The name's your first clue. The second, the pre-trivia warm-up music: an awesomely cheesy mix of ‘80s, fist-pumping anthems like Joe Espisito's "You're the Best" (from which classic movie¹) and that one from the original cartoon Transformers movie that goes "You got the touch! You got the power!" (sung by which guy²).
Then your host, Kipper Schauer, leaps to the stage. Clad in worn-out jeans, tattoos and an awful, awful T-shirt with wolves on it, he takes a pull off his scotch and soda and grabs the mic.
"Welcome to the best goddamn trivia night ever!" he yells at the crowd. "Make some f—king noise, let's do this shit!"
Yep, this ain't your typical pub Quizzo, son.
"I'm trying to have the rowdiest trivia night in Asheville," Schauer tells Xpress with a grin. "Trivia shouldn't be a tame event. If you go to a trivia night at any other bar here, it's very quiet. But trivia is where my friends and I excel. We can't throw a football, but when it comes to trivia, we're on top of that shit. So we treat it like a full-contact sport."
And he's not kidding. As anyone who's been to one of his raucous, booze-fueled, Monday night nerdfests can attest, Kipper's Totally Rad Trivia Night isn't for lightweights looking for a quiet evening of Jeopardy.
At Schauer's nights, teams compete for real cash, usually well over $100. Profanity is prevalent. Heckling other teams is expected. And being heckled by Schauer himself? Hell, that's all just part of the fun. (On the night Xpress went, Schauer even cussed out his dad. His own dad.)
But it's Schauer's 100-percent-original, self-written questions that are the real draw: a smorgasbord of sentimental pop culture trivia from the ‘80s untill now, touching on everything from movies and music and beer to viral videos and video games and celebrity gossip.
Don't expect questions about state capitals or 16th-century European monarchs. Oh hells no. KTRTN is for those people who couldn't care less who fought the Falkland War³, but can tell you what movie Falkor the Luckdragon starred in⁴. It's for the people who can't remember what year the Arc de Triomphe was commissioned⁵, but know what year Archers of Loaf released their first album⁶. It's for those of us who can't name the capital of Belarus⁷, but can give you the first and last name of the principal in Saved By The Bell⁸.
"I'm completely aware that my trivia night is not for everyone," Schauer, who bartends at Chai Pani during the day, says. "There's a certain type of person that really enjoys what we do. And when they find us, they get hooked."
Alongside the oddball assortment of questions about David Hasselhoff's music career or the average life expectancy of an enemy soldier in a Chuck Norris film⁹, Schauer constantly ups the creativity with audio rounds, like Kipper's Mom Describes Movies, and visual rounds like Guess That Animal Dong (yes, it's exactly as it sounds). There's even the occasional tasting round, where teams have to discern 10 different flavors of Pringles or, even worse, 10 different types of baby food.
"That was messed up," Schauer says, laughing. "Freakin' veal. Who the hell feeds their child pureed veal?"
Not surprisingly, a shtick this good has been years in the making. While he's only been hosting KTRTN at Broadways's since May, Schauer — who was born in Durham — first created his unique brand of pub trivia five years ago while living in California.
"It started at the grungiest, dirtiest bar in San Diego, and it became this rough and tumble trivia night, with lots of chair throwing and yelling." He laughs. "I used to punch holes in the ceiling to emphasize points."
After a chance stop in Asheville while on tour with his band (and a little guilt-tripping from his parents, who live in the WNC area), Schauer and his girlfriend relocated here about a year and half ago. He quickly found a new home for KTRTN at the now-defunct New French Bar. Within a few months, his trivia night had become so popular, he moved it over to Fred's Speakeasy (now Fred's Parkside Pub and Grill). But even that couldn't contain it.
"I like having our trivia night in the proper setting," Schauer says. "The darker and drunker it is, the better. So when Broadway's approached me, I was like, 'Oh, let's do this.'"
Still, even in its new, 80-person-capacity space, KTRTN is hardly the biggest game in town. Nor, as our latest Best of WNC issue pointed out, is it the most popular. That honor goes to Schauer's friendly rival over at Jack of the Wood.
"I don't think we can compete with the other trivia nights as far as the numbers that they're doing," he says with a shrug. "We have a very select clientele, and I'm thrilled by that."
And, he admits, he kind of likes being the underdog.
“What the f—k would we yell [at the end of each trivia night] if we were number one? 'F—k Kipper's Trivia Night?'"
¹ The Karate Kid
² Stan Bush
³ Argentina, UK
⁴ The NeverEnding Story
⁸ Richard Belding
⁹ 4 Seconds
— Miles Britton is an Asheville-based freelance writer.
what: Kipper’s Totally Rad Trivia Night
when: Every Monday night (9pm. $2. kipperstrivia.com)