If you like Kiwi accents and adorable nerds, then Fan Fiction Comedy is where you want to be. Everything about this show is humble and lovely from the homemade booklets the comedians hand you as you walk in to the microwaved-baked cakes they give to each of their special guests on stage. Each show has new stories and special guests. Tonight’s special guests were the elven babe Claire Hooper and Gotham city’s Justin Hamilton. Although the Fan Fiction gang made it clear that the special guests where only to do one show each, Hamilton has already booked himself in for two more shows, and who could blame him. The show is extremely funny and choc-a-block with nerd references from Transformers to the Nokia game Snake 2. It’s hard not to gush, but every fan fiction fable was awesome and it was hard to pick a clear favourite. Fan Fiction Comedy has big laughs, big love and you leave wanting to be friends with all of them.
Being a fan of fan fiction (HPMoR!), I was looking forward to this show. For some reason I imagined comedians making jokes along the theme of fan fiction or their experiences of being fan fictioneers, as the show refers to themselves, or perhaps some kind of vague narrative around this idea. But no! It is even better!
Not quite a sampler show, but still allowing you to get the benefit of nine different performers for the price of one show, see a little of their personality and decide if you want to make it a priority to get along to their further individual shows, these comedians are actually reading out actual fan fiction that they've actually written!
And they're not all nerds, so even if you're unfamiliar with the wonderful and whacky world of fan fiction (and if you've read Fifty Shades of Grey, you're not), there is plenty of capacity and explanation for the layman to be able relate to this highly specialised area of penmanship.
According to Joseph Harper, the MC of the evening, the show is different every time, with completely different stories, told in a variety of reading methods, from gesticulated acting out with voices for different characters to the monotone bad-reading reading style echoing the voice in which you might read some particularly bad fan fiction in your head, and which fittingly accompanies the frequently bad-writing writing style of fan fiction. Of course none of these writers are genuinely bad writers, and nor is the show mocking those who are.
So because you won't hear any of these stories next Sunday anyway, here's a run-down on what you might have missed:
Home, Away and Alone – a Home and Away/Home Alone mashup by Joseph Moore: the entire population of Summer Bay has gone to Paris leaving Alf behind with two burglars.
With lashings of schadenfreude, the story of Aquaman and Outdoors with Jeff by Jamie Adam.
An All Blacks fan fiction from Sam Smith for either rugby lovers or haters, otherwise titled A Page from Richie McCaw's Diary.
Heidi O'Loughlin reads the story of Harry Potter on the Jeremy Kyle Show in which it is revealed that his wizard fantasies are in fact the coping techniques of an abused child, now a horribly maladjusted adult, and I think, “Oh yes, now the whole series makes a lot more sense!”
At this point Joseph Harper shows his lack of nerd knowledge, or perhaps his ahead-of-the-times-ness, by revealing that he and his brothers used to play a form of Quidditch in Christchurch by throwing golf balls at each other from trees. It sounds a far more painful version than the currently established sport of Muggle-Quidditch.
Jarrod Baker writes the Knight Rider Finale That Never Was and this is probably, for me, the most fan-fictionish fan fiction in Fan Fiction's true spirit – such passionate love for a story line and characters that you feel the authors did not do their creations justice in simply stopping at the point that they did and you feel compelled to continue and improve on the universe, or fittingly conclude it as the case may be.
Tom Furniss writes the most complicated story – Eduardo Plughands: a Guatemalan Edward Scissorhands but with plugs for hands, turns an Amish village upside down and exposes its hypocrisy when he introduces both electricity and love to the town, the romantic tragedy leaving the audience in either tears of laughter or simply tears.
There is a guest appearance from Josie Long who fantasises about a holiday with the characters from Girls. (Another good reason for writing fan fiction is that you identify with the universe so strongly you feel you can't live in your real world and like O'Loughlin's Harry Potter, in which the entire J.K. Rowling series is his own fan fiction, you write yourself into another world.)
Fan fiction being largely, today, an internet phenomenon (although of course it predates the internet), Steven Boyce sitting to the side of the stage provides the comments section, but without the usual trolling and ranting of the online world, which is nice.
All new episode next week and if you're not a fan of fan fiction already, you'll no doubt be leaving the show in waves of inspiration to write your own.
Wil Anderson was smart enough last year to spot a bunch of funny young comedians with the fabulous concept of performing fan fiction live and organised to get them over to Melbourne to share their passions with us. After a very successful run they are back this year and if you know what it’s like to be really into something so much you want to share that love with other people you’ll love this show. Each show is different, with different stories and different special guests, so there are no spoilers here.
FanFiction Comedy has some special one-topic nights such as their Harry Potter night which is great for Harry Potter fans, but generally it’s a bit of a Pot Luck with every performer bringing their own taste to the table. Luckily, even if you are not familiar with one performer’s passion, the stories are usually entertaining for everyone. There are two guest comedians in each show of five stories and we were lucky enough to have Justin Hamilton and Claire Hooper.
Justin, with absolutely no surprise to anyone who knows anything about him, brought us some Dark Knight fan fiction and dark it was too. The joy was barely contained as he made himself the hero in his tale of The Silent Knight. He had the music from the film playing gently underneath his reading at the perfect sound level, He seemed to rush a little, out of excitement perhaps or in that way a nerd rushes to tell you about what they love because they are a little worried they might be boring you and you’ll turn away. Perhaps he was worried that he was playing it straight rather than for laughs. But thankfully there are no rules at FanFiction. As long as it’s entertaining and that it certainly was.
Claire Hooper was a revelation with her sexy Lord of the Rings fan fiction playfully milking a lot of the double entendres with wide-eyed feigned innocence and perfect timing. Claire put a character in the action that sounded remarkably like herself and when it got hot and heavy, it was cute to see Hammo blushing in the background. The story was a hilarious romp from start to finish and Claire had everyone, especially the Lord of the Rings fans, in fits.
The other three storytellers were from the New Zealand team and they were all bloody fabulous too. Joseph Moore did a Rom-com satire using Transformers. Optimus Prime as the hero in a love triangle with Megan Fox and Megatron. The story was littered with funny and clever asides about transformer behaviour and their social etiquette.
Heidi O’Loughlin took us by surprise with some cleverly crafted chronicles about the Nokia mobile phone game of Snake 2. Snake was given a winding backstory that led beautifully to his inevitable ending.
The final fiction was about Harry Potter as told by Tom Furniss who was not a fan of the Potter world. Although it failed in fawning to the dyed in the wool Potter fans, it succeeded as an anti-homophobia fable. It also proved that Fanfiction might often be about children’s fiction, but you probably shouldn’t bring children along.
The host of the hour was the charming Eli Matthewson and there were two judges Joseph Harper, and Steven Boyce on the sidelines giving their thoughts to proceedings, though they seemed fairly unnecessary because the audience were the ultimate judges and they pretty much enjoyed everything.
This has been a popular addition to The Melbourne Comedy Festival scene and the regulars have been making a lot of new fans. It’s also another way to see some of your favourite comedians having fun away from their own shows. Everybody puts their heart and best effort into it and it pays off for performers and audience alike. Best of all Hammo will be returning each Sunday with parts two and three of his Dark Knight Trilogy.
I’m going to get excited for a second so please excuse me.
Ahem. That was a very fannish squeal, I’m sorry, but really the only appropriate way to introduce FanFiction Comedy.
Back for its second run at Comedy Festival, this hilarious show celebrates fan fiction in all its glory. Now if you don’t know what fan fiction is, then firstly you mustn’t be spending enough time on the internet, secondly it basically involves fans writing their own stories about the things they’re fans of. Which can be anything from your Grade 5 creative writing essay about the time you met Harry Potter and got a tour of Hogwarts to graphic stories imagining a steamy affair between Sherlock and Watson.
You don’t need to already be into this kind of thing to enjoy FanFiction Comedy, though. The show features a team of bright young New Zealand comedians using fan fiction as a platform for pop culture parody and good old-fashioned wit and silliness.
Every show is different, with the regular cast – Joseph Moore, Heidi O’Loughlin and Tom Furniss – creating a new story for each show and reading them alongside stories from guest stars. The first week has seen readings by the likes of Claire Hooper, Ben Pobjie, Justin Hamilton and Wil Anderson (who is also producer for the Melbourne version of the show). The energetic Eli Mathewson MCs and two more of the New Zealand cast, Steven Boyce and Joseph Harper, sit on as "judges", which involves adding some repartee between stories but no actual judging.
That’s a lot of comic talent on stage and it gives the show a party-ish atmosphere, a bit like the big happy group feel comedy panel shows are always trying to create. The performers haven’t seen each other’s contributions beforehand, so they’re reacting naturally to the stories at the same time as you are and the onstage interaction zings.
To give you an idea of what kinds of things they come up with, the day I go there’s a Transformers love story that culminates in a robot rap battle at a Linkin Park concert (from Joseph Moore), a “deleted scene” from Lord of the Rings involving a sexy party in the mines of Moria (Claire Hooper, in top form), a hard-boiled sequel to the Dark Knight Rises (from a surprisingly passionate Justin Hamilton) and a brave and hilariously naïve attempt at discussing gay rights via a Harry Potter story from someone (Furniss) whose only knowledge of Harry Potter comes from the movie trailers.
My personal favourite though is Heidi O’Loughlin’s story based on the computer game Snake 2. That’s right, the classic Nokia phone game where you control a snake that keeps getting longer and faster and has to avoid hitting its own tail. You wouldn’t think you could tie family drama, Hollywood excess and romance into that but O’Loughlin does it and it is pure gold.
This show is an all round tremendous concept, not just for the delirious pop culture parody but for the opportunity to see such a great group of young comics perform together. I’m a total fan of these guys now. Maybe not to the extent that I’m going to go and write stories about them going on sexy adventures together but very impressed nonetheless.