Recap of 2016 & The State of 2017

January 14, 2017

courtesy of Mixtape Photos
 T his past year was certainly a memorable one for our Trivia Club, with records set, Golden VHS tapes won, and not one but three annual events being held for the second, third, and fourth times respectively. We also said goodbye to one of our venues after an excellent run, with some spectacular participants, and held our very own awards show for the first time!

In 2016 we held 125 live events, one short of the 126 from 2015, though still more then we had in the years prior or that we'll have in 2017. This included 50 trivia nights at the Original Home of Trivia Club, Cardinal Rule, 49 events up to and including the Last Question at Lou Dawgs, and 25 events at our east-end location of Hitch.

January began with The |||||| Redacted returning and winning two out of the years first three events at Cardinal Rule, and at Cardinal Rule we also saw the Last Place Team debut at the first event of the 2016, with the Alex Tre-Bests (later named the Returning Champions) debuting a week later. It would take a few months for either team to win their first Golden VHS but Last Place Team would not only win their first Golden VHS by the end of July, they would also go on to join the Five Timers Club by the end of the year. Speaking of the Five Timers Club, Tiny Tim’s… would join the group at the end of January’s second event at Hitch, while The Bastards the Cunning Stunts would literally trade wins at Lou Dawgs, with The Bastards winning their 25th Golden VHS to begin the year at our beer league.

February was most notable for Electric Mayhem’s record setting night at Cardinal Rule on February 17th, which saw them halt David Bowie’s Corporate Whores’ threepeat while beginning their own threepeat, to the tune of 235 points, the current All-Time High Score of Trivia Club (post-Chips Era) in a year of High Scoring events! Yes, The Electric Mayhem became only the second team to threepeat, and the first to do so at Cardinal Rule! Mark P. would win our first Extra Curricular award of the season, walking away atop the Oscar Confidence Pool! February would come to a close with our first and last (yep, I’m calling it) Leap Day Trivia Club, which gave opponents an opportunity to leap ahead of the opposition at the last second and Tiny Tim’s… won the night uncontested!

March saw us celebrate our second anniversary at Lou Dawgs, what would be the final Top Dawg Tournament for the Top Dawg Trophy! North South Saint West, a continuing spin-off of the Queen’s Beaver, took the early lead in the first week but were surpassed by The Bastards in the second week, of the three week mid-month competition. Finally The Bastards would go back-to-back and leave no doubt in a Top Dawg Trophy of their own, finally winning the annual award, as well they should have, as Lou Dawgs originals!

April brought an even bigger annual event, this time expanding on our Grand Championship Grand Prix as we celebrated four years of Trivia Club, and Trivia Club at Cardinal Rule, with a brand new winner of the Golden VCR! Ultimately it became a battle between David Bowie’s Corporate Whores, a team that had debuted a year before in 2015 at around the same time as Tiny Tim’s… but hadn’t put themselves on the map until the battle with the Electric Mayhem in February, and the Cunning Stunts. The Stunts of course being the winningest team in the history of our live events, with really the only thing eluding them being that Golden VCR! With both teams scoring more points then any other in past Grand Championships, the Golden VCR would come down to the difference between “the” and “a”… with the decision falling in favor of David Bowie’s Corporate Whores, who escaped April as Grand Champions, by the skin of their teeth, after beginning the month on an unprecedented run!

May brought an end to our third season of Saturday Night Live Fantasy League, for the first time not awarding Matthew Smith and his team the Ignorant Sluts the Phil Hartman Trophy, but instead seeing the Phil Hartman Trophy won by Megan McKay and her team of War Horse Can Dance! Saturday Night Live Fantasy League, Trivia Club’s biggest Extra Curricular game became even bigger in 2015/2016 with an already substantial involvement of 20 participants from the season before growing to 40 participants in 6 separate groups, each with their own award! At our live events, we would hold our 100th event at Lou Dawgs, which would be won by the team of We H8 Brittany ft. PETE! with a total of 5 points to their name! Treasure Butt would return to win their first Golden VHS at Lou Dawgs, while Lt. Dance would win their tenth Golden VHS at their original home of Lou Dawgs!

The summer months would not only see multiple first time winners, many who were then seen during the In Memoriam segment during the Trivial Awards, while also giving the Electric Mayhem their first Golden VHS victory since the beginning of March. Last Place Team won twice, between June and August, at Cardinal Rule. 5 Fast 5 Furious won twice at Hitch, across those same three months. At Lou Dawgs, The Bastards and the Big Floppy Disks won twice, while PETE! and Lt. Dance each won three Golden VHS, and between both Lou Dawgs and Cardinal Rule, the Cunning Stunts won four Golden VHS Championships.

September saw an impressively high scoring, third annual Christopher Hitchens Cup at our Home Away of Hitch, with Tiny Tim’s… posting a new High Score at Hitch, the second-highest score All-Time in Trivia Club of 214 points! Tiny Tim’s… became the third team to win the Hitchens Cup, surpassing the Trusty Rumpets and further proving in 2015 that the Trivia Club world had expanded and brought in great new teams as a result. In September, at the beginning of the Hitchens Cup, we also celebrated our 400th Trivia Club live event overall! Our Summer Movie Wager wrapped up after Labor Day, and with Ghostbusters doing just slightly better then James C. of the Unusual Suspects bargained for, it was Trivia Club newcomer Stephane de S. who became the fourth winner of the Extra Curricular events, by just over half a million dollars!

We of course held excellent nights of trivia throughout the rest of the autumn months, and beginning of winter but as 2016 came to an end, there were two events that stood for their significance. The first was our first annual Trivial Awards! In a year were-in we walked to prize loyalty, this was an event that could be both a night of trivia and a truly trivial awards show (in the best sense of the word) adding a little bit of style and shine to our regular proceedings. Adding a red carpet (or two), giving participants a chance to dress fancy (with some bow-ties even!), while also allowing us to let the people who participate in Trivia Club know just how much we appreciate them. How much being: very much indeed.

Then just six days after the Trivial Awards at Cardinal Rule, it was the Last Question at Lou Dawgs. We have had to say good-bye for one reason or another to three locations prior to our final trivia event at Lou Dawgs, but none of those other locations had come close to Lou Dawgs, in adding to the history of Trivia Club, or the quality of the friendships established their in. After 130 events it was tough to say good-bye, but it was also time. Time for new opportunities in 2017, for something different, but not before one Last Question.

The State of Trivia Club in 2017

Now that 2016 was been sufficiently recapped, let’s look ahead to 2017. In this State of Trivia Club address for 2017, for lack of a better thing to call it, I’m going to switch from the “we” of Trivia Club to the “I” of Russel, as much as possible. This is what I’m excited about, what I’m hopeful for, anyway.

Every year, a keyword is chosen, a mantra in the back of my head to push the year forward. In Trivia Club’s first year it was “CREATION”, which was simply enough making Trivia Club, and continuing it. In our second year, the keyword was “EXPANSION”, which was successful in that we did indeed expand (to four locations, at one time during that year) but... some kinks needed to be worked out, that's why our third year was about “STABILITY”. Things crystallized into what you might have become familiar with, a bi-weekly Monday event, along with weekly events on Tuesday (for the most part) and Wednesday.

That's why last year I wanted to make the keyword: ”LOYALTY”. In 2016 I can say that it was a success, with an effort into collaborating with the individuals that help make Trivia Club the live event that it is (in such things as podcasts), not to mention celebrating those same individuals (the Trivial Awards, and more), in ways that will carry forward into the years to come.

13 episodes of Deep Thoughts on SNL were released in 2016 a co-production of Rob Moden and Brian Edwards, for the most part. Pete and I were able to produce 5 episode of Vaulting the Shark before deciding the discontinue the concept for the remainder of 2016. Though a podcast that did start, creating 8 episodes before the end of 2016, was The Panel, Trivia Club’s comic book podcast co-produced by Colm, Anthony, Gabe, and myself. In total Trivia Club produced 26 podcasts in 2016.

In 2016, Trivia Club’s website was fully launched, and with it came a rebranding for Trivia Club. Their were 94 posts on the website, a mixture of Monthly Scoreboards, Extra Curricular games, and SNL Fantasy League episode breakdowns. Between seasons 41 and 42 of SNL, I was able to post 21 episode breakdowns plus, while also updating and establishing the fourth season of the Fantasy League for Saturday Night Live’s 42nd season. A large reason for the boost in website posts was also our movement of the live event recaps to the .CA, ultimately giving them a better home then the Facebook album description, while also giving me more room to play.

So, what is the state of Trivia Club in 2017?

The keyword is “MOBILITY”. Speaking of room to play. Finishing our run at Lou Dawgs on Tuesday not only opened Tuesday night to an all new location for Trivia Club, potentially in the summer, it also opens up the night to all new locations. Plural.

Starting in our first week of live events of 2017 we launched the Pause + Play podcast! It will quite literally be the mobile version of our live events. Mobility doesn't just stop with podcasts however as we'll be teaming up with organizations out of the norm for Trivia Club as we look to bring our live event to pop-ups and special one-off events, starting with Trivia Club at the Opera! co-produced by the Canadian Opera Company on January 26th! This will not only bring the intimate live event you've enjoyed for so long so, to more places in the city, but also more people!

In February we’ll be celebrating our 200th event at Cardinal Rule. In five years at our Original Home, it’s almost unimaginable that we would ever reach 100 events, but with that far enough in our rear view we have quickly come up on the double century mark on February the 15th, of 2017!

At Cardinal Rule, in April, in time to celebrate FIVE YEARS at Cardinal Rule will be another intense Grand Championship competition, to once again award the Golden VCR! Every year has proven to be a different format for the most vaunted of Trivia Club prizes, and this year will be no different!

Then in September we will give out our fourth Christopher Hitchens Cup at Hitch! As the only drinkable trophy that is awarded through Trivia Club either annually or otherwise, this is another reason for celebration and not only because of just how proud we are of the home we’ve found with Hitch over the past four years! We’ll have ANOTHER big even at our Home Away, as we celebrate our 100th event, if not during the Hitchens Cup in September then soon after in October!

And of course, the Trivial Awards will return at the end of 2017! Which will also be around the time that we celebrated our 500th Trivia Club live event ever! I’m excited for this year ahead, though short on trivia for Tuesday nights for the first time in three years, I’ll have no shortage of work to do and fun to have with all those who take part in Trivia Club, its live events, its extra curriculars, and its podcasts. If you listen to the Pause + Play podcast, play the Pause + Play podcast, all feedback is appreciated.

In thinking of and working with a keyword, a through-line that I’ve done both well with and poorly with at time, is the idea of collaboration. It’s something I always want to make a constant, especially with Trivia Club. If you want to work on something together, I’m all ears and likely all in, time willing. The website is built for more then just my posts. The Trivia Club Podcast Network has no limit to the number of podcasts it can be home to. Collaboration is key to the Club part of the name, so I look forward to hearing from you.

That was 2016, here is to 2017!

- Russel Harder 

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