Movie Trivia Schmoedown: Laura Kelly and the Dark Side of the Force

Laura Kelly is among the most beloved competitors of the Movie Trivia Schmoedown. If you don’t know what the Movie Trivia Schmoedown is, MTS Commissioner Kristian Harloff describes it as the ultimate sport for the serious movie trivia fan. The league has been running since 2014 and is now in its 7th season.

Kelly is currently part of the KORRUPTION faction. She is originally from the Kansas City area, but now calls Chicago home. She made her debut in 2019 and has been slaughtering the competition ever since. Kelly and her podcast co-host Alyce have taken Chicago by storm when it comes to Star Wars pub trivia events since December 2017.

The Schmoedown had a planned match at Star Wars Celebration Chicago and Kelly knew the force was strong in her and had to get involved. She reached out to Harloff and asked if they were still looking for competitors. Surprisingly, they had an open spot she could fill. The rest is history.

Kelly truly loves competing and you can tell as you watch her matches past and present. As a competitor she acknowledges she takes great pleasure being a “show-off,” by showing off her weird movie trivia knowledge. However, she also loves the community and environment of it all.

Right now the Movie Trivia Schmoedown is currently running a Star Wars tournament that features some serious competitors including the Star Wars legend himself Ken Napzok, and Ace Cabrera. Because of the current coronavirus pandemic, the tournament had to take the virtual format, instead of the regular studio format. While most players would rather play in person, because of the current situation Kelly says she’s glad she doesn’t have to get on an airplane in order to compete.


The tournament was almost an energy boost that Kelly needed after spending a month and a half working from home and sensing her mental health had taken a nose dive. As the MTS community began to toy with the idea of a possible Star Wars tournament, she immediately whipped out her study materials and started brushing up. This new routine helped her regain control of her life.

While the tournament is full of great and highly skilled competitors, she’s ready to use all her dark side skills against Alex Damon. Kelly previously matched up against Alex Damon at Spectacular, but the end result was not she wanted and knew she had to do better in order to win the next time. Now she’s more than ready to force jump to Alex Damon and throw whoever she has to into the bushes to get to him.

Fares Muthana calls Kelly a “stone cold badass that will take no prisoners on her way to glory.” Joseph Boros calls Kelly one of the few true contenders to the Star Wars title, being a knowledgeable competitor and one of a few people who can be considered a serious threat to Damon. Everyone’s favorite Jake Iacovetta best described his thoughts on Kelly with this gif:

When the dust settles from the Star Wars tournament, Kelly could end up facing the legend himself Ken Napzok. Napzok claims he is not studying, but everyone knows that’s probably not true. Laura sticks to her routine of setting a schedule and committing to it. Nazpok is a competitor you can’t underestimate, he’s a former champion and he knows his Star Wars trivia.

Another tough competitor out there right now is Ace Cabrera, Kelly says. Many wrote him off at the beginning but his Star Wars debut match was impressive, especially given the fact how fast this tournament was put together.

Several free agents were picked up by the factions including Korruption who signed Adam Collins. Kelly spent a study session with him and saw how knowledgeable he is, while being a generous person. But just like Star Wars, the dark side runs through him.

When you compete in the Schmoedown, you have to take it seriously and that involves a lot of work. As someone who works full time, she devotes much of her evenings and weekends to studying. As a disciplined player she focuses on setting a study schedule and sticking to it. During the weeks leading up to a match, she often puts aside housework and social things.

Kelly is one of the biggest Star Wars fans I’ve ever heard of, other than Ken Napzok. Her original fandom was Harry Potter, but in 2015 that all changed as she joined the massive Star Wars fandom. Her favorite Star Wars film was Rogue One, partly because it feels a little darker and more grown up than the other films. She also is a fan of the extremely popular Star Wars animated series Rebels.


Building up her Star Wars fandom experience includes the creation of her podcast Force Toast, which she co-hosts with Alyce. Kelly wanted to create something different, while keeping it chill and fun. The Star Wars podcast universe is extremely crowded, but the pair felt voices like theirs were missing, so they decided to jump to lightspeed and launch their podcast.

Once the Star Wars tournament names its champion, most players want to take a break from it all. However, for content creators like Laura, that’s not really possible for her to do. But she does enjoy learning the nitty, gritty tidbits of the Star Wars universe.

You can follow Laura Kelly on Twitter: @ShutUp_Laura and check out her podcast Force Toast

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Author: Lawrence Lease

Lawrence Lease is a freelance writer and screenwriter. His work can be seen on Blasting News, Cinema Gold and The Washington Ledger.

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