Bruce Campbell Bruce Campbell thinks "it's about dog-gone time" that horror is mainstreaming━and so do his fans.
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Bruce Campbell

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Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Our VIP has been fighting evil for over 30 years, and us fans will not let him rest. You know him and love him as Ash Williams from the "Evil Dead" movies, and now the story continues with a new Starz television series, "Ash Vs. Evil Dead." Please welcome Bruce Campbell.

(APPLAUSE)

BRUCE CAMPBELL: Thank you, good evening. Thank you. Thank you very much.

EISENBERG: We are so psyched for this new show. What do you think about the fact that horror is so mainstream that the show is not going to be on after midnight, it is going to be on after dinner?

CAMPBELL: I think it's about doggone time.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Now was it a pointed decision to go for a television series as opposed to doing another movie sequel?

CAMPBELL: Yes, the economics are - well, movies are like a one-shot deal.

EISENBERG: Right.

CAMPBELL: You roll the dice, ha-cha-cha (ph), and you see what happens. And Mr. Sam Raimi makes movies that are several hundred million dollars now. We didn't think another "Evil Dead" movie needed to be as expensive as "Oz The Great And Powerful."

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPBELL: Call me old-fashioned. The original movie, you know, was financed with grass-cutting money basically, so, you know, different story now. Television is just different. You can hopefully get an audience to find you before they cancel you. With a movie, you don't get that chance. If you don't do the Burger King tie-in, they're not going to find you. And if you spend $200 million on an "Evil Dead" movie, that's a bad idea.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPBELL: It just is. I'm not trying to get myself out of a job. I've only started one studio movie, "Army Of Darkness." The movie...

(APPLAUSE)

CAMPBELL: Yeah, yeah, where were you in 1991?

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPBELL: That movie sank like a stone and killed the series. Now there's been 17 reissues of "Army Of Darkness."

EISENBERG: Oh, my goodness.

CAMPBELL: So...

EISENBERG: And the fans sort of demanded more.

CAMPBELL: They demanded it. They were very rude over many, many years.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPBELL: Sam Raimi was just saying the other day - he goes, I made these "Spiderman" movies. They grossed over several billion dollars. And people go, oh, that's nice. When's the next "Evil Dead" movie? They want Ash and they want Sam Raimi.

(APPLAUSE)

CAMPBELL: So we got tired of fighting city hall. We're going to give them exactly what they want. I'm too old to do it worth a damn now, but, you know, what the hell? I'll give it a shot. My stunt guy's awesome.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPBELL: Yeah.

EISENBERG: So you and Sam Raimi actually - you are both from Royal Oak, Mich.

CAMPBELL: We were born in Royal Oak at the William Beaumont Hospital. Why are you clapping? It was called Royal Joke when I was born there.

EISENBERG: Oh, my God.

CAMPBELL: That's where you got flattop haircuts. Now you can't park there. It's too expensive.

EISENBERG: Now, you guys met in junior high but didn't become friends until high school.

CAMPBELL: I saw him in junior high school.

EISENBERG: OK.

CAMPBELL: I witnessed him dressed as Sherlock Holmes playing with dolls. He claims later that he was making a movie. There was not a camera in sight. And I remember I walked way around him. I'm like, got to watch out for that guy. And then I was his assistant at bar mitzvahs.

EISENBERG: Yes.

CAMPBELL: He was a magician at bar mitzvahs. And I was his assistant, Hung Lo (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPBELL: It's not my name. I didn't make it up. And so Sam...

EISENBERG: This was high school?

CAMPBELL: No, this was last week.

EISENBERG: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPBELL: Yeah, this was high school-ish (ph). Yeah, it was high school. And the one thing happened one time that changed his life and mine forever in a very bad way - he injured me during the routine. I said something, and he goes, no, you fool. And he hit me. And the audience burst into, like, applause - spontaneous applause. And a little light bulb went over his head. He's like, if I just punish Bruce Campbell for 30 more years, this is going to be great.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: What was it like for you, personally, to revisit this character 20 years later?

CAMPBELL: Personally, much more painful.

EISENBERG: Really?

CAMPBELL: Yeah, the recovery time is sort of nonexistent. Go to reach for your socks in the morning, you go what was that all about?

EISENBERG: If the fans demanded more and more of this series...

CAMPBELL: I would be healthier and healthier and healthier.

(APPLAUSE)

CAMPBELL: So...

EISENBERG: I don't want to hear any spoilers about the show at all, but I am told...

CAMPBELL: There is blood.

EISENBERG: There's a little bit of blood?

CAMPBELL: Sorry, sorry, sorry folks to - oh, my word. I've choked. This season, I choke and had to hold up my finger and then disgorge a mouthful of blood. I was killing a zombie above me and gravity will do what it does and it just - and I'm supposed to be grimacing, right? You can't kill someone, like, with your mouth closed. You have to - it's open and I'm killing this demon and my mouth is open and it's - the spigot is right above me. So there you go, and it tastes just as crappy as it did in 1979.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I cannot wait to watch this. I cannot wait to watch this.

(APPLAUSE)

CAMPBELL: Yeah, yeah, it's - it's just a little over the top. Just a little bit.

EISENBERG: Just a tiny bit.

CAMPBELL: Yeah.

EISENBERG: OK, so we are going to subject you and your friend and co-star Lucy Lawless to an ASK ME ANOTHER challenge later in the show. But right now we are thrilled that you actually accepted the challenge of helping us out by leading a game with us.

CAMPBELL: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, you need me for this.

EISENBERG: All right.

CAMPBELL: Yeah.

EISENBERG: Bruce Campbell will be playing the part...

CAMPBELL: Of Wink Martindale.

EISENBERG: ...Of Wink Martindale. Let's welcome our next two contestants, Mark Oppenheimer and Edgar Diaz.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Do you guys feel lucky? You should feel lucky.

MARK OPPENHEIMER: So lucky.

EISENBERG: Good. Now, Mark is a religion reporter for The New York Times. Edgar is the admin associate for the United Methodist Church of the Village in Manhattan. So here is a uplifting question for you. What would you put on your tombstone, Mark?

OPPENHEIMER: All his children were vaccinated.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: That's pretty good - Edgar?

EDGAR DIAZ: I think this says a lot about me and where I went with that question.

EISENBERG: Sure.

DIAZ: On my tombstone, what do I want on my tombstone? My standard pizza order 'cause that was, like, a pizza slogan in the '90s. Being from Chicago, I always did, like, deep dish, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, and it also probably says a lot about how I'll go, yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's good. Those are excellent, excellent answers. So being dead sucks, even if you don't turn into a flesh-eating zombie, but you do have one final chance to make a lasting impression on your tombstone. So in this game, we are going to give you the epitaphs written on gravestones of some famous people, and you just have to tell us who that person is. For an example, let's go to our puzzle guru, John Chaneski.

JOHN CHANESKI: If you look at the tombstone of Baltimore-based writer and poet, you can see the words, quoth the raven, nevermore. That's on the tombstone of Edgar Allan Poe, obviously.

EISENBERG: OK, yeah.

CAMPBELL: I thought that was a question. I'm like, this is easy.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: So ring in when you know the answer, and, of course, the winner will move on to our final round at the end of the show. I will give you the first one. The last song he sang in public, "The Best Is Yet To Come," is the epitaph on what member of the Rat Pack?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Mark.

OPPENHEIMER: Dean Martin.

EISENBERG: I'm sorry, that is incorrect. Edgar, can you steal?

DIAZ: Frank Sinatra.

EISENBERG: That is correct. Frank Sinatra.

CAMPBELL: I guess this is me now?

EISENBERG: This is you.

CAMPBELL: This female founding member of the Algonquin Roundtable suggested as her epitaph, excuse my dust.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CAMPBELL: Yes.

EISENBERG: Mark, yes.

CAMPBELL: Mark.

OPPENHEIMER: Dorothy Parker.

CAMPBELL: That's correct. Dorothy Parker.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: She was cremated. She was because men don't make passes at girls in caskets.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPBELL: You're going - this is getting very dark.

EISENBERG: It is getting very dark. This comedian didn't think he'd get any respect, even in the afterlife, as his tombstone reads, there goes the neighborhood.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Edgar.

DIAZ: Rodney Dangerfield.

EISENBERG: Yeah, you got it.

(APPLAUSE)

CAMPBELL: This game show guru invented "Jeopardy" and hosted a talk show. His final signoff reads, I will not be right back after this message.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CAMPBELL: Mark.

OPPENHEIMER: Merv Griffin.

CAMPBELL: That's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

CAMPBELL: He's on fire. This legendary filmmaker pulled a line from his film "Some Like It Hot" when he put on his headstone, I'm a writer but then, nobody's perfect.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Mark.

CAMPBELL: Mark.

OPPENHEIMER: Billy Wilder.

CAMPBELL: That's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right, this is your last question. Let her rip was the epitaph of this airplane actor who liked to keep his whoopee cushions and flatulence machines handy.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Edgar.

DIAZ: Leslie Nielsen.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

CAMPBELL: Nice.

EISENBERG: Puzzle guru John Chaneski, how did our contestants do?

CHANESKI: Well, Ophira, it's a dead heat. We have a tie.

CAMPBELL: Oh, my God. Whoa. Whoa.

CHANESKI: Mark and Edgar, here's your tiebreaker question. As his characters had done hundreds of times before him, who signed off from this world with the words, that's all folks?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHANESKI: Edgar.

DIAZ: Mel Blanc.

CHANESKI: Mel Blanc is correct. Congratulations, Edgar, you'll be in our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And thank you to Bruce Campbell for being amazing.

CAMPBELL: Thank you very much. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Coming up, we'll flip it and reverse it Missy Elliott-style and we'll pit Bruce Campbell against his old friend and co-star, Lucy Lawless...

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: ...And quiz them about all things undead. You won't want to miss it. This is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(APPLAUSE)

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