The Thrilling Adventure Hour: A New Fan’s Reaction

Hi. My name is Rob Piontek, and I’m a fan of the Thrilling Adventure Hour.

I wasn’t always like this, though. There was once a sadder time when I wasn’t aware of such wonderful things as Martian onus and the sprawling rogues gallery of Apex City. But now, my commute is made light years better by the auditory antics of such colorful characters as Sparks Nevada, Frank and Sadie Doyle, and Captain Laserbeam. And I owe it all to my sponsor, Dwight “Fridgemaster” Tejano.

For those of you who don’t know, Thrilling Adventure Hour is a live stage show and podcast created and written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, and starring such talented funnypersons as Marc Evan Jackson, Mark Gagliardi, Hal Lublin, Paul F. Thompkins, and Paget Brewster, to name a few, as well as guest stars ranging from geek heartthrob Nathan Fillion to comedy musicians Paul & Storm. Tearing up audiences and the airwaves since 2005, TAH parodies/pays homage to radio shows of the 1930s and 40s with segments like the space western “Sparks Nevada: Marshal On Mars”, the overtly-patriotic “Amelia Earhart: Fearless Flyer”, and the fan-favorite suspense-comedy “Beyond Belief.” As a fan of old time radio, I am truly amazed that I went as long as I did without exploring the worlds of the TAH, but thanks to a suggestion by the aforementioned Fridgemaster, that all changed during San Diego Comic-Con back in July.

Prior to the con, Dwight pitched the idea of seeing the live TAH show for an evening activity on the Saturday of Comic-Con. Adopting a “Sure, it sounds like fun” attitude, I accepted and tickets were purchased. Fast-forward to Saturday July 26th, and our group is taking our seats at the Spreckels Theatre. At this point, we learn that this is no ordinary TAH performance, but a crossover with fellow podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Like TAH, I had heard of Night Vale, but knew next to nothing about it up to that point. What transpired in the following hour and a half was more than enough to covert me to the ways of that which is thrilling and adventurous. Quick-witted humor coupled with utterly absurd situations and colorful characters made for an incredibly entertaining evening and spurred a curiosity for both podcasts.

As a follow-up, Dwight and I partook in the Conversation for a Cause at Nerd HQ the following day, which featured a panel consisting of the Bens and most of the TAH actors and guest actors we had seen the night before. In a room that was doubtlessly full of fans (much like the Spreckels Theatre), we were clearly the newcomers, not quite getting the inside jokes and references, but enjoying the off-the-wall humor nonetheless. The experience furthered my desire to dive right into the podcast.

Upon returning to the east coast, I promptly subscribed to TAH on iTunes and began at episode #1. To date, I have plowed through the entirety of the 200 episodes, fake commercials, convention panels, and fan Q&A sessions (I have a long commute, don’t judge me), and am completely caught up just in time to meet several of the Work Juice Players at New York Comic-Con this weekend. Sadly, the two live performances on Saturday October 11th at the Bell House in Brooklyn are sold out, but I hope to be present for the TAH panel on SundayOTF even has interviews lined up with cast members Mark Gagliardi, Hal Lublin, and Marc Evan Jackson during the con, so expect some inside info on what to expect in the future from TAH!

In addition to the monthly live performances and weekly podcasts (released every Monday under the Nerdist banner), Thrilling Adventure Hour can be experienced in many other forms, including a graphic novel, a behind-the-scenes web series, and a forthcoming concert film DVD! See you next time, Adventurekateers!

Written by: Rob "T3K" Piontek

Rob is excited to be contributing to The Fridge. With one finger on the pulse of Marvel/DC and another on that of Hollywood’s superhero franchises, no multi-issue arc or casting rumor is too small to report. When Rob opens The Fridge, the light inside shines green!

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