Visit Harlowe Bar on a Wednesday night—or Hamburger Mary’s on a Thursday or Mud Hen Tavern on a Tuesday—and you’ll catch trivia obsessives in their natural habitat: playing a game called Geeks Who Drink, all in the name of useless facts and free beer. The Denver-based company behind the franchise (now in 35 cities) turned the stale pub-quiz format into a pop culture blitzkrieg, complete with audio clips and visual aids. Its popularity inspired a successful quantum leap to the SyFy channel, where each week two teams compete in a battle of wits that could stump the Dread Pirate Roberts and Vizzini (or include questions about them). Consider the series’ host, Zachary Levi—founder of the online community the Nerd Machine and a star of Heroes Reborn—as the millennial answer to Alex Trebek. “I think ‘nerdy’ is synonymous with ‘passion,’ ” Levi says. “L.A. is a city of passions, possibly more than a lot of other cities. You can be a hiking nerd, a deserts nerd, a mountains nerd—we’re all geeky about something.” As we await word of the show’s return (take a swig of season one on SyFy’s Web site), visit Geeks Who Drink online for a list of the L.A. bars that put on the event. Here Levi talks about his love for Spock and shares a damn good idea for a Men in Black reboot.
What would your L.A.-themed trivia team name be?
The Mali- booyas.
Ultimate fictional teammates?
Spock, Mr. Fantastic, and the Hulk. Geniuses, all of them.
Battle of the California-based superheroes: West Coast Avengers or Teen Titans?
I feel like you kind of have to go with the veterans, but you can’t not bet on youth. So I’m going to say the Teen Titans. No, I’m changing that. West Coast Avengers.
Jim Beam or Jim Henson?
That’s not fair! Jim Henson. I could live my life without Jim Beam. I can’t live my life without Jim Henson.
Angeleno you’d grab a beer with?
Walt Disney. That guy—he was the original Steve Jobs.
Character you’d grab a beer with?
Yoda. Beer I drink!
Character you’d never want to run into in a dark alley?
I feel like I wouldn’t want to run into a lot of people—but look, the Joker. He has a habit of killing very important people in alleys.
Battle Cat (He-Man), the DeLorean (Back to the Future), or Floo Powder (Harry Potter)?
DeLorean, 100 percent. Time travel—hello.
One show, film, or book you wish took place in L.A.?
The Road. What if you didn’t see a car move in L.A. and you had bands of looters attacking convoys of horse-drawn carriages along Ventura Boulevard?
Would you rather fly in a plane with Harrison Ford or Han Solo?
Harrison Ford. Han Solo doesn’t fly planes. He flies spaceships. Big difference. And if I flew with Harrison Ford, technically I’d get to fly with Han Solo and Indiana Jones. It’s a twofer.
Which superhero movie would you turn into a musical?
None of them.
But you have to.
But I won’t. I don’t want to tarnish any of them. I won’t be responsible for such crap.
Even as a joke?
How about The Greatest American Hero: The Musical.
First song you can think of with the word “space” in it?
“Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks. Great album.
If Men in Black were set in L.A., which Angelenos would be from other planets?
The Uber drivers. I love them, though. I talk to all of them.