What do you do when the #1 comedy podcast (in the United Kingdom) unexpectedly announces a show at 11:30 (in the morning) on a Thursday in a city only two hours away (by air)?
Such an adventure is pretty straightforward planning. It’s a rapid-fire execution of research and decision-making.
- Available vacation time? Yes.
- Who wants to go? A round of texts, Twitter direct messages, and emails to interested parties to figure out who’s in and who’s out.
- Available show tickets? Yup.
- Available flights? Good availability. Surprisingly good pricing across the three major Canadian airlines five weeks in advance.
- Accommodation? Lots of options. Book a cancellable room and pursue a couple of other options later (cheaper, different neighbourhood).
An hour later, we were all booked for Montreal for a quick trip to the Just for Laughs comedy festival.
Subject matter alert: this podcast discussed in this post deals with some mature themes. I’m keeping it as clean as possible, without falling off a cliff of vagueness. Just to be safe, please ask any children in your reading vicinity to leave.
My Dad Wrote A WHAT?
Now that it’s just us grownups, let’s get into it. My favorite podcast is My Dad Wrote a P*rno (MDWAP) and it’s balm for the soul in these troubled times. It’s hosted by Jamie Morton, who reads his father’s amateur erotica so he alone does not have to bear the burden of its existence. Joined by his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine, they discuss the unbelievable situations faced by the heroine, and try to make sense of it all. No aspect of the books is spared their consideration: from geographic improbability to anatomical impossibility to business tips for the pots and pans industry. Jamie’s character voices and accent interpretations alone are worth the listen.
When telling others about my plan to go to a podcast in person, I was vexed by explaining both the subject matter and the concept of seeing a podcast in-person:
“So, you just, what, listen to them?” Yes, but not through headphones on the bus! Instead, with a group of strangers, in a downtown Montreal hotel ballroom, listening to pure ridiculousness of an adult nature at 11:30 in the morning. Nothing strange about that!
The podcast is a juggernaut. The source material, written by Jamie’s father under the nom de plume “Rocky Flintstone,” is available for download on Amazon. Jamie, James, and Alice have released three series of podcasts, published an annotated version, and perform live shows around the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and now Canada. Future dates have been announced for New York and Los Angeles. And they have other jobs!
The live MDWAP experience
The day of the live show, my friend and I made our way to the hotel early to queue up for excellence. It was general admission, so everyone who arrived an hour early became friends. We met folks who had driven from New York City the night before, and a mother with her fourteen year-old son(!). The mother had never heard the podcast before, but her son was a huge fan, fully aware of how weird it was to be at such a thing with his mom. But very on-brand for the event.
Being an early bird paid off when the doors opened and we got primo front-row seats.
Obviously, the show was hysterical. It featured Jamie, James, and Alice doing what they do on the podcast: reading a chapter aloud, taking turns commenting on it, while having a laugh AND being horrified. The live show is exactly like the podcast except the reading featured a bonus chapter not included in any of the books, included some particularly horrifying audience participation, and had a couple of breaks where the action stopped so we could have a brief discussion about pertinent matters like anatomy.
After the show, Jamie, James, and Alice took their bows and left the stage. The attendees streamed out of the hotel ballroom and into the rest of their day, either at the festival, or in the city of Montreal.
As my friend and I made our way out of the room, already thinking about what we were going to eat next, I noticed there were a couple of women waiting outside of nondescript door holding a stack of books. I wandered over and asked if the hosts were coming out and signing books. Yes on all accounts!
After about 10 minutes, the door opened, and Jamie, James, and Alice came out to a small but very enthusiastic crowd. We cheered mightily while they set up an impromptu signing station. One by one, we all lined up with our books and small talk. One woman bested all of us by being in active labour [100% true story]. When I had my turn, I learned that we all went to the same Adele concert at Wembley Stadium in London a month earlier. What are the chances? There were only 95,000 people there!
Anyway, here’s the snap going in the Christmas newsletter. Without explanation. But maybe an apology for the lighting, we were at the mercy of a hotel conference wing.
Was it ridiculous to travel 800-ish kilometres for a one-hour comedy podcast? Obviously. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Elated, we headed uptown to Little Italy, where we celebrated our success with some crackin’ Oreo cronettos at my old favourite, La Cornetteria.
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