Many people know Scott Rogowsky as the beloved host of HQ, the mobile trivia app that’s captured the interest of millions (at least every night at 9 p.m. ET and occasionally at 3 p.m. ET). Almost every night the 33-year-old pops up on our phones, engaging viewers with his trademark quips—you know you love them, HQ-ties!—while championing the art of trivia.
While HQ may be “just” a trivia game, it’s developed a huge following, and that’s mostly because of Scott and his hosting skills. He’s developed a quiz language all his own, and has a habit of dropping random bits of pop culture all throughout his time on air, making the nightly quizzes extra enjoyable, as you’re always waiting to see what he’ll say—or do—next. Will he dress up like Bob Ross or David Bowie again? Have special HQ guests like Robert De Niro, Alicia Silverstone or Ice Cube on? And you never know when he’ll mention our fav—Mayim Bialik—again (One night Scott let folks know that the $5k prize Tonight’s prize “…might be enough to buy your friends’ Facebook data and see which of them is leaving comments on the Mayim Bialik fan page,”)!
With HQ hosting duties under his belt, Scott has been deemed one of the 25 most influential people on the Internet by Time Magazine, but he’s no stranger to the public eye. Before landing the role of Quiz Daddy, Scott hosted “Running Late,” his own live, late night style talk show where he interviews a number of celebrity guests. “Running Late” still pops up at various NYC venues, and if you go, you might even have the pleasure of meeting Marty, Scott’s dad. Starting September 15th, he’s mashing up both formats with a touring show that offers up a night of live trivia and comedy. If you can’t get enough Scott, catch him on the road in the coming months.
In an homage to HQ, and to celebrate the app’s first birthday, we decided to expand our regular 5 Deep Questions column, just for Scott, and asked him 12 of our very own Q’s. In the spirit of Quizzie McGuire and Quiz Quiztofferson, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, let’s get this show on the road…
- Do you believe in God? I believe… [sings] in a thing called love. I’ll give you the freshman year philosophy class answer: I believe there’s an energy, man. I believe there’s a force out there that made the judge at my traffic court find me guilty of the exact same thing that the previous guy who went up before me was found not guilty of. Clearly there’s something—whether it’s God or a cosmic force. I definitely believe in a balancing, sort of cosmic justice.
- What do you think happens when we die? Is it fair to say, I don’t care? Why would I think about that? I realize theologians spend their careers thinking about it, but I’d rather think about where I’m eating dinner tonight. I’m more concerned about what happens after I tie-dye a shirt. Do I wash it with whites or colors? Maybe better to hand wash separately? My point is, I have enough to worry about with my earthly affairs. No sense in getting metaphysical on a Friday afternoon.
- What were you like in high school? I sort of had an arc. I started as a pretty minor figure in the high school scene, freshman year. I played baseball but wasn’t a jock. I was sort of a goofball with my friends. I had my group of dorky, baseball card–collecting friends. By the end of high school, I was student body president! I was sort of a social chameleon—I was a floater. The popular kids would say hi to me, but I wasn’t invited to all the parties. My core circle remained the same—we were sort of the prankster, wise-ass kids who realized all this is a sham and that it gets better (and it does!). Basically, I started high school as Milhouse, and I graduated as Bart (with slightly better grades and considerably worse skateboarding abilities).
- Did you anticipate the intense success of HQ when you originally got the hosting gig? I don’t think anyone could have anticipated this. When it was pitched to me initially, I was a little skeptical, but was also desperate for a job. I thought, okay, this could be an opportunity to sort of make this my own! I wasn’t given a manual or told how to do this. They just turned the camera on and said I could say whatever I want as long as I asked the specific questions. Because I was myself, and because I created content that was smart and engaging, I think people liked it and it became popular. I certainly wasn’t expecting millions and millions of people to watch and play, though.
- You do a lot of fun shtick on HQ, what’s been your favorite? The John Mayer show where I wrote these Grateful Dead puns to transition between questions was a personal highlight for me—and getting to sing “Old Man” with John Mayer, to harmonize with him. And hosting with my dad on Father’s Day—that was pretty special.
- You pepper your HQ hosting with a ton of seemingly random jokes, puns, and tidbits (many related to the jam band Phish), that are very niche. There’s also something significant about someone on a huge platform saying “Shabbat Shalom, HQ-ties” every week. Maybe it’s just my Jewish, suburban privilege assuming that everyone watching has the same background as I do. But yeah, I agree with that. Everything I’ve done on the show is just an extension of who I am, what I find funny, what’s in my brain. I don’t think many people understand the references or jokes I make. If I had read the Bible or watched Mad About You every day, then I’d be making more of those references. It’s whatever I consumed and whatever I’ve absorbed over the years: a lot of challah and a lot of Phish. My recall isn’t actually that great, so it’s the same soundtrack on repeat.
- How well would you do at HQ? It varies. I’ve won once playing along. Once. (I didn’t actually collect my winnings because they don’t allow us to win.)
- Who has been your most exciting HQ fan? Former Mets player Lenny Dykstra? I’ve been tweeting with him. That’s crazy. I also got a text from Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio’s manager. Trey plays HQ with his daughter. It was really heartfelt and that’s just bonkers to me that my guitar hero is aware of me.
- If you weren’t hosting HQ, you’d be… making videos, doing my talk show, just finding ways to make stuff and put it out there.
- Last thing you cooked was… eggs for breakfast. Three egg whites and an egg, that’s my ratio. With chopped herbed turkey, scallions, and mixed greens.
- Last book you read… Ghostbuster’s Daughter Life With My Dad, Harold Ramis and The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason.
- Last show you binge watched… I don’t have the ability to binge like normal people. But I’m currently watching one episode every week of Barry on HBO.