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“My Dad Wrote A Porno” Live: Or When Meg Had to Put On Pants To Listen to a Podcast

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The Stage Is Set

Recently I sat in DC’s Warner Theater, surrounded by friends and 1,845 other Belinkers (the official moniker for us fans of the ridiculously popular podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno, which I previously discussed here). The audience was buzzing, drinks in hands, many of us wearing MDWAP t-shirts (official or not), while others dressed in character-inspired costumes (t-shirts imprinted with pomegranate breasts, black thongs over jeans, some even carrying non-stick woks, an homage to the great, pots and pans conglomerate–i.e. Steels Pots and Pans, the workplace of our beloved heroine, Belinda.

I couldn’t help but take a second to think about just how weird this was. Five years ago, the very idea of paying $40/ticket, and going to one of the most beautiful theaters in D.C. (I’ve seen Les Mis, A Chorus Line and at least one ballet there), to sit and listen to a podcast that is normally free for me to listen to at home—in the comfort of my pajamas, with no bra, as I fold clothes—was something I’d never considered. Yet, I’ve since found myself more and more addicted to attending live podcasts. Here I was, amped up, on the edge of my seat, with my double glass of chardonnay (they did not specify whether it was Chilean, as our protagonist drinks by the bottle).

Music played as we waited for our hosts to come on stage, including such classics as “The Thong Song” and “It Wasn’t Me.” Of course, they also played two amazing songs written by superfans, my favorite being Pomegranates & Rivets by the Swedish musical group, Spoken Peter (available on Spotify).

Finally, the lights went down, a hush fell over the theater and our friends— Jamie Morton, Alice Levine and James Cooper—entered the stage, waving as they sat in their comfy-looking leather club chairs and began pouring drinks: Chilean chardonnay for Jamie, our brave narrator, and gin and tonics (seemingly predominantly gin) for Alice and James. We got the requisite pandering to a DC audience—Trump jokes aplenty, commentary on our monuments, etc.— and a reminder of the drinking game rules (as most of us in the audience were enjoying an adult beverage or two). But now it was time to buckle down and get to the show.

This was the moment we learned we were about to hear a “lost” chapter—and by lost, I mean it’s a chapter Rocky Flintstone did not think was good enough for the books.

“Wait, so there actually is some sort of quality control for these books?” asked a shocked and indignant James Cooper. As it turns out, Rocky wrote a chapter where Belinda hires a business guru and is having all of her regional sales managers attend a weekend getaway (it sounded like it was supposed to be a day trip, but we quickly learned the location was a 7-hour drive from the London office).

The guru is Welsh and when Jamie tried to do her accent it failed pretty spectacularly, so he asked the audience for help. “Is there anyone who is Welsh or can do the accent?” Finally, a man volunteered, “Well, I don’t know that I can do the Welsh, but I promise it will be sultry as hell.” They brought him some lines to say, and you know what? He was right. Absolutely no discernible Welsh accent, but he was sultry as hell and got the part! They would go to him as needed, and it only took him a few tries to master using his cell phone light so he could read his cue cards in the dark.

At one point, as Jamie tried to read a specific sex scene between Belinda and the guru, the narrative was so confusing that two women were invited on stage to act out the mechanics of what was described. This turned into a very strange Twister-like reenactment with legs up against the wings of the wingback, arms underneath the seat and lips in places that, practically speaking, would never meet another lip. In short, it was a My Dad Wrote A Porno dream—remember, it’s not about the quality/believability of a scene, that would defeat the delight!

During intermission we were all encouraged to get refills as the drinking game had left our glasses woefully empty. We returned to our seats and the hosts attempted to read a particularly descriptive and lurid scene… but Alison Levine was unable to stomach the inaccuracies of anatomy any longer. Something about the line, “She flashed him her cervix” was just too problematic to be ignored. The upside was that we now saw the pixie-looking, fierce red-head that is Alice Levine completely lose her patience and call “stop” until she could walk us, the unsuspecting public, through the female anatomy. There would be no more listeners who thought it possible to grab a cervix or flash it in a short skirt or that touching a woman’s uterus felt great… those fictional feats are obviously not real, they don’t happen, they should not be written or said–not in any world!

We got a 15-minute educational review (that Rocky clearly needs) via PowerPoint of the female reproductive system. Do you know where the cervix is compared to the uterus or the vagina? I must confess, being in a super confident crowd and having people shout out the answers, I was worried I’d get confused, forget and get the answers wrong… luckily, I was way more competent than I thought and in no way made a fool of myself. It did, however, seem to be a bit of an eye-opener for one Jamie Morton who was thoroughly confused (as in completely inexperienced as to what goes where for which purpose). And let me tell you, until you have been surrounded by 1800 people shouting out words like “fallopian tubes” or “uterine lining,” you really won’t understand what it’s like to truly belong to a community.

One particularly exciting moment of the show was the knighting of an audience member. For the first time ever, there was a raffle of sorts. Every seat number was included in a drawing and one lucky winner got to go on stage and be inducted into knighthood—knighted with the highest honor available to someone for their contributions in the world and art of pots and pans. The prizewinner was called up and asked to kneel before a representative of Steele’s Pots and Pans, who—using the infamous non-stick wok—knighted and welcomed her into the brother/sisterhood of hundreds of years and thousands of people. Clearly, the winner was someone upon whom the fates had smiled and wanted to bless.

Wok the f**k? @johnny067 – we salute your dedication to #PornoDay

A post shared by My Dad Wrote A Porno (@mydadwrotea) on

Look, here’s the real skinny on the live show: it was totally different from anything I had heard on the podcast. I never once wanted to say, “Wait, skip that part. We already know it, you idiots.” Also, being able to see the performers in-person was such a treat, especially James. James is the one whose first instinct is to go physical. When they used the line “dived into her cervix” and he mimicked a Michael Phelps-style move, it was not only impressive but hilarious AF. At times he would also jump back into his chair, holding his knees and begging for someone to make it stop.

Thanks to new content, and the multiple ways in which they involved the audience, this turned out to be one of my favorite evenings, ever, in the theater. The only thing I would suggest is adding at least 15 minutes at the end for a Q&A—the questions are never-ending when you witness what we did for 90 minutes. They could also add a segment in which a real-life psychotherapist comes on stage to counsel Jamie, a man who must have some sort of PTSD that really should be addressed by a professional. Other than that, I give it 5 out of 5 black thongs.

Have you seen the live show? What were your favorite parts? How’d you do on the female reproductive system quiz?

For more information on the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast check out their website. 2018 show dates are listed below.

Written by Meg Williams

A lover of so many things: dogs, wine, books, my husband and theater. I'm a pretty unapologetic nerd, I'll talk Star Trek or Buffy all day, but I also love Broadway and am an actress and singer in another part of my life, and I'm studying to be a Sommelier so I talk about wine and cocktails A LOT. Usually I'm at home in front of my computer, a TV or with a good book, drinking wine and snuggling with my two pups.

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