Groovy Bruce! Perhaps known most famously for his role in the Evil Dead series, Campbell performed for a packed ballroom at Salt Lake Comic Con 2014. Instead of a typical panel with a moderator and questions for the audience, Campbell hosted a variety show of sorts. He asked for volunteers from the audience who felt that they had special, demonstrable talents and he would bring them on stage to show us their skills and be interviewed by Campbell himself.
In typical Bruce Campbell fashion, he was hilarious and has the ability to make fun of his audience without seeming truly condescending. Because of the typical Utah Mormon stereotype, Campbell cleaned up his act to the extreme, using phrases like “well, golly gee” and “let’s go get a sarsparilla.” His mockery was constant, but never came across as mean.
The homegrown “talent” that he brought up on stage included a tap dancer and singer, a former Marine, and a trio of people who claimed to be double-jointed. Their “skills” ranged from embarassing to awesomely disgusting (as was the case with the man with the double-jointed shoulders). But Campbell made each of them entertaining. He would bring the contestants onto the stage and interview them like a late night talk show host. Even the most mundane volunteer turned into a great segment because Campbell is so funny and able to tease them in a way that wasn’t demeaning. It was all in good fun, and they had they opportunity to have a truly unique experience with one of their favorite actors.
At the end of his panel, Campbell brought his last “panelist” up on to the stage and told us that she had a very special talent. He then said something or other about how great she was and then brought up Salt Lake Comic Con staffer Jarrod Phillips, who happens to be dating the woman, and we all got to watch as Bruce Campbell helped this man propose to his girlfriend. It was a fun moment and an amazing memory for the two of them.
Bruce Campbell was a great panelist and I would whole-heartedly endorse bringing him back. I loved that his panel wasn’t just about him and his career, and he wasn’t there to promote anything in particular. He was there to entertain and completely succeeded.