Nine players + six panels + three live shows + two creators + one film = C2E2 TAHCon. The Thrilling Adventure Hour pretty much took over C2E2 from my vantage point, and it definitely made the weekend. I first came across TAH a few years ago via a friend of mine. The podcast contains over 200 episodes, and every one of them is worth a listen.
The two main stories are Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars and Beyond Belief, though there are a few more recurrent storylines (e.g. Phillip Fathom: Deep Sea Detective, Jefferson Reid: Ace American, Amelia Earhart, Fearless Flyer, etc.) The show originated with an unproduced screenplay by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, and has grown exponentially since then.
For me, TAHCon started off with an interview with longtime players Hal Lublin and Mark Gagliardi, as well as frequent guest star Timothy Omundson. I honestly don’t think I’ve laughed more in an interview. I had the chance to speak with all the cast members over the weekend, but these three were a great introduction to the feeling of family that emanates from everyone involved with TAH.
Sadly, I missed the interview on the C2E2 Live Stage with Janet Varney, Scot Adsit, and Mark Gagliardi, but from various accounts it was absolutely hilarious. It’s also worth noting that there were various cast signings through the weekend at the TAH Booth. The table was graffitied (unsurprisingly), and they even walked the line taking the time to talk to fans (and take pictures) while they waited for one another to arrive.
Friday afternoon also saw the screening of the TAH Concert film. The first part is from Episode #70 of the podcast: Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars “The Piano Has Been Thinking”. The second part is from Episode #122: Beyond Belief “Cursed at First Bite”. There is also an interlude of one of their Patriot Brand Cigarette Ads, with regular cast member Paget Brewster. Before the film, Lublin called up the Bens, but instead we got John Ross Bowie and Timothy Omundson (who pretended to be Acker & Blacker) to introduce the film. Afterward, there was a Q&A with the cast and creators, while Omundson fielded questions in the crowd. He even asked a question himself. From the banter, it’s so clear that there is a lot of love and admiration between all of them.
That evening was the first live show at 1st Ward at Chop Shop in Chicago. The WorkJuice players did a long form improv show. It started with an audience prompt for Autumn Reeser to give a monologue on boxing. From there it evolved into Adsit and Omundson on a date, “shoebox noises”, miming cheerleaders, Lublin as Violin Concert Man, Marvel vs. DC on the next great comic, Marc Evan Jackson getting a second day at work, and heaps more ridiculous scenarios. It was over an hour of non-stop laughter, that even made some of the cast break.
Saturday morning gave us another panel, this time on improv from the WorkJuice players. It’s also worth noting that regular member Craig Cackowski (who wasn’t there on Friday) made it for this panel and the rest of the weekend. There was some rehashing of the previous night’s shenanigans, and some helpful advice to those looking to do improv themselves. Improv is good for over thinkers and it’s the first time in your life that you can really say ‘yes’ to everything. Reeser mentions that not all improv works as “you have moments that are great and moments that suck, but you just have to put yourself out there past your comfort zone.” Though I think my favourite was Jackson giving some great advice on life: “you guys are improvising now in your lives, but I still maintain you need training.” He (and Adsit) also mentioned to me later that day on good places in NYC for classes, I’m signing up tomorrow.
Evening finally rolled around which gave us not one, but two live shows of Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars. Both of them were based off the first four issues of the comic book that is being published by Image Comics. What was really great was the use of the first three (the fourth not yet drawn) books projected on the backdrop while the cast performed. These shows were definitely more populated than the Friday night performance (which was a shame), but no less thrilling.
Sunday gave us a few more signings, fan photos, a Nerdist Comics Panel with Ben Blacker, and the TAH Panel. The cast discussed the final show from their 10-year run at Largo, their favourite moments, including when they all performed with puppets of their own characters (thanks to the amazingly talented Jamie Bressler), a discussion on how everyone has played a Nazi at some point on TAH, a funny moment in regard to Jackson’s misuse of the word ‘hiatus’ instead of ‘leave’, and ending with the best line delivered by Gagliardi about ‘pilot season’. They are all so quick on their feet, pure genius if you ask me.
I have to say that TAH really made C2E2 amazing. This wasn’t just due to the cast, but also the awesome Adventureketeers (Jena, Tori, and Jamie – to name a few) and everyone at Ladykiller. Like I said before, you could just feel the love and appreciation between the cast at Friday’s panel, but it goes beyond that to include everyone in the TAH family – cast, crew, volunteers, and fans. I loved TAH before, but now they definitely have my heart.
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