GSU alum Jake Hallman rules trivia nights at Gnat’s

Martinique Mccrory

Frequenters of Gnat’s Landing Trivia Night know to come armed with current events facts, a clever team name and somewhat intelligent friends, but few know about the man behind the microphone, Jake Hallman.

Hallman, a 1998 music composition graduate of Georgia Southern University, spends most of his days chasing around his two-year-old son, tending to his self-made video production company, Stouthouse Media, and following the advice of his wife, who spurred his desire to get into commercial production. However, on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m., Hallman sheds his day-to-day personality to become Trivia Jake, the fast-talking host many trivia frequenters have become familiar with.

Q: So, how old are you?

Hallman: Old enough to be completely freaked out that I’m as far removed from this year’s incoming freshmen as the [Georgia Southern College] class of 1974 was to me.

Q: How do you pick the categories and questions each Tuesday?

Hallman: Generally, I’ve got an idea of where I want to go with trivia at least a day beforehand. Some things are a given. We’re always going to have a current events round, ’cause people being aware of their world is really important to me. One of the mystery rounds is always going to be the Cabbott Beasley Memorial Random-Ass Guess, ’cause he was a way better trivia host than me and had the audacity to up and die before he could come up with even more awesome ideas for me to steal.

Q: What is the funniest team name you’ve come across?

Hallman: No clue. I can give you general guidelines though: tongue-twister team names are fun for hosts.

If you try to come up with a name that’s going to make the host look dumb when he/she says it — well first of all, that’s a dick move. Second, in my particular case, “Trivia Jake” will repeat it with no shame, and I will find a way to get in multiple verbal zingers on your team.

I like team names with a joke hidden so cleverly that it’s not until I’m saying it on the third or fourth round that I suddenly pause… “Oh, I get it. Well done.”

Q: What would you say to anyone who hasn’t gone to trivia night because they’re nervous about their skills?

Hallman: Don’t be a wuss. It’s really not that hard. Besides, you’ll have fun. And I’ll even give you the secret that all the established teams screw up on: They get overconfident.

There’s always one last question in the game that teams have to wager points on. A lot of teams either figure that they’ve got in in the bag since they’re winning and bet it all out of sheer confidence, or think that they’re so far behind that the only chance they have to win anything is to bet it all.

There’s a happy middle ground there, because plenty of both groups are going to screw it up every week. Don’t bet all your points. Leave a bit of a cushion, and you might be surprised where you end up.