The Trivial Life Of Noah Tarnow

How One New Yorker Became The King Of Trivial Facts

By Helaina Hovitz

It's the end of the second round and he is in his element: surrounded by music and microphones, hunched over a handful of papers in the right corner of the stage. As advertisements from sponsors flash across the projection screen, he grades pages of contestants' trivia responses as fast as he can, slamming them down on the table and wiping sweat from his forehead. The last round consists of some dizzying trivia tests, including this one: Guess the titles of four songs that won Oscars for best original score (each song was slowed down to half-speed), and guess the titles of twenty Oscar-winning movies (a clip from each movie was displayed on a tiny screen). Just to add an extra layer of difficulty, all the songs and movies played simultaneously, for just one minute.

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