When David Horowitz was young, he was captivated by game shows. The challenge of answering fast-paced questions challenged him to the limit.
Not surprisingly, it was as a young child that he found somebody to look up to.
“Alex Trebek is my idol,” said Horowitz, 44, of the longtime Jeopardy! host. “I always wanted to be a game show host and have kind of created this opportunity for myself.”
Every Sunday at 8 p.m., Horowitz, originally from Bergen County and now a Cherry Hill resident, plays the Trebek-inspired role as he hosts “20 Second Trivia,” a live weekly trivia game, held virtually on Facebook. Contestants are asked 20 questions and have up to 20 seconds to answer each one from among four possibilities given.
Horowitz comes up with the questions, with help from his 13-year-old son, Evan. (You don’t think Trebek has to make up his own questions, do you?)
(Interested in playing? Here is the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/478520900. Once logged in, contestants are directed to how it works.)
Horowitz was attempting to fill the void for people during the coronavirus pandemic, and here’s the kicker: He’s raising money for charity while doing something he truly loves.
Since his trivia game’s debut on April 12, he has helped raise more than $12,000 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation to support COVID-19. Through early May, the foundation has provided 270,000 KN95 masks to various cities and states, sent an additional 20,580 care kits to first responders in seven states, and much more.
Those who play the trivia game don’t have to donate, but many have, according to Horowitz. (Here is the page if one is looking to make a donation: facebook.com/donate/1524871634334844/.)
Helping with COVID-19 is deeply personal to Horowitz. His brother-in-law, Alan Weinstein, tested positive in March, spent 12 days in the hospital, and is now at home recovering.
“I saw how he was suffering, and this inspired me to try to make an impact, and I began researching organizations and saw all that the CDC Foundation was doing,” Horowitz said.
One can tell that Horowitz enjoys what he is doing, and Trebek would be proud of all the energy he shows as a host. The questions aren’t easy, unless you are maybe the team known as the Dubin Quartet.
The Dubins are friends of Horowitz and haven’t missed a show.
“It’s a great time to get together something so enjoyable to look forward to,” said Stu Dubin, a Cherry Hill resident who makes this a family affair.
The other members of the Dubin Quartet include Stu’s wife, Sarah; son, Jack, 13; and daughter, Lucy, 10. They collaborate on the answers, working as a team. In the first five weeks, they have had four top-two finishes.
An example of just how stiff the competition is: During a recent game, the Dubins got all 20 answers right, but they finished second because someone answered the questions faster. Now that is some tough luck.
Even getting 20 right is no easy feat, at least to some of the lesser-skilled players. (This reporter got just 11 of 20 correct, finishing 73rd out of 109 contestants. After getting all four wrong in the first category — TV Moms — things didn’t get much rosier from there.)
There is no prize for winning, only pride. And there is certainly no prize for finishing 73rd.
More players from around the country have been participating as word of the game continues to spread via Facebook, according to Horowitz.
As much as he enjoys doing this, Horowitz isn’t about to quit his day job, where he runs a venture-capital firm. Still, he is fulfilling a dream of sorts. He began watching Trebek since the host debuted on Jeopardy! in 1984.
Horowitz likely won’t enjoy as long a run as Trebek, but his immediate plan is to keep moving forward with the show.
“It is more of a hobby,” Horowitz said. “Until the world returns to some normalcy, I think I will be doing this for the foreseeable future.”