Bryan Cook brings Erotic Fan Fiction competition to the Bug Theatre
The Erotic Fan Fiction competition will bring its twisted competition to Denver this Thursday. Led by Bryan Cook, comedy writer for Joan Rivers's Fashion Police, the contest tasks professional comics to arrive with their own piece of erotic fan fiction on anything from Facts of Life to Of Mice and Mine, perform it, then quickly scribble and perform another story of the audience's choosing. A national hit on the comedy-festival circuit, the show has found a home in L.A.'s Nerdist Theater and will soon be releasing episodes on the Nerdist Podcast Network. Phoning in from the road, Bryan Cook chatted with us about Denver's all-star EFF performer Ben Roy, comedy literature and why sex is always funny.
Bryan Cook will host competitive Erotic Fan Fiction at the Bug Theatre.
- The Dairy Center developing standup comedy scene in Boulder
- T.J. Miller debuts a Fox comedy, and soon a Mike Judge collaboration
- Arrested Development's five most wonderfully awkward themes
Westword: This show has been such a success at the Nerdist theater and different comedy festivals -- what made you want to bring it to Denver?
Bryan Cook: Well, I did it a year ago in Denver, but that was just taking over the Fine Gentleman's Club for a night, so it was their crowd. I love the Denver comedy scene; I come out every six months or so and have done standup at Grawlix. And for this show I needed a talent pool to pull from, and Denver has enough really great comics that I can do it there.
Is this a one-off show, or would you like to regularly stop in and host this at the Bug?
For now this is a one-off, but I'm going to try and do it at least three to four times a year in Denver. I like to get out there, anyway, so this is a good excuse to come do comedy in Denver. I do it in Portland and New York City every three months, so I'm hoping to put Denver into that routine.
What first got you plugged in to the Denver comedy scene?
There's a comedy festival in Portland called Bridgetown, and just over two years ago I met Andrew Orvedahl and Adam Cayton-Holland there. We hit it off, and they made the offer to do Grawlix if I was ever in town the last Friday of the month. And I just happened to be there two months later for a wedding. So I did the show and met Ben Roy, and then did Fine Gentleman's Club and met all those guys.
Did the idea for this show spring from you being into fan fiction?
No, not even a little bit. I had a standup friend in Seattle who wrote a piece of erotic fan fiction for the movie Cars. And he read it as a joke at a regular standup show and it bombed -- it was hilarious how little the crowd gave a shit. I was doing an annual Valentine's Day comedy show at the time, and we decided to incorporate an erotic fan fiction competition into that. And then it became its own thing, because it was so popular.
So it's been a huge success in New York, Portland, New Orleans, Boston, L.A. -- everywhere except Seattle, for some reason. It's hard to get people to come out to a show in Seattle unless you've got a big headliner.
Standup comedy isn't always known as the most intellectual medium -- and even though it's a strange premise, you are introducing a literary style to standup with this. Is that hard for some audiences?
That's a good question. There are definitely people who have gotten the wrong idea about what it's going to be, but still had a good time. The last time I did it in San Francisco it was a midnight show at Punchline, just a regular old standup comedy club with a very standard comedy-club crowd. There was even a bachelorette party there, which is usually the biggest nightmare for any comedy show. But it was great, they loved it; it was actually a perfect fit for that crowd. The show is both highbrow and lowbrow, and I think it appeals to a lot of different people for that reason.
Do you get a lot of fan fiction crowds showing up who might not often go to comedy shows?
I get that vibe in Los Angeles, for sure. I don't know what the makeup of the crowd is in other cities. I tend to do it in a pretty wide variety of venues, from comedy clubs to improv theaters to rock venues. But in L.A. it's at the Nerdist Theater, which is in the back of a comic-book shop -- so I think we do get more of a comic-book crowd who might actually think fan fiction is interesting.