MEET The Venns – comedy writers, quiz masters and conductors of research into what many may consider one of the most important philosophical questions of the age.
What makes the perfect pub quiz team?
Richard Jow and Chella Quint have spent the last 12 months collecting data, recording statistics and analysing self-drawn graphs in an attempt to find the answer.
“Because it’s meant we got to go to lots of pubs, drink lots of beer and meet lots of people,” says Chella, a 34-year old drama teacher of Heeley, Sheffield. “And we could say it was all in the name of research.”
And similar, indeed, to why your Diarist became a journalist.
Except one might reasonably argue the duo’s work is more important.
They have found, after all, that the optimum number of members for a team is 4.75 – “any more and disagreements outweigh benefits,” notes Richard, 32, a financial worker and father-of-one of Crookes, Sheffield.
And that intelligence is less important than a wide knowledge base – “all subject areas must be covered,” says Chella
And that three-quarters of all quiz teams include a pop cultural reference in their name – but the team more likely to win is generally called something like ‘The Old Blokes In The Corner’.
These and other conclusions will be published in April in a tongue-in-cheek booklet, set out like a dissertation thesis.
It follows a previous paper which outlined the research and which has been so popular it has gone into a second print run.
“It’s all ironic, of course,” says Chella, a New York native who moved to the UK in 1999 because she loved Shakespeare, The Beatles and football. “It started out because I wanted to write a sitcom about pub quizzes. We don’t have them in America but they’re so fun and there’s so much scope for laughs, I thought it would be a perfect subject.”
She met Richard – South Yorkshire born and bred – while trading a chair online, told him about the idea, and found herself with a writing partner.
From there they came up with two characters who would be doing a PhD in pub quizzes.
“But we needed data for them,” says Chella. “So we named ourselves The Venns - after Venn diagrams - and started our own research.”
Their dedication has seen them travel across Yorkshire, interview contestants and hosts, start their own quiz – at the Greystones, in Greystones Road, each Tuesday – and sit feeding data into a laptop while the game goes on around them.
“It’s sort of been hard work,” says Richard. “But mainly it’s been fun.”
And now, they’re hoping the fun will continue.
As well as the new booklet and reprint, the pair have recorded a pod-cast and are still writing that sit-com. Oh, and of course they’re still doing a whole lot of quizzing. Still in the name of research.
Email The Venns to order A Quest For The Perfect Pub Quiz Team at firstname.lastname@example.org