Every Thursday evening, John Limon, of Tinley Park, carries a laptop, pens and small slips of paper into Bullpen Luxury Bar & Grill in Schererville.
There's patrons who fill the seats and tables in the bar — but there's also about 12 groups waiting for him to set up and begin another night of trivia.
"This is a perfect opportunity to give a good deal and give something that's quality entertainment," Limon said.
He'll walk around, handing out his paper slips to groups willing to test their knowledge. He'll take a remote and switch over several TVs and head back to the DJ booth to commence the first round. But before it all begins, "No cellphones!" he reminds everyone.
Teams give their best of what they've collectively got in their noggins to rack up points and win shots of liquor. Questions range from pop culture queries identifying music artists and Hollywood actors based on their works to geography inquiries naming world locations and features.
"I like doing the movies and the TV themes," Limon said. "Everybody has a connection to movies and TV shows and pop culture."
One of Limon's favorite items to throw out is the "almost impossible trivia" question saved for the fourth and final round. For example, what do 1 in 3 snake bite victims have in common? The answer: They're drunk.
Limon began his path to being a disc jockey in 1984 when he founded Sound Sonic Entertainment. The idea for the name came from the similar title of a police car light, one of several products he helped assemble when he worked in a factory belonging to Federal Signal.
His company provided DJ services for weddings, school dances, corporate parties and more. However, it began offering trivia only six years ago.
The idea came from a worker who would rise from intern to co-owner with John: Mark Nilsson, of Palos Heights, Illinois.
Nilsson, as a reporter with ABC 7's "190 North," did one of his packages on local trivia nights. The light bulb went on above his head for Sound Sonic Entertainment to offer the exact same service. The first client to hire the company to host trivia was Bullpen Luxury Bar & Grill.
"This is something within our wheelhouse (entertainment)," Nilsson said. "I really wanted to make trivia night for everyone; not just nerdy people or college people. There's something for everyone."
Nilsson crafts the questions he and other DJs will use, doing his best to balance categories and difficulty.
"You never want to make the customer feel dumb," he said. "I treat it the same way I do a TV show. I try to do a beginning, middle and end."
Mark Klapkowski, of Hammond, has hosted trivia nights for six years, frequenting Jalapeno's in Schererville on Mondays and R-Bar and Grill in Highland on Thursdays. He likes to make a challenge for the audience.
"I enjoy trying to find questions that are going to stump everybody a little bit," Klapkowski said. "I kind of have fun trying to find questions where people might have an answer that’s on the tip of the tongue."
Steve Ruzich, of Munster, owner of R-Bar, brought in trivia to the weekly routine about two years ago. It's included in a lineup of bingo, trivia and karaoke on Thursday nights.
"I think it definitely contributes to people looking to go out on a Thursday," Ruzich said. "I think it's the whole social atmosphere. You're out having a good time. My buddies and I will go do it. We never really win, but we have fun doing it."
Nilsson also believes trivia nights create a good social atmosphere, especially since the rules require taking people's eyes and fingers away from their phones.
"It just gets people talking and having a conversation," he said. "It's taking you to different places in a two-hour time frame."
Brian Wieser, of Schererville, also looks forward to getting his group of friends together whenever they can to visit Bullpen for a trivia night.
"We all live so close to each other," Wieser said. "It’s a good way for us to at least commit to meeting once a week and seeing each other."
As the last round of trivia wraps up on another Thursday evening at Bullpen, Limon will host a few rounds of bingo as well before heading out. As an entertainer, he said its slightly difficult hooking the crowd in a sports bar type of setting, but it's all worth it if he can elicit some smiles and laughs from the patrons.
"I do get a reaction from things that are said," Limon said. "They (patrons) come up and say 'hi' or 'good job, that was a lot of fun.'"