Recap of 2017 & The State of 2018

January 30, 2018

 I f Trivia Club were a story, then in many ways 2017 was the end of book one, the last year in which Trivia Club was so easily connected to how it all started. From the first week to the last, Trivia Club enjoyed unprecedented landmarks, spectacular starts, and amazing records. 2017 of course also saw the end of Our Original Home, with the last events at Cardinal Rule.

In 2017 we held 97 live events across four different locations and two special events, including 50 events at Cardinal Rule for the fourth straight year. We also held 29 events at our Home Away at Hitch (the most ever events there in a calendar year), the first 14 events on The Big Stage of The Rec Room, and 2 events at our New Home at Farside! We also held a special event at The Rec Room coinciding with the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead, and for something completely different began an annual Opera Trivia event with the Canadian Opera Company’s Opera Insight program! We also began the Pause + Play podcast, continued a limited run of our podcast The Panel, held two more annual championship celebrations, and presented our very own awards show for the second straight year.

 January  saw 2017 begin with Wookiee of the Year winning the year’s first Golden VHS at Hitch, with David Bowie’s Corporate Whores following things up with the first Golden VHS of the year at Cardinal Rule two days later. Later in the month, the Cunning Stunts would win their fiftieth Golden VHS, an impressive milestone to be sure but not their last milestone of the year. Girl Gon Git It would do one better then Tiny Tim's... during the 2016 Hitchens Cup, and with 217.5 points set a new All-Time High Score at Hitch! In January, Trivia Club would also partner with the Canadian Opera Company for the first time, with the first Opera Insights Opera Trivia night!

 February  was notable for a number of reasons, including our 200th event at the Original Home of Trivia Club, Cardinal Rule! It was the first of two Golden VHS victories on the month for the Cunning Stunts, against a whos who field of Trivia Club competition. Also winning twice on the month were The Good Folks from Laramie Cigarettes, who would begin quite the successful year for the mostly solo-manned team with repeat wins in February that would notch into a historical note in March. Karen from Finance would win their second Golden VHS at Cardinal Rule. Mark P. became the first person to repeat as the winner of Trivia Club’s Oscar Confidence Pool.

 March  began with The Good Folks from Laramie Cigarettes becoming just the third team to ever THREEPEAT, and the first team to do so at Hitch. Interestingly enough all teams to Threepeat had won at least one Golden VHS in February. The Cunning Stunts would go on to win another two Golden VHS tapes at Cardinal Rule, being matched in this month at least by the Unusual Suspects with one of those wins for the Suspects coming on the first Steamwhistle sponsored nights of cho-cho-choosing at Cardinal Rule. Last Place Team would also grab their first win since closing out 2016 at Cardinal Rule, win as Diet Last Place Team! The portable podcast version of Trivia Club’s live event, Pause + Play, appeared on CBC Radio One (99.1 FM in Toronto) as part of Podcast Playlist. By the end of 2017 we would record 50 episodes of the Pause + Play podcast, a project we are very proud of.

 April  would see the fifth annual Grand Championship Grand Prix take place, celebrating not only five years of Trivia Club, but also Trivia Club at Cardinal Rule. As part of the celebration we also made merchandise available for the first time, including stickers, pins, t-shirts, and those sweet sweet Trivia Club mugs. Back to the Grand Championship Grand Prix though because tt the time we could have never known that this would be the last Grand Championship for Cardinal Rule. It would be a fittingly competitive event for such an occasion. Tiny Tim’s… would make some of their last appearances of the year, as Petit Peiere’s… and finish in a strong third place, ahead of the M. Night Shaym-Aliens, Last Place Team, the Unusual Suspects, Wookiee of the Year, and David Bowie’s Corporate Whores. The four Cardinal Rule scores would be added up with a team’s highest Hitch score, awarding the accumulated highest scoring team with the newly redesigned Golden VCR! The Cunning Stunts would ride the wave of a strong start to the year to a 559 to 550 over the Electric Bastards, the closest in points that a Grand Championship Grand Prix had ever finished! For a team that had competed in all five years of the Grand Championship, it was a win that was a literal and figurative long time coming.

 May  saw calming seas as per usual, in the post-Grand Prix hangover, which also opened up for interesting returns and unexpected experiments. The Man with the Candy would begin the month with their first win at our Home Away of Hitch since our fourth event on he east-end, a full three years, six months, and four days between wins! Later in the month, at Hitch, Matt & Pat would return… but not as Golden VHS winners The Electric Bastards, instead as Golden VHS winners Like A Muffin Or A Beet! While all this was happening on the east-side of town, The M. Night Shaym-Aliens would win twice at Cardinal Rule, and would come oh so close to a threepeat, only for their streak to be broken up by The Unusual Suspects! Our fourth annual Saturday Night Live Fantasy League, coinciding with SNL’s 42nd season, would come to an end, with fifty participants over seven groups taking part. Matthew S. of The Electric Bastards, et al., and his team The Ignorant Sluts would win his THIRD Phil Hartman Trophy! Other winners included, Ireland’s Kevin K. and Night Crawlerz winning the third annual Gilded Radner in impressive fashion, Meg C. and the Lazy Sunfeys winning the Weekend Warrior Award, Megan M. and Go Gene Rayburn! winning the Special Guest Star, Justin L. and The Weekenders winning the Yvonne Hudsucker Proxy, V.E.E.P winner Mark P. continuing quite the impressive year with his team Dan Akroyd Rage, and Steve C. and El Nino winning the Golden Rocket Man!

 June ’s big story would be Last Place Team doing something that no team had done before, and that is win three consecutive times at Trivia Club with none of those wins coming at a February event! Last Place Team became the second team to THREEPEAT in 2017, but only the fourth all-time, and only the second at Our Original Home of Cardinal Rule! It would be an epic feat that included a win against Trivial Knowledge all three times, against the M. Night Shaym-Aliens two of those times as well (fun fact, the M. Night Shaym-Aliens are the only team to have competed against all four Threepeat teams during their respective streak), with the third consecutive win also coming against the last two Grand Champions, the Cunning Stunts, and David Bowie’s Corporate Whores.

 July  would see Trivial Knowledge win their second Golden VHS only 187 days after their first. We say only, simply because the first Golden VHS took 1 year, 6 months, and 24 days. Their second Golden VHS victory would take place on the 222nd edition of Trivia Club at Cardinal Rule, and to add to the symettary, one half of the team’s core duo has a birthday on February 22nd!

 August  began with Trivia Club launching a page on Patreon, which as the page also mentions, will sustain Trivia Club in the long term along with our Trivia Club live events. You can also think of it as a weekly passing of the pitcher, as Cardinal Rule is the location where we solicited donations on site, so Patreon helps keep Trivia Club a player supported event. By year’s end Patreon support came from Jarrad Robinson, Dylan Morgan, Matthew Smith, Kevin Morgan, Rob Moden, and Travis Fudge. Also in August, the Fighting Mongooses won a Golden VHS in their first two appearances at Hitch, our last bi-weekly events at our Home Away before the event became weekly just in time for our four annual event at the location. August would also seeing Cardinal Rule victories for the returning Treasure Butt, at Cardinal Rule, as well as Last Place Team winning their twelfth Golden VHS at Cardinal Rule, and the sixtieth Golden VHS win by the Cunning Stunts.

 September  was a HUGE month for Trivia Club, as we celebrated our fourth year of competition and participation at Hitch, while also launching a new #TuesdayTrivia event at The Rec Room! The Rec Room saw The Bastards return on Tuesday to our inaugural event at the massive Cineplex-supported barcade, and win the inaugural event in The Hall, taking one more The Dawg! Oh Shoot! would end our first month at The Rec Room becoming the first team new to Trivia Club to win a Golden VHS on The Big Stage, while also setting the location’s high score for 2017 in the process. Ticklish Boys (?) returned for their first time in more then a year to win at Cardinal Rule, while Trivial Knowledge won their third Golden VHS in record time. Not only would the Unusual Suspects win a Golden VHS in September, but the son of the father/son duo, would win our fourth annual Summer Movie Wager! Yes, unlike last year, the ghosts of the past would bust in favor of James C. floated by the success of Dunkirk. Also in Extra Curricular news, the Saturday Night Live Fantasy League returned, but this time with the smallest field since our first year of our comedy nerd take on Fantasy Sports! With everything happening with our live events, it was the best decision going forward. In the fourth annual Christopher Hitchens Cup at Hitch, The Good Folks from Laramie Cigarettes would take an early lead against their budding rivals in the Fighting Mongooses, before both teams were surprised by the eventual victors, taking their first annual championship by a single point… the M. Night Shaym-Aliens! A stunning victory for the house team of Trivia Club.

 October  began with the 100th edition of Trivia Club at Hitch, with Lt. Dance blocking the M. Night Shaym-Aliens chances at a threepeat, while also giving Estelle Getty Lee the last of the traditional Triple Crown victors! Another achievement in October at Hitch, would be Wookiee of the Year joining the Five Timers Club! The first two-time Golden VHS Champs at The Rec Room would be a former house team for Cardinal Rule, before Last Place Team took the mantle, Team Name! Winning one week later at The Rec Room would be The M. Night Shaym-Aliens, making them Golden VHS winners at five different locations. In support of the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead, Trivia Club would hold our first special event at The Rec Room! We would also hold our FIVE-HUNDRETH overall event of Trivia Club, which took place at Cardinal Rule, and see the Cunning Stunts continue an all-time year with the milestone win. The week after Trivial Knowledge would win their fourth Golden VHS, what would prove to be the tenth last Trivia Club at Cardinal Rule. Ending October on All Hallows Eve, we would hold a spooky edition of Trivia Club at Hitch that would see the scary good West Virginia Losers Club notch the new All-Time High Score at Hitch, with 234.5 points!

 November  1st would begin in the same scary good way that October ended, with a new All-Timer High Score for all of Trivia Club and for Cardinal Rule being set, when the Cunning Stunts scored 240 points. This would set the stage for a truly unexpected eleventh month, as Chillasaurus, an unheralded team of first-timers, would win their first Golden VHS by half a point over Last Place Team, only the fourth time such a thing had ever happened and the first time in more then three years. The first half of November would see wins from two of Hitch's more established teams, Wookiee of the Year and The Good Folks from Laramie Cigarettes, who won their tenth Golden VHS, while the second half of the month would see first-timer winners take the Golden VHS home! Team Name would win the Golden VHS at The Rec Room for the third month in a row, along with some Three Billboards swag! Before the 240th edition of Trivia Club, it was announce that Cardinal Rule would be closing and thus Trivia Club would be ending its run at its Original Home. The Electric Mayhem would return, from a reported Retirement Tour earlier in the year, and win the fifth last Trivia Club at Cardinal Rule. The Bastards would win the week after at Cardinal Rule, retaining most of the previous week’s Mayhem team. November would also see us make our long-awaited debut at Farside, our second new location of 2017! For the first time Trivia Club would take place on a Thurday, and at our inaugural event it would be Trevor Tyres who would win the Golden VHS to ring in our New Home!

 December  would truly be a month of mixed emotions. First off, the M. Night Shaym-Aliens would win The Shape of Water night at Hitch! But not only were we celebrating all that was, in the months before, and all that could be at our newest locations, but also all that we had experienced at Cardinal Rule for our final three events at our first home. The third last event at Cardinal Rule saw a untraditional Threepeat by the Electric Bastards broken up by a one point victory from nominal first-timers, the Dollywood Massacre! The next week at our penultimate event at Cardinal Rule, we would hold our second annual Trivial Awards! Celebrating 2017, Trivia Club would celebrate a number of participants, including more Hitch-centric teams for the first time! The Electric Mayhem would once again lose by just a single point, with the VHS going this time to David Bowie’s Corporate Whores! The Good Folks from Laramie Cigarettes would end 2017 in a most memorable way with a win at the second Trivia Club at Farside, and then just four days later they would close out the year at Hitch with the Gold! Leading into the last Cardinal Rule event, Last Place Team would participate at a deeply appreciated 49 events on the year, including 47 consecutive by the years end. The Last Rights & Wrongs at Cardinal Rule would be a night never to be forgotten, as the final event at Our Original Home would see the Electric Mayhem (or something like them) win their third Golden VHS of the last five events, with the two losses coming at a combined two points… closing out the true retirement party for Doctor Teeth’s band of misfits by raising their jersey to the rafters to the tune of a new All-Time High Score, more points then ANY team to participate in Trivia Club, 247 points! The Electric Mayhem 24-7. Cardinal Rule forever.

 The State of Trivia Club in 2018 

If you were there for Trivia Club in 2017, then that was all just a pleasant and/or bittersweet reminder of some of our highlights. Sorry if anything was missed. What does 2018 hold? Once again, like last year’s recap/statement of intentions, I’ll be switching from the “we” of Trivia Club, to the “I” of Russel, as much as possible, as I talk about what I’m excited about for this upcoming year of Trivia Club.

To begin, with this writing coming at the end of January in 2018, Trivia Club has already had a few notable events that will carry forward into the rest of the year, both schedule-wise and symbolic to my intentions for the year.

On January 13th Trivia Club partnered with the National Ballet of Canada, to bring Ballet Trivia to an event at Hemingway’s for the NBoC’s Turnout donors. Right away we jumped into a private event to begin 2017 and it was a big reminder that I want to do more one-off, or singular annual events this year.

On January 17th, a Wednesday, we held our last monthly event at Farside with the decision going forward that it will be a TWICE MONTHLY event, every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at the month. This will most often then not move it away from the some-teenth of the first three events unfortunately but it will also put Farside in the welcome position to bring a new warm and cool location to Wednesday. This makes me want to bring up two points. I wouldn’t have moved Farside to Wednesday, a night I suspect a lot of teams will forever associate with Trivia Club at Cardinal Rule, if I didn’t think the location was deserving of it. It is the kind of inviting, comforting, and cool place that I want to share with as many people as possible in a Trivia Club way.

Also, with Farside being twice monthly, this still leaves the rest of the month to a location in the west. Parkdale, Roncy, or The Junction, it hasn’t been decided… but it has been looked into. As someone who lives on the west side of Toronto, I know that is where I want Trivia Club to be.

As I noted last year, every year I like to choose a keyword, a single word mission statement, a mantra in the back of my head to push the year forward and remind me of what I’d like to accomplish. 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. In 2016 the keyword was “LOYALTY”, this was about working with the individuals that made Trivia Club a success and giving them more diverse places to play, from the Trivia Club Network for podcasts and the .CA as a more stable and easy to navigate home of live event recaps and Stats, among other things, not to mention a push to celebrate teams with what would become our first Trivial Awards.

The state of Trivia Club in 2017 was the first time I made that keyword, that mantra, public with a statement of “MOBILITY”. With that in mind, we found a new Tuesday night weekly event at The Rec Room in the late summer. We then introduced a second new location at Farside early in winter. And of course, another big step forward in mobility was producing a weekly Friday podcast called Pause + Play, a portable version of Trivia Club.

Which leads us to the state of Trivia Club in 2018:


This word was subtext in 2016 and 2017, and in 2018 I want to make it surtext. For Trivia Club to continue to grow, I want to bring together and work more with like-minded individuals on events and projects that continue to excite me. I want to also continue to partner Trivia Club with out of the norm and interesting spaces and places. On February 15th we will once again bring you Trivia at the Opera! which will be co-produced by the Canadian Opera Company and take place at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in their Education Space!

March will bring our first livecast and Oscar Viewing Party at The Rec Room on March 4th, but also a Red Carpet Trivia Club that Sunday, taking place during the Red Carpet portion of Oscar Night! Saving you from awkward E! banter, we’ll instead test your trivia knowledge and then see which Oscar predictions you are most confident in!

The Grand Championship Grand Prix will return in April, with the Finale and structure still not fully decided on, it will most certainly be for the Golden VCR for the sixth year! What will our first year away from Cardinal Rule bring us? We’ll have to see!

Our Summer Movie Wager will return in 2018, so be on the lookout for invitations in may, on the eve of the summer movie season! There may be one or two big movies coming out. I think? You tell me!

In the summer of 2018 we are proud to introduce Park + Play, a loosely connected series, which will take place in Toronto’s beautiful big parks. High Park, Christie Pits, and Trinity Bellwoods are all possibilities, with the schedule being subject to change due to weather on the day but also a Trivia Club event onto itself because of the wonders of the green space.

Then in September we will give out the FIFTH Christopher Hitchens Cup at Hitch, as the only drinkable trophy awarded through Trivia Club either annually or otherwise will be given to a team who at that time will be competing at not only second-longest running location (which it already is) but featuring our second most events (which it soon will be), as we celebrate our pride in our Hitch family over the past five years!

The Trivial Awards will also return for the third time, and like the Grand Championship Grand Prix, for the first time it will take place outside of Cardinal Rule! As like the Awards themselves, the location will be more clear the closer we get to the end of the year. With sparkling new locations in Farside and The Rec Room, and with Hitch still working through those new weekly event ins and outs, and of course with a west-end Toronto location TBD… it’ll happen, but in what capacity? I’m also excited to see!

We have less milestone numbers ahead in 2018, not like the 100, 200, and 500 that we celebrated last year. Still, look for the 10th edition of Trivia Club at Farside, the 25th edition of Trivia Club at Farisde and The Rec Room, and of course a potential 50th edition of Trivia at The Rec Room within the upcoming calendar year, if you enjoy your numbers round.

Another collaborative step moving forward will be our evolving relationship with The Rec Room! With fourteen events in 2017, and more every Tuesday in 2018, we’re beginning to plan even more special events with The Big Stage, things similar to The Walking Dead premiere party, and like our Oscar viewing party and trivia night, but also bigger and wider reaching live events, the details of which I am very excited to get into when I’m able to… later this year, or early in 2019! Wow, already thinking of next year. How did we get here?

Of course, don’t think I forgot about you, dear reader. Players, Trivia Club participants! You are the creators that I am most excited about collaborating with. Trivia Club, our .CA that is, is built for more then just my posts! Want to run a Fantasy League of your own, but you don’t have a place to put it? How about just an Extra Curricular game? Maybe just an op-ed? Or running the Trivia Club Book Club, or collaborating with me on music, or I like to put it... Thinking Music? If design is more your speed, I want to have more eyes on the merchandise world Trivia Club. Whether it be pushing more which of my designs look the best or introducing something new of their own.

Our Trivia Club Network also has no limit to the number of podcasts it can be home to. From one-off episodes to on-going series of indiscriminate regularity. You notice my podcast posting history outside Pause + Play? I ain’t going to judge. I just want to point and click to present to the world. In 2018, I plan to produce at least one additional podcast that allows me to work with and talk to exciting teams of people and individual creative minds that inspire me. Maybe it’ll be called “Team Building Exercise” or “A Host of Questions” or something else. Either you heard it here first or I’ve since thought of something more clever. So, if I’m convincing you to join me with on any of these adventures, you know exactly where to find me. The Trivia Clubhouse will always have room to grow.

That’s what we know about 2017… and that’s what we’ll learn along the way in 2018!

- Russel Harder

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