizmasters, our role is to facilitate the quiz and ensure that everyone has a good time. We ask the questions and enforce the rules. With most of the quizzes taking place in bars, it’s also up to us to make sure everyone is well-behaved—no shouting out the answers! All quizmasters also maintain a blog dedicated to the weekly happenings at their venues.
For a quizmaster, your venue is your baby. It’s your responsibility to make sure you do whatever is necessary to grow the event.
RJ Gossett carries out his quizmaster duties at two venues in Austin, TX.
How long have you been a quizmaster?
After auditioning, I got the call to start training in May 2013 and was assigned to my first venue a month later.
Where do you do your thing as a quizmaster? How often?
How did you land this gig?
After applying, I got called to audition at a local venue in front of a live crowd. After presenting a sample round, I was interviewed by some veteran quizmasters. I then had to sweat it out waiting to see if I was proper quizmaster material.
What drew you to “quizmastering”?
Having been involved with theatre, there’s an addiction that comes along with being on stage. Being a quizmaster seemed like the perfect opportunity to satisfy both it and my other addiction: pop culture. Being new to Austin at the time, it was also a great way to meet a lot of new people and get introduced to some of the cooler locations around town.
RJ Gossett (second from left) portrayed Lefou in “Beauty and the Beast.”
What’s your background in community theatre? What productions have you been in?
I was always a dramatic kid. I got involved with community theatre the summer after my senior year of high school, with the Roxy Regional Theatre in Clarksville, TN. I was active all throughout my college years. Some of my favorite roles and productions include Lefou in “Beauty and the Beast,” Adam in “The Shape of Things” and Ben Braddock in “The Graduate.”
Speaking of theatrics, you’re pretty obsessed with WWE. What can you tell us about your fascination with professional wrestling?
It goes back to childhood, and watching it with my dad and his military buddies. It’s essentially a soap opera that I’ve followed for years and have no intention of ever giving up. I know the stories. I know the characters. I just suspend my belief in reality and allow myself to be entertained.
What do you do at SpareFoot?
I work on the Client Relations Team, specializing in onboarding new clients. My job is to teach them how to use our product and ensure that they can get the most out of their relationship with SpareFoot.
RJ Gossett has been a fan of professional wrestling since childhood.
How long have you been at SpareFoot?
Oddly enough, for the same amount of time I’ve been a quizmaster. I started interning at SpareFoot in June of last year. My schedule went from really open to really full fairly quickly.
What do you enjoy about working at SpareFoot?
It’s so great to just be part of a team that has such a defined collective goal, both for our clients and for ourselves. Everyone here truly wants this to be the best place to work, and it shows. “Startup culture” was brand new to me, and now I can’t imagine being involved with anything else.
Where did you grow up? How did you wind up in Austin?
I was born and raised in Clarksville, TN. The decision to come to Austin was pretty spur-of-the-moment. I always had big-city dreams as a kid, and there weren’t a lot of attractive professional opportunities back home. I had always heard great things about Austin and decided to give it a shot.
Photos courtesy of RJ Gossett