Scott Rogowsky is a comedian and the main host of the new hit app HQ Trivia, where he reads trivia questions live and users can win cash prizes. The game has taken off in the last month, and Rogowsky has become a cult figure, with fans of the game calling him “quiz daddy.” He came by our office, where we supplied him with kale salad and he answered some questions about Phish, his iconic black suit (turns out it’s not his own), and dealing with an of influx thirsty DMs.
Who’s your favorite game show host?
Scott Rogowsky: Trebek is classic. I love Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek, that’s my answer. Will Ferrell in those SNL “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketches.
What does HQ stand for?
SR: That’s a trade secret. I personally change the meaning every week. Last week it was Horse Quaaludes, this week it’s Hairy Queens.
You often say some Yiddish words. What is your favorite Yiddish word?
SR: It’s probably unprintable, because there’s lots of Yiddish words for certain male anatomy. Schmuck is a great one. Schmeckle. Schvantz.
Do you live at home with your parents?
SR: I currently live with my parents. Let’s say, I’m between my apartments, and so I’m choosing to live with my parents. I have my stuff there. It’s like a storage unit.
What did you major in in college?
SR: Political science. I’m a naturally curious person. My kindergarten report card said, “Scott is like a sponge, he soaks up information.” I just see stuff and I want to know, like *gestures at salad* there’s different kinds of kale. There’s Tuscan; there’s lacinato. I’m fascinated that everything in the world has been named and classified. Every part of the body has been named – every tiny blemish. I don’t want to go to med school and learn that, but I’ll read the Wikipedia.
You did those viral stunts where you made funny book covers and rode the subway. If you were going to do another now, what would it say?
SR: I would love to do another book cover. It’s been a year since the last one I did, which was Trump-inspired. After the election, I was in shock like everyone else, and I wanted to help raise money for the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. So I did one as a fundraiser. I did one that said “Eat Pray Grab Pussy,” and Elizabeth Gilbert reached out to me and donated $5,000 to Planned Parenthood for the copy of it.
I’d love to get some celebrities doing it — Jon Hamm, if you’re reading this, Nick Kroll… But I think for a new book, you have to just hammer the Trump thing.
I have noticed an overwhelming, uh, thirst, for you.
SR: Does that count as harassment, when I have women DM’ing me like, “I wanna marry you…”? No, I’m kidding, that’s not harassment — it’s flattering. Come to my house — my mom makes a mean latke.
But honestly, I just don’t have time. I can’t even watch Netflix. And now with my schedule, I’m taking a late train home. I get in at like 11:30 p.m. What am I going to do?
So people slide into your DMs, and you’re just like, “thank you, I’m too busy”?
SR: I just want to be polite, and I’m trying to learn how to deal with it. I barely used social media before until HQ so I’m just not used to it. Yes, I mean, it’s very flattering; yes, I do see it. I acknowledge it. If you have tweeted at me or DM’d me, thank you. Maybe one day I’ll have time to scroll through all the DMs, and maybe have a Bachelor-style reality show to choose someone? I don’t know.
By the way, what if I was into bestiality? What if it was like, Sorry guys and girls, animals are my thing? I mean I’m just saying. Don’t assume.
We’re going to print that.
SR: Ok, just don’t make it the headline.
What is your daily schedule like?
SR: So I get to the office an hour or two before the show, run through the questions, do some research, make some edits. Then I have a break and some dinner, maybe see friends, then do it again.
Someone tweeted: “I’d read 5,000 words on Scott Rogowsky and the very specific aesthetics of the Jewish-American bro.” Are you a bro?
SR: Is that how I come across? I’ve seen people tweet, “Your host exudes douchiness.” I’ve never considered myself a bro or a douche. I don’t like those types of characters. Here’s what I’ll say: I do have the ability to be a social chameleon; this goes back to middle school. I could hang with preps or jocks or nerds. I’d float between groups and had my core friends who were just into baseball card collecting. That’s what I am at heart: a baseball card collector.
What’s your team?
SR: The Mets. But I have soft spot for the Red Sox because of Nomar Garciaparra, my favorite player of all time.
How many times have you seen Phish?
SR: Over 20.
Vape or bong?
SR: Neither. Honestly, I don’t smoke, I don’t really drink. I’ve been to all these Phish shows completely sober.
How do you pick your suits and ties for the show?
SR: I don’t. We did a whole wardrobe thing. They’re not my own suits.
On your day off, do you play, and if so how far have you gone?
SR: If I have a day off, it’s because I’m traveling or have something going on, so I can’t play. But I do watch the games if I can. I’ve never won. Honestly, once I got out on question one. Usually I can’t get past six.
Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at email@example.com.
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