Trivia Questions For: Pat Kiernan, NY1 Anchor & Veteran Game Show Host trivia host Pat Kiernan

It’s time once again for an edition of my “Trivia Questions For…” series, where I get to interview notable experts, thought leaders, performers and personalities across the entire spectrum of TrivWorks-related fields: corporate event entertainment, employee team building, workplace issues, brand engagement, training, trivia/gaming, humor and more. I’ve been directing the spotlight inwards this past month, interviewing some of the “special talent” event emcees whom I have the privilege of working with. Today, it’s time for a big one: NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan!

Perhaps New York’s most-recognizable, most-beloved broadcast media personality, Pat has been a mainstay on the city’s hometown news network for nearly twenty years. Providing roughly one million Gothamites with a sharp-witted and cheery wake-up every morning, his popular  “In The Papers” segment is but one of the many charms loyal viewers have come to love about NY1, as well as their favorite news anchor. His famously early morning commute to work has recently been chronicled via his new children’s book Good Morning, City, available on November 15 (if you’re in the Big Apple, be sure to attend the book’s launch event on November 19 at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square – meet Pat in person!).

In addition to his full-time job, Pat is also a veteran host of TV game shows, most notably VH1’s The World Series of Pop Culture, which he took the helm of for two seasons. He and I have been collaborating together to produce live trivia events since 2011, not just for corporate audiences, but for mega 300-person public trivia nights at The Bell House in Brooklyn, the largest such events in the city. He is a phenomenal trivia host (click here to learn why), is great at writing trivia questions, is a fantastic partner, and I am so incredibly honored to get to work with him by way of our very special alliance!

We got the chance to catch up recently for an interview – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

You’ve been hosting trivia on TV game shows and at live events for over a decade. What is it about trivia that you enjoy?

I’ve always liked the combination of mental challenge and entertainment provided by game shows. For me the “play along” aspect of a game is huge. It’s fun to put yourself to the test.

Hosting trivia requires a pretty unique skill set, distinct from traditional emcee duties. What skills must a professional game show host have to be successful?

First you’ve got to know what you don’t know. You’ve got to go into any event with an understanding of what the correct answers are — and also what the most likely INCORRECT answers are. You’ve got to be able to deliver the questions with authority and respond with authority when a player disputes an answer. Once you’ve actually started the show, the biggest skill is in reading the room and finding an appropriate level of energy. Some events are friendly and relaxed. Other events are highly competitive. The host has to match the audience — not the other way around. 

What is it about team trivia which makes it a great group bonding activity, particularly for corporate audiences?

You can do amazing things with composition of teams for a group bonding event. People tend to cluster at work events with the same people they gather with every day. Carefully selected teams can cut across the company org chart and get people from 5 different departments at the same table working toward a common goal. Their success (or failure) in the trivia contest gives them something to talk about at the event and for weeks afterward.

You have a strong background in business. How can employee social/entertainment activities – not just trivia, but any kind – help boost the bottom line?

A trivia event can “break the ice” for new lines of communication inside a company. I know that sounds like an exaggeration. But it’s really impressive at these events to see how quickly people start working together and forgetting that they really didn’t know each other 20 minutes earlier. When those new relationships return to the workplace the day after an event, there can be new lines of communication and a better understanding of what people in one part of a company need from the other. A lot of inefficiency in business comes from poor communication. If you get people talking you’re likely going to improve efficiency. 

 Your role as a broadcast newsman in NYC means you are immersed daily in pop culture. Why is pop culture so rabidly consumed, and what about it makes for good trivia? 

People crave pop culture because it’s an escape. The only reason to watch a trashy reality TV show is to be entertained. The only reason you’d have to remember facts from that show is to entertain yourself at a trivia event. We spend so much time thinking about things that are really important that it’s fun to spend some time on stuff that’s really NOT important. 

 Can you provide ONE great/favorite trivia question for readers?

I work in Chelsea Market in New York City. There’s a sign above the entrance that says NBC. But it doesn’t refer to the broadcasting company. What does NBC mean in this context?

Pat can be seen anchoring the news on NY1 most weekday mornings between the hours of 5-10am EST. You can engage directly with directly via his incredibly popular Twitter feed, @PatKiernan. If you are interested in having Pat emcee your corporate trivia party in NYC this holiday season or beyond, visit

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