Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction with Bryan Cook is the funniest, dirtiest, podcast I’ve ever seen live. Five comedians are asked to write a fan fiction piece on anything they want before the show and present it while five other comedians get suggestions from the audience and have to write a fan fiction piece on the spot. Each group has a winner crowned by the audience and everyone leaves, amused, maybe slightly disturbed, and possibly sore from laughing. At least that’s how I felt last night.
The show started with an introduction from our host Bryan Cook. He explained the concept while one of the other comedians gathered up the audience suggestions. He also explained what would be considered a “bad” suggestion, which was quite funny. It’s always shockingly hilarious what some audience members think is a good suggestion. Then he called out the five comedians, Ian Karmel, Jackie Kashian, Caitlin Gill, Josh Gondelman and Jesse Elias, who would bravely write a piece on the spot from audience suggestions and they picked their topics, with some help from the audience, and went off to write.
Bryan Cook stayed on stage and brought out the comedians with prepared pieces one at a time next. It is kind of amazing/fascinating to me that he stays on stage for the whole two hours and looks interested the whole time. I would think it would get old after a while, but what do I know? This is only my second time seeing the show. The prepared pieces were all great, though it did vary quite a bit the writing quality and the comedian’s ability to read it well. It’s quite different delivering your memorized stand-up and reading something you wrote that maybe you aren’t the most proud of. Ivan Hernandez, Nato Green and Myq Kaplan were the least successful at this in my opinion. Though their topics were entertaining, either discomfort in reading, poor writing or lack of preparation seemed to be affecting each of them. The best ones were Arden Myrin and Ron Funches. Their topics were super creative (Mario Lopez hate-fucking a food basket and an “I Love Lucy” centric old Hollywood swinger-fest) but what really made it great to watch was how well they read it and how much their own writing made them laugh. Ron Funches in particular had a beautiful break in his story when he read the phrase “cocoa butter scented shaft” and giggled uncontrollably for a minute before saying “I hadn’t heard that phrase out loud before!” I think it was moments like that which make this show great and what ultimately made Ron Funches the winner from the first set of stories.
As if that wasn’t enough fun, once the prepared pieces were all read and voted on, the pieces based on audience suggestion started. Caitlin Gill was brave enough to go first and with the topic of Rasputin she twisted it into a funny story of a girl named Vanessa who worked at Rasputin Music (I was pretty happy about it, because perfection was already achieved on the topic of Rasputin with this song). Next up was Josh Gondelman who was given the unfortunate topic of Lambchop the puppet, which he managed to make original by adding in Jeff Dunham. Then Jackie Kashian told a great story about Chun-Li from Street Fighter getting her revenge. Following that Ian Karmel told the dirtiest story you can possibly imagine about the Dalai Lama and finally Jesse Elias told a story about Dame Judi Dench. Jesse Elias was the one I cheered the most for, but the winner was Ian Karmel. What can I say? Making the Dalai Lama do things that depraved is a real crowd pleaser.
It was a fun night, that, if any of this sounds interesting to you, you can listen to it here sometime soon. Or check out some of the other episodes. If you’re a fan of dark, twisted and bizarre sexual humor you’ll definitely enjoy Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction. And if you are reading this early enough you have one more chance to see the show tonight, Feb 1st a the Verid Club at 10:30 pm. I advise not missing it. And if you do, you can always try to catch it in LA at Meltdown Comics every third Thursday. Or maybe Sketchfest next year?