Forget about who invaded which country on what date, because The Sheepoll Show is all about gauging the moral compass and comparing the social attitudes of participants on a range of topics, such as 'who would win at playing the trumpet while cycling? Lance or Louis Armstrong?' and the classic argument starter, 'scrunch or fold?'.
There are no right and wrong answers, nor is there a winner and a loser; at the end of the night the person with the most, unique responses is crowned the Black Sheep, while the most conformist of the crowd is named the White Sheep.
“The whole point of the show is to find out whether you're a Black Sheep or a White Sheep, so that's how average you are compared to the rest of the audience there or how unique you are,” explains co-creator Chase O'Connell. “We've had people go to shows on one side of town and be a complete White Sheep and then flip over to the other side of town and they're a Black Sheep. It is interesting as a social experiment.”
The Sheepoll Show originated in Brisbane as the evolved form of Chase and his business partner Steffan van Lint's Majority Rules trivia series. Rather than focus on what we all agree upon, Chase and Steffan discovered it would be more fun to find out where we differ.
“With Majority Rules and the tech we were using at the time you could only tell the majority of the answers, but we wanted to go further and not just explore the majority but also the minority of it and celebrate both. This idea of having the Black Sheep and White Sheep became a more interesting idea than just letting the majority win,” Chase says.
“Look at modern politics; if you only focus on the majority you end up excluding a lot of the minorities and we see it more and more that you need to consider both. Minorities are still an important voice to listen to, which is why first place is split between the blackest sheep and the whitest sheep and not just one way or the other. We celebrate both ends of the spectrum.”
After the success of The Sheepoll Show in Brisbane, Chase and Steffan have taken the series national, exporting it to pubs all over the country in an effort to share the fun and frivolity that's become something of a local phenomenon. “We saw a good opportunity to branch it out as far as we could as quickly as we could,” Steffan says.
“It's a big risk but it's been good. We're getting a lot of people coming to the shows and really enjoying it, and also really positive feedback from shows all over the country. I think that was the big nervous thing, was whether the crowds act differently to what we've been doing up here in Brisbane.”
Combining the vitriol of an internet comments section with the face-to-face atmosphere of a town hall meeting, The Sheepoll Show is the only game of its kind in the world. “It's not trivia,” Steffan says.
“It's a fun game show that polls everyone's opinions to test whether they're unique or different. As we like to say: 'You're battling the bizarre with buddies over beers'... it's not a competition and you don't leave feeling like you're stupid. It's all the fun conversations you have with your friends put into a game show.”
The Sheepoll Show takes place weekly at selected venues nationally. Visit sheepoll.com to locate where and when.