Profiles in trivia: Dan Swartwout

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From the January 31, 2013 edition
  • Photo by Meghan Ralston

It was like a moment out of a sitcom itself.

Dan Swartwout, a comedian who has performed alongside and met many celebrities, had never been starstruck until he saw him, the man who, years earlier, regularly provided Swartwout with competition at Columbus-area Buffalo Wild Wings’ NTN trivia contests. Handshaking and proclamations of fandom ensued.

“This guy used to write down on a pad of paper all the questions he got wrong so he could learn the answers,” Swartwout said admirably.

Swartwout, aka Swarty, wasn’t easy to beat. In July 2003 he was the No. 1 ranked NTN player in the country, and he has racked up more than a million PlayersPlus Points since he started playing NTN in college.

His steel trap of a memory helped him get through law school, and he often summons his pop culture prowess when writing jokes for his standup comedy routines.

“I have to find the right level of obscurity,” Swartwout said. “I have to force myself back sometimes. I could have the best Degrassi bit ever but it would be over a lot of people’s heads.”