kristian harloff

Kristian Harloff Details The Pro-Wrestling Approach And Spectacle Of ‘Movie Trivia Schmoedown’

Kristian Harloff is ready to Schmoedown.

Kristian Harloff recently spoke with WrestleZone ahead of Movie Trivia Schmoedown’s “Schmoedown Spectacular VI” on December 4. Movie Trivia Schmoedown is the weekly pro-wrestling-meets-sports-style trivia competition series that pits contestants against each other in a battle to see who knows the most movie trivia. Harloff created the “Schmoedown” show in 2014, but its origins date back a few years before that. He explained what inspired the format of the series and explained why it would appeal to the pro-wrestling and pop culture fan.

“Back in 2008, myself and fellow comedian named Mark Ellis started a YouTube channel called Schmoes Know, where we took the average, everyday Joe and reviewed movies and people may say that everybody does that now,” he pointed out, “but nobody did it in 2008. We were one of the first people to do that and built a little following around it and we had a two-hour podcast that we were doing in 2014 and it was live. We decided that since we were both sports fans, let’s do something where the last segment of the show would be like a ‘Sweet 16’ of the trivia players at the bar crew that we played with and we had Katie Sackhoff of The Mandalorian and some other people and we played and it was fun and we found that fans loved it.

“We played the following year but with teams, we have Rotten Tomatoes involved and IGN and then in 2016 it all really changed and we made it weekly. We wanted to do not only a UFC-meets-Jeopardy type of thing but then I wrote for the WWE, very short and a long-time ago, and I’ve been a wrestling fan my entire life and I thought what if we took the really theatrical parts of sports entertainment and put that together and did the big entrances of heels and faces and had championships and all that,” Harloff said. “So, we did it and it was a hybrid of all of those three things that I said, Jeopardy-meets-UFC-meets-WWE. It’s intense, it’s a professional league of movie trivia and how’re you going to make that a sport? Well, how did video games become e-sports? How did darts become a phenomenon? How did wrestling become wrestling? Just treat it seriously and get the fan-base involved enough and people will take it seriously and the competitors certainly do that.”

Harloff spoke about the booking process of the show, noting how easy it is to jump in and join in on the fun. 

“It’s absolutely crucial that people can just jump into it. The overall thing is that they want to stay because if you get in and watch trivia and go ‘oh, Star Wars trivia? I’m pretty good at that,’ so, they stick around. You want them to stick around because they say ‘I saw that guy’ or ‘I saw that girl play,’ and they want to know if they’re going to play again because they like their personality or their entrance or they got hooked into their storyline. They didn’t come here for that storyline, they came here for the Star Wars trivia,” he noted, “but now they bought into the storyline.

“It’s a mixture of all of it, there’s people who know how to cut a promo, there are people who understand the theatrical side of it, there’s people who don’t understand that side of it but still take things personally. We still have to figure that portion of it out,” Harloff explained, “but there’s a lot of different ways if somebody is fantastic at trivia, like really good at it and eventually can get it that place where the fans can love them and they can be electric.”

Harloff then shared how a former contestant was initially reluctant to get involved, and how she ultimately opened up and became one of the Schmoedown’s most popular players. In addition, Harloff also talked about how Chris Jericho got involved and shared how he’s found some celebrities and players that hope they get picked for the show.

“A great example of that is we had a fan that came to a bunch of live events that we did, her name was Marisol McKee and she was in the crowd when we did our sold-out event in Orlando and she was with her boyfriend at the time, who was at the Q&A section and said ‘she can play and still be good,’ and she kept telling him to shut up and to sit down but then she came to the party afterward and we’re talking and she’s like ‘how do I get involved?’ She wanted to get involved but was really shy and well, play with the family and see how you do…fast forward to today, she’s the first-female singles champion that we ever had, she’s the first African-American champion that we’ve ever had and she’s electric now on the microphone, she has just been embraced by the fans.

“On the flip-side of that, Chris Jericho, the way he got involved, I hosted a show called Choir Live and he was on it and I wasn’t going to ask him about Schmoedown because I was asking too many people about it and didn’t want to bother him about it. After the interview, he said he was just waiting for his Schmoedown invite and I was like ‘anytime you want, man, let’s do it!’ So, he went against Kevin Smith and obviously that worked out and it brought new people in. So, you just got to find a mixture of some people get the promos right away, some people understand the storylines right away and then there’s other people who we got to kind of guide through it.”

Movie Trivia Schmoedown’s “Schmoedown Spectacular VI” takes place on December 4 at the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles. Visit the Schmoedown website for more information on the event, including how to get live tickets or pay-per-view passes, and check out our full interview at the top of this post.