Didn’t They Do Welly! at The Duke Of The Wellington has been a scene favourite for over four years and now that Lola Lasagne has taken over as the hostess of the most fun pub quiz in town, Daniel Warner thought he’d quiz her with a few probing questions of his own.
Hi Lola, so we hear you’ve just taken over as the hostess of Didn’t They Do Welly!, how did your first night go?
It was a great first night for me as the new regular host replacing the divine Martha D’Arthur after 4 years there, and just like Martha I alternate hosting duties alongside Topsie Redfern. We had 15 keen teams, a lot of laughs and one team won the big cash jackpot!
What’s the secret to a great pub quiz?
I think it has to be interesting and fun and you just can’t be indulgent in your subject matter. Regular players will cotton on quite quickly if there’s a familiar pattern to the topics. So dropping in a round on boatyards of the Northeast shakes things up a bit.
In that case, hanging around boatyards might have to be my specialised subject from now on. Do you have a go at writing the questions yourself or are you just the fabulous, glamorous mouthpiece?
I do indeed write the questions for my week and for Topsie’s week too! This was Martha’s role and I’ve simply slipped into her shoes, so to speak. Not literally as she’s a size 11. With hands to match. I’m a dainty size 8.
I guess you can tell a lot about a drag queen by the size of her feet. Tell me who would you want on your team if you were playing?
Well on Martha’s last night as hostess I formed a team with Topsie, Sheila Simmonds, DJ David Robson and the Welly’s guv’nor, Oliver. We were a joyous mix of beauty, brains and brawn but I think we finished 4th! Obviously I can’t play a quiz I write so if I was at another quiz, I’d want Anne Hegarty from The Chase as she’s brainy, Paul Gambaccini for the music questions, Sir Tim Rice for theatre and cricket and Paul O’Grady who’d help us all get bladdered.
Well that sounds like you’ve got all bases covered, what would your team’s name be?
A good quiz team name should be either a very clever play on words or outrageously offensive. Last week at The Welly we had teams with the names ‘Norfolk N Chance’ and ‘Fill It Schofield’. I leave the teams to choose and I can’t remember ever saying that someone has gone too far. Which gives you an idea of my sense of humour.
Do you think you are a fair hostess or could your head be swayed and your hand turned?
I’m a competitive queen anyway so when I play a quiz I can’t abide cheating and even more so when hosting. We offer good prizes and a fun night out, so phones, iPads etc must go away or points WILL be deducted. I hosted a quiz at another bar for a while and took a whole round off some bloke who was blatantly cheating. I’d also say ‘No cheating or…’ and devise a suitable punishment.
What makes the quiz at The Welly different to other pubs?
I think good quizzes survive because of the format and the host and The Welly has this down pat. For four years, Martha and Topsie worked bloody hard to make it the success it is, so I know I’ve got my work cut out to carry that on when hosting and compiling the quiz. Oliver and his team at The Welly back this up by offering you a cracking venue to visit any night of the week and also by working hard with Martha, Topsie and now me to ensure that each player has a great time.
Lola, you’ve sold it to me. I need to book a table and get quizzicle with you. One last question, tell me how do you manage to stay eternally gorgeous and eternally glamorous?
You’re too kind and obviously haven’t seen me descend from the rafters in my belfry when I wake. But the secret is vodka. Or gin. Sometimes wine…
Photo by ChrisJepson.com