Grab your best velour smoking jacket and your bougiest chainsaw hand – the king is coming to town, baby.
Horror/comedy actor and filmmaker Bruce Campbell is hitting the road and bringing his live trivia game show to various cities, with Richmond being his next stop this Tuesday at The National. “Bruce-O-Rama” is a live trivia game show for the entire audience to participate in from their seats, focusing on horror, science fiction, and various other pop culture knowledge. Hosted by Campbell in an array of various fancy jackets bought just for the occasion, “Bruce-O-Rama” has been hosted and performed by Campbell for ten years, originally gaining popularity while he toured the convention circuit.
“It’s all geek trivia,” said Campbell. “Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy, Gaming, just pop culture stuff. That’s the first hour, and everybody plays. You come in, and you vote on your phone. The first 20 questions are for the audience, and the first 4 who are the best and most accurate, they come up, and we weed them down in elimination rounds until we have the last man standing.”
Campbell is pretty proud of the swag as well this go around. Inspired by Evil Dead Rise (which he is a producer and plays a part… somewhere in the film) opening on April 21st, gifts include a big replica style Evil Dead book, a bloody bath mat (naturally), a blood bath bomb, Mom’s Leg-guini Cheese Grater (inspired by a particularly gnarly scene in the film), among other prizes.
Once the last fan standing has been announced, a short break will be announced. When guests return, Campbell will do an extended intro to one of the “Golden Moldys” – The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, or Army of Darkness depending on the venue. Finally, an extended Q&A to ask the King of S-Mart all of your biggest questions, and then he “hits the bus to the next city” as Campbell said.
The idea for “Bruce-O-Rama” came about when he was invited to host a game show called “Quest for the Best,” a military tribute at the Sam Houston base in San Antonio for about 600 soldiers.
“The way the game was structured, the way you could come from behind and take over and get on a good run,” said Campbell. “These guys were standing up shouting in their seats rooting for people. I turned to Steve [Sellery] and said, ‘Y’know, all you need to do is change the questions, and you could bring this into my world, into the convention worlds.’ So we kind of did that, and we would do that trivia game at other bases, and we took it to conventions, which is the perfect spot for a geek trivia game.”
He laughs that it is a show that “Just Won’t Die” because he gets so many requests to keep it going. Aside from the convention circuit, Campbell has been able to take it to The Troubadour in West Hollywood and The Hard Rock on the Vegas Strip.
“It’s certainly not a name brand game, but we don’t care, that’s not the point,” laughed Campbell. “It’s for an evening of fun where you get to brag to your friends if you get to take home this enormous Evil Dead book.”
This is hardly his first solo tour, either having originally done his “An Evening with Bruce Campbell” tour before on the road as well. This tour combines the concepts of both with the game show and the show for the first time, with the show for this stop specifically being Evil Dead.
The “Bruce-O-Rama” tour hits Richmond a week ahead of the release of the newest installment of the Evil Dead franchise, Evil Dead Rise, which is the fifth installment in the overall series. So far, the newest entry is doing really well with reviews and critics, but special showings have presented overwhelming responses as well.
“We screened it at South by Southwest, and it was just one of the great reactions we’ve had,” said Campbell. “The audience was waiting for that one big gory moment, and when they finally got it, it was great to watch their reaction because it was two reactions. The first one was ‘OHHH!’ And the second one was ‘YEAH!’ They realized they were about to get the good stuff.”
While our beloved Ashley Joanna Williams is nowhere to be seen on the cast list for this entry (and showed up as a very shadowy profile to utter his most-known catchphrase in an end credits scene in 2013’s Evil Dead), I had to ask the annoying question. Is Bruce in there?
“I’m there, but not as Ash,” said Campbell. “Listen for my voice. It might take a watch or two, but listen for my voice.”
One of the many reasons why I and so many other folks love Bruce Campbell so much is for his sense of humor and for his full embrace of camp. One of the many photos he has shared on Twitter has been the set of jackets bought just for this tour, all perfect for the role of a geeky game show host. Turns out he’s just as excited about these as I am.
“Me and my partner Steve Sellery wear ridiculous old man outfits,” laughed Campbell. “Lawerence Welk is my hero. You can’t get dumber outfits, it’s not possible. We found a store here in Greenville, and the angels just started singing. I saw so many of these beautiful jackets and was like ‘yes, yes, yes’.”
However, when he asked if there was a favorite, there was a resounding no.
“I’m still buying them,” added Campbell. “There’s no favorite if you’re still acquiring them. I just got six new jackets, I mean I’m in heaven. I can’t wait for the tour just to wear the jackets. To hell with the fans, it’s all about the jackets!”
“BRUCE-O-RAMA” starring Bruce Campbell is coming to The National on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the event to begin at 8 p.m. Visit thenationalva.com for more information about the event, including ticket availability.