As part of our C2E2 coverage, Laurence was able to sit down and have a chat with Ben Blacker, the co-creator/writer of the Thrilling Adventure Hour, a live stage production done in the vein of old style radio (not to mention a podcast on Chad Hardwick’s Nerdist network and a graphic novel, too!). Here’s how it went;
Big Comic Page: First of all, congratulations on the nine year anniversary and the Eisner nomination.
Ben Blacker: “Thank you we’re really excited about it.”
BCP: Let’s dive into it. I love the old time radio format. Was that intentional from the get-go?
BB: “It really started as a practicality. We knew we wanted to do a monthly show, a new show every month, and we wouldn’t get the scripts out to the cast till the last minute. We have working actors so we wanted to make as easy as possible and having the scripts made it easy. Plus Ben [Acker] and I love playing in genre stories, so it all kind of snowballed from there.”
BCP: You guys have had some pretty amazing guest stars over the years I like to think of you guys as the Joss Whedon of live entertainment. I mean you’ve worked with a lot of actors from the Whedon fold like Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, and Alan Tuduk.
BB: “Haha I’ll accept that.”
BCP: Is there one guest star in particular you’d love to have on the show?
BB: “David Tennet. That’s who I want, so if anyone’s out there let him know. He would kill in our show and he does great stage work.”
BCP: A bit of a random aside, but what is ‘work juice?’
BB: “I made the joke of calling coffee work juice because it gets you amped up and ready to work. We said if we ever have a production company we’d call it work juice. Now we do! When we were looking for a fake sponsor for the show work juice made a lot of sense.”
BCP: So my speculation was correct.
BB: “We actually have WorkJuice brand coffee, which is crazy, I think you can still get it through our website and it’s actually really good coffee.”
BCP: Talk about multi platform marketing, so you guys have the live show and the graphic novel are there any plans to branch out into animation since there’s a lot of voice acting talent on the show?
BB: “Part of the original concept of the show was to take any part of it and spin it off into other media. So comics were a huge step in that direction. We currently have a behind the scenes web series that will take you backstage since that’s were a lot of the fun happens and we are thrilled to bring people backstage. That airs next month on the Nerdist network. It’s as a proving ground in order to do t.v. shows, more comics, and many branch out into different mediums.“
BCP: Do you plan on taking the show on the road?
BB: “We’d love to but due to the number of people involved in the show a prolonged tour is highly unlikely. But that’s why we’re doing these pockets of shows. We’ll be doing a bunch this year so hopefully more and more people will get to see it and that’s why we did a concert film. We aren’t going to be able to visit as many cities as we’d love to but this is a way for people to still be able to get to see what the show looks like and we’ll have details about that soon.”
The Thrilling Adventure Hour will be performing live at the Merle Reskin Theater with special guests Molly Quinn (Castle), Rider Strong (Boy Meets World), Kevin Murphy & Bill Corbett (Mystery Science Theatre), Janet Varney (Legend of Korra), Timothy Omundson (Psych) & Richard Speight Jr (Supernatural) at DePaul University on April 26th and tickets are still available. They also have another show in New York May 10th.
Shout out to the lovely Danielle Davis, CEO of Ladykiller for setting this up.
And make sure you don’t touch that dial folks, because this is only half of the interview. You’ll want to stick around for the thrilling conclusion in which we discuss the Ben’s takeover of Marvel’s Thunderbolts coming this June.