What if there were a show where celebrities got to talk about what they wanted to talk about – the topics of their true loves and passions? And what if it was fun and funny, and included trivia questions like you’ve never heard before, and actual experts in a diverse array of fields?
If you’re the kind of person who’d like to see this, you can GO FACT YOURSELF.
GO FACT YOURSELF is a trivia show with a live audience and celebrity contestants, based on the popular podcast created by Jim Newman & J. Keith van Straaten, and is hosted by J. Keith van Straaten and Helen Hong (learn all about them). The heart of the show is a quiz about a topic the guest has chosen for him/herself, followed by the appearance of an actual expert in that topic.
Past Guests on the podcast have included:
- Fred Willard
- Tom Bergeron
- Margaret Cho
- Pete Holmes
- Lea Thompson
- Susan Orlean
- Stacy London
- Sasheer Zamata
- Maria Bamford
- Paul F. Tompkins
- Paul Scheer
- Cristela Alonzo
Each episode of GO FACT YOURSELF bring together two celebrities, who have told producers three topics they know a lot about outside their field of work. After a brief chat, the topics are revealed and the games begin!
First up, a round of “What’s the Difference?” questioning our guests about the differences between similar things you might not have realized are different. Examples include:
- Soda Water vs Seltzer
- Cruise Ship vs Ocean liner
- Eternal vs Everlasting
Points are awarded for correct answers and gentle teasing is awarded for wrong ones.
Next, we remind the audience what Guest 1’s three topics are and ask about each one. Then we reveal for the first time – to the audience and the guest – which topic we’ll be quizzing him/her about. Past topics include:
- Artificial Sweeteners
- The Best Desserts in New York City
- Arkansas Religious Cults
- The Goonies
- “30 Rock”
After animated discussion of why the guest chose the topic, we quiz the guest with five questions, starting with easy and getting more difficult. Some sample questions:
• (Topic: Jack Daniel’s) What number is on the label of every bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey?
• (Topic: The Gutenberg Bible) In what language was the Gutenberg Bible printed?
• (Topic: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) What are the call letters and channel number of the TV station where Mary works?
Points are awarded for correct answers and the other Guest attempts to steal the point if a question is answered incorrectly – often with spectacular failure, as Guest 2 may not know anything about Guest 1’s topic!
The trivia quiz culminates in an expert-level three-part question called The Clusterfact (oooh!). Here, the Guest is asked something that only a true fan would know. Examples:
• (Topic: Chicken Husbandry) What are the top three uses for chicken manure?
• (Topic: 1986 New York Mets) In Game 6 of the World Series, who was the starting pitcher, winning pitcher, and only pitcher not to give up a run?
• (Topic: “Star Trek”) Other than the Enterprise, what are three other Constitution Class Starships that were seen or whose names were mentioned on “Star Trek?”
Unlike the previous questions, we don’t reveal the answers right away, because we have an Expert on hand who knows for sure! Let’s reveal the experts – a surprise to both the audience and the Guests. Past experts include:
• Tommy Chong (Topic: Marijuana)
• Wayne’s World director Penelope Spheeris (Topic: Wayne’s World)
• Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls (Topic: Indigo Girls)
• Larry Bird’s high school coach Gary Holland (Topic: Larry Bird)
After a chat with the Expert, the answers to the Clusterfact are revealed and the Guest and Expert get to talk passionately about the topic together.
We send away the expert and repeat the process with Guest 2 (Topic reveal, Quiz, Clusterfact, Expert, Chat) before going into the final segment: Fast Facts.
Fast Facts is a fast-paced lightning round of statements of arbitrary knowledge, for which our Guests have to answer true or false. Some sample statements:
• The first episode of “Beverly Hills 90210” aired in the 1980s.
• Hasbro made a version of the Game of Life for Millennials, where they have to deal with insurmountable debt.
• Only one person named Carrie has ever been nominated for an Oscar in any category.
After points are totaled, a champion is declared… What does the champion win? Bragging rights and title of Facting Champion!
GO FACT YOURSELF is a production of Maximum Fun, the popular podcast network behind hit podcasts including “Judge John Hodgman” and “Bullseye” on NPR.
GO FACT YOURSELF was created and written by Jim Newman & J. Keith van Straaten, game show and comedy veterans, who have written for NPR’s “Ask Me Another,” GSN’s “Chain Reaction,” and Entertainment Studios’s “Funny You Should Ask.” They’ve mounted successful productions of live game shows “What’s My Line? – Live on Stage” and “The Fix-Up Show” in New York and Los Angeles. Additionally, they’ve written animation scripts as a team for “Casper,” “Toonsylvania,” and more. J. Keith hosted the Comedy Central game show “Beat the Geeks.”