What’s in a Name?

For more on pub quiz team names, follow @quiznames on Twitter.

“And before we get started, one thing you can do for me is think of a team name – it can be something funny, something topical, something rude, something about someone here, whatever you wish. Please think of a team name and write it at the top of every answer sheet”

I say this at the start of nearly every quiz (unless I’m told they already have team names) and the ensuing quiz night team names are always a key part of the quiz night experience. There are various types of name that confront me every quiz, but equally it is true to say that there are a few names that pop up more often than others…

QuizQuizQuiz has run over 2000 quizzes down the years, and I would conservatively estimate that within that time we have encountered at least 1500 ‘QuizTeam Aguilera’s. It is the definitive quiz team name, no doubt about it. So often do I encounter it, I sometimes make a wry aside when i read it out – “Nice to see them here again” – before realising that, since these people have not been travelling around to 100s of quizzes, there is no reason why they should be amused by the repeated use of QuizTeam Aguilera – indeed, it may have been made up fresh on the night, and who am i to steal their thunder?

QuizTeam Aguilera is the king (or queen) of that common name type – the “quiz” pun – not far behind, we get, Quizzee Rascal, Quiz Akabusi, sometimes Quiz Eubank (though not enough Quiz Quiztoferssons) – I once had three teams called Quiz on My Face and two called Let’s Get Quizzical at the same event. Confusing.

What other types of name are there?

  • The tongue-twister – Ken Dodd’s Dad’s Dog’s Dead is a good one, and more originally Pete Postlethwaite’s Preposterous Posthumous Pizza Party;
  • the rude play on words – Norfolk and Chance the most famous, and within the bounds of acceptability, though others push it;
  • the insult to someone there – So-and-So is a So-and-So etc (often to much hilarity);
  • the cry for help – Need Help With the Picture Round, And in Last Place, We’re rubbish, Can We Bribe you Quiz Master? etc.;
  • the casual – Only Here For the Beer, We Thought It Was a Disco;
  • then, a nice option, the pun on your company. Recently, I saw Deutsche Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?, which I liked;
  • the somewhat desultory, when I know my instructions at the start haven’t really been heeded properly and I may need to do a bit more work to get the atmosphere going – Team 1, Team 2, Team 3, (mixing it up now) Table 4, The A-Team perhaps;
  • the topical – in April last year, there were a lot of ‘SuperInjunction’s and ‘Can’t Be Named For Legal Reasons’;
  • the gratuitously offensive, often relating to something sexual or to someone who has recently died, or both;
  • and, of course, you often get something totally original, where you can’t even guess how they’ve come up with it.

Quiz team names are a massive part of the fun, and surprisingly hard to come up with, as I know from my own experience of pub quizzes. Initially, my teams used to come up with tortured laboured puns which we thought were hilarious but were met by silence after being mangled by the quiz master. Then, in a successful team I was part of, we were Lovely Touch for a Big Man – a reference to Peter Crouch which we were pleased to discover was amusing to different people in different ways.

I know people who are daring enough to go for rude jokes about topical stories, though I’ve always been a bit timid for that. I couldn’t tell you the best pub quiz team name I’ve ever heard, nor even give that much advice – [I have a soft spot for little twists on the name of your company, i'm less enamoured of flat out insults of colleagues in general, but if they are funny, they bring the house down]. I’ve one which anyone who wishes to can steal – this was the name which got the best reaction I ever heard – a simple mishearing of a lyric in a Weathergirls song – ‘Israeli Men, Hallelujah, Israeli Men’. Not sure what magic ingredient that name had on that particular night, but it worked.

What other favourites have you heard down the years?

What is your best team name?

For more on pub quiz team names, follow @quiznames on Twitter.

8 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Occasionally, inventive names can be derailed by imcomprehending or under-informed quizmasters. At one quiz in the late 1990s, during the height of Bill Clinton’s troubles with Congress, the baffled QM announced a team called “I’m Peach, The President”.

  2. That’s funny! We used to go to a pub with a quiz master who had significant troubles with pronunciation/knowledge levels.

    We called ourselves “King Lewis the Ziv” and when he read it out he would be heckled (not just by us) with teams shouting “You mean Louis the Fourteenth”. [Louis XIV}

    A little cruel, but amusing at the time.

  3. Dr Wa – I actually went to the Norfolk tourist website to check that…

    Norfolk: Time to Explore is much less good. They should change their slogan to Norfolk Enchants.

  4. Whenever playing in a prize quiz for the first time my friend and I often call ourselves something along the lines of “Only Here for the Beer”, to belie the fact that we’re only really there for the cash prize. This backfired once when the landlady of a pub in Neath misread our name, and spend the whole evening calling us “Only Hair for the Bear”.

    Serve her right that we took her money.

  5. My personal favourite, nicked from a mate (who probably nicked it from someone else as well), is “Halal – is it meat you’re looking for?”

    Best effort at making one up on the night was the rather long-winded “Two’s company, three’s a crowd and Five are a crap boy band”. It shortened to “Two’s company” quite effectively.

  6. I’d never thought to classify team names before. At my expat quiz, I’ve had The Rhymenoceroses, The Italian Handicap (insulting a team member), the Aung San Zucchinis (topical!) and the rather cynical Puns are so Passe.

    • many thanks for your comments. I like the topical ones generally. I had “I’m Aung San Suu Kyi, Get Me Out Of Here” which I thought was rather clever.

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