Interview With Curtis Earth

By Damion Wolfe

In the Fall of 1997 I set off on my first tour promoting the release of my first CD.  One of my first stops was at The Lancaster Dispensing Company in Lancaster, PA.  Amongst a crowd of callous and disinterested listeners there was one man over to my far left at a bar stool who kept showering me with hoorays and good cheer after every tune. During the break he invited me over with his friend, and then later offered me a place to crash.  We went back to his place and chilled out over a beer and rapped about music.

For the next couple of years we remained loosely in touch. In the Spring of '99 I moved to Baltimore and happened to see my gentle friend at a Borders show.  I was looking for work and he generously extended me a hand with scoring many venues to play in the Lancaster area.  Since that time not only have we become close friends, but I have had the pleasure of witnessing how great a performer, songwriter and entertainer Mr. Curtis Earth is.  I am proud to introduce to you as the first interviee of my new profile series, Mr. Curtis Earth.

Curtis' main project over the last few years has been the establishment of a unique quiz show entitled "The Curtis Earth Trivia Show." This show is far from being just another 'ol quiz show.  Curtis combines his question and answer routine with crazy antics such as a wacky raffle, music, his own songs, guest performers and even a wacky monkey puppet by the name of Mr. Shifferstein. Patrons of the show never know what to expect.  Most of Earth's shows are weekly in various restaurants and pubs, but he also does private functions, charity events and colleges.

One of the things that really stands out about Curtis is his charismatic presence and the relationship that he builds with his audiences.  As a performer he has the unique ability to draw on the talents of the old school entertainers of our parents' generation, and yet meld it with the coolness of our current pop society. If you witness Curtis in action you can automatically see how this rare gift magnifies his already innate ability to appeal to all walks of society, young and old.

Curtis began his trivia show back in the early 90s while living in Lancaster, PA.  He now resides in Orlando, FL, where he is now hosting shows five days a week, and still maintaining affiliate shows in Lancaster. I was able to speak with Curtis recently about the then and the now.

Curtis, explain to us how you first got started doing trivia.   What was your inspiration?

 "I was a happy hour DJ at a Holiday Inn...and I was bored with the same old scene every day. I started asking questions one night, and the crowd responded. Soon a competition was taking place. I formatted the game and decided to only perform it on Tuesdays and it was called 'Tuesday Trivia.' Its popularity grew quickly."

You started off doing trivia in Lancaster, PA. You are now hosting  an array of trivia shows in Orlando, FL.  What are the differences  you see, if any, in the response to your shows?

"People love trivia, but it does not appeal to everyone. The people who love quiz shows and such seem to love it and are very loyal. The crowds in Florida are very much the same as in Pennsylvania as far as demographics go. Perhaps a bit more tan."

You have a side-kick known as Mr. Shifferstein.  Could you tell us  more about him? Do you consider him your trivia partner, or is he  just some slave that does your dirty work?

 "It's hard to explain my relationship with this puppet monkey without sounding really weird, but he is part sidekick and part talisman.  I played in bands for years before starting the trivia show and I am used to performing with others. The monkey provides that feeling for me. I am sure he would say the same thing, if he could talk."

Some people don't realize that you're a pretty wicked songwriter.  How does your songwriting fit into your trivia show?  Could you tell us how we could find out more about your music and purchasing it?

"I have been writing songs since before I could play an instrument.  It's a natural process for me, for some reason.  I don't consider myself a really good musician.  It's like anything, though.  Some of my work is really strong and some sucks.  It's not like I'm going to be a famous songwriter, so what do I care?  I enjoy being able to write songs about my life and the people in it, though.  It's good to be able to do that.  You can check out some of my older stuff on the music page of my website.

What are your goals with the show?  Where do you want to take it?  And how would you like to see things in the next five years?

"Well, 2003 is the year I will be franchising the show in Florida and hopefully in other parts of the country. I hope to be hosting my own TV show within the next two years.  I have a groundbreaking idea for a program.  If the show doesn't work out then, what the hell, there's always cruise ships!"

You can find out more about Curtis and his Trivia Show @ WWW.CURTISEARTHTRIVIA.COM, or email Curt directly at  Mr. Earth's show is really a great night's worth of entertainment whether you're with your drinking buddies or flying solo.

To conclude I have a short series questions called "THE TEN" that Curtis has graciously agreed to answer.

1. What was your favorite childhood toy?  "Mr. Microphone"

2. Name of the first girl you ever kissed.  "Kathy Schneider"

3. What are your top 3 albums of all time? "Abbey Road-The Beatles;
  The Early Years-Ray Charles; Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys

4. What was your best trivia show ever? "That would take a long time to   think back upon but right off the bat I would say the last Bube's   Brewery(Mt.Joy,PA) show before I moved to Orlando.  And most   recently, the Trivia Olympics that I hosted here in Orlando.  We had   a piano player as my band and we gave away $1000.00 to the winning   team."

5. (Spelling Question) Spell the word "Carnivore".  "I can't."

6. What was the name of your first band? "Sapphire"

7. What artist/entertainer(dead or alive) would you most like to have a drink with?  "Frank Sinatra. If he's not available then Frank Zappa."

8. What is your all time favorite board game? "Don't Wake Daddy"

9. In ten words or less, please share your thoughts about mullets. "Not unless you're a professional wrestler."

10. What is your favorite commercial trivia game (aka Jeopardy, Weakest Link, etc.) and why?  "Jeopardy-it's a no bullshit, let's see what you're made of kid, kind of show.  It's got staying power, too.  It's like the Rolling Stones of trivia programs.  Alex Trebek is like Keith Richards with healthy teeth."