Bridget Jones, stuff.co.nz'Question: What do you get if you combine Harry Potter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Bold and the Beautiful and Sex and the City with a bunch of dry, clever people? Answer: A very funny Fan Fiction comedy show, that's what.'open/close
Question: What do you get if you combine Harry Potter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Bold and the Beautiful and Sex and the City with a bunch of dry, clever people? Answer: A very funny Fan Fiction comedy show, that's what.
Wait, what is Fan Fiction, I hear you ask? Well, you know how when you were younger and you would get obsessed with a TV show or movie and recreate stories about it in your head? Now, thanks to the interweb and resurgence in geek-chic style, people are swamping websites with these stories. And somehow they come across a bit more terrifying when they are written down.
With hostess-with-the-mostess and Billy T Award nominee Rose Matafeo keeping things (kind of) under control, we were treated to six of the most disturbing read-aloud stories I've ever heard. But they were also sort of beautifully charming.
The performers - this time it was Joseph Moore, Tom Furniss, Nic Sampson, Heidi O'Loughlin, Edith Poor and special guest Greg Benhrendt, but it will change for every show - don't mock this unique sub-culture.
On the contrary, they are creative, enthusiastic and bloody clever with what they deliver.
From Moore's tale of Lego Harry Potter's love of "girl Ron" to Furniss' sushi platter murder confusion on Bold and the Beautiful (which he has never watched with the sound on, by the way) to Benhrendt's slight confused take on the genre, retelling a story of his own Sex in the City-slash-He's Just Not That Into You legend, the stories were less smutty than fan fiction pieces I've read online, but much wittier with the added bonus of voices.
And who doesn't love a story with voices?
These guys know their stuff. They read aloud around Auckland pretty often and you can catch them on their regular bFM radio slot as well. Plus, they are just back from impressing the pants off the Aussies at the Melbourne Comedy Fest, which is no mean feat.
Fan Fiction - it's fresh, it's funny and it's on every Saturday for the next couple of weeks.
Chris Whitworth, TV3.co.nz'FanFiction Comedy takes this sub-genre and again twists it, not only parodying the people who write fan fiction, but also the shows written about.'open/close
Crammed into the upstairs Classic Studio on Queen St, I wasn’t sure what to expect from an hour of FanFiction Comedy.
I knew it would be funny, having heard a hilarious BFM segment titled Fast and the Furious 9, which described a scene between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker admiring a car. Lines like “I feel like my heart is doing an illegal street race around my body” instantly appealed.
But could the premise withstand an entire show? Yes. Hell, yes.
For those unfamiliar with FanFiction, it’s a growing trend among uber-fans of TV shows and movies, where they write alternative story lines involving their favourite characters. Stories range from alternate endings to bizarre sub-plots and unexplored sexual yearnings.
FanFiction Comedy takes this sub-genre and again twists it, not only parodying the people who write fan fiction, but also the shows written about.
A hungover Harry Potter at Rhythm and Vines, groggily waking to find his scar turned into a phallus and rear-end tattooed with “Voldemort was here”, was just one of the twisted realities concocted by the writers.
Or a Bold and the Beautiful spoof where a woman is found on a couch “cut up like sashimi or sushi”, which later turns out to, in fact, be a plate of sushi.
Hosted by the irreverently charming Rose Matafeo from TVNZ’s U Live, the evening had an easy flow, and low key charm.
Each story lasted no more than 10 minutes, ensuring attention spans were kept, and performances were swiftly followed by a post-read commentary, prompting hilarious crowd participation and bizarre tangents by a two-man panel (comedians Steven Boyce and Joseph Harper).
FanFiction Comedy is running the length of the festival and offers audiences an entirely unique show each week, with new stories written for every show.
It was the underground hit of last year’s festival and is well on its way to being a standout this year. So take the plunge, open your mind and you might even be inspired to write your own FanFiction.
Darren Bevan, TVNZ'It was the cult sleeper hit of last year's NZ International comedy Festival and now it's back - having had a successful run in Aussie just prior to coming home to these shores.'open/close
It was the cult sleeper hit of last year's NZ International comedy Festival and now it's back - having had a successful run in Aussie just prior to coming home to these shores.
Fanfiction, in case you're not aware of the general phenomenon, is where fans of shows take it upon themselves to pen works of fiction involving their fave TV or film characters. It's a field full of love, warmth and affection - much like the NZ stage version hosted with genial warmth by Rose Matafeo.
Fanfiction Comedy's already a success - what with it being a podcast and so forth, so it's no surprise that opening night of the show at the comedy festival this year was packed out.
Essentially, U Live host Rose Matafeo takes to the stage to introduce a group of about six writers (and fellow comedy festival performers) who recite their latest piece of Fanfiction prose, before it's thrown over to a panel for a bit of a discussion of whether it was liked or not. If you're lucky they'll even recruit one of the international comics to be part of it.
Opening night saw the likes of Tom Furniss, Nic Sampson, Heidi O'Loughlin, Edith Poor, Joseph Moore, Stephen Boyce and guest FanFictioneer Greg Benhrendt take to the stage to share a little part of themselves with us.
Fanfiction comedy has the convivial feel of a meeting of addicts who, would in the past have been confined to the forums of the internet for their discussions - but it's not creepy, weird or at all mocking.
In fact, it's the complete opposite - it's a warmly engaging, mutually appreciative and extremely amusingly creative night out. There's just something about an obsessive love crossed with creativity which breeds for a thoroughly genial atmosphere, replete with laughs, knowing references and an appreciation of the zeitgeist as well as what's been shared on Facebook and tumblrs.
Rose manages to move the discussion along amiably thanks to a great rapport with the judging panel of two (Steven Boyce and Joseph Harper) - but I still reckon an element of audience participation may add more to the experience; whether it's voting on the best or a bit of feedback/ ideas being proffered, there's certainly the feeling that this pop culture loving forum will have its contributors within the audience as well.
All in all, FanFiction won't be the same show each week - with writers penning new material every week, it's a uniquely geeky experience every time - and one that you should put aside any inhibitions toward, embrace the inner nerd and revel in the show.
It is the sworn duty of comedians to shun the well-adjusted and well-dressed. Perhaps nowhere in the festival is this responsibility upheld with such beardy, weirdy valour than at a performance of FanFiction Comedy, an evening where well-known characters from film, television and literature are rewritten into the naughty narratives of comic writers. You may never have read fan fiction but so long as you have looked at least once to Yoda for spiritual guidance, you are sufficiently nerdy to join this literary salon.
In this show, produced by Wil Anderson, a handful of young New Zealand comics are joined by guests of varying acclaim to offer occasionally lewd, generally funny detours into the Universes of Buffy, Dr Who et al. It's a joyous hour of unashamed awkwardness.
FANFICTION is a genre of writing where you can pen your own story based on an original work of pop culture. So this night's gig included readings of Glee - The Halloween Murders, Buffy does Maccas, Alf and Colleen from Home & Away have sexy time on a boat and Harry Potter and the Missing Olives.Something like that anyway.
The writers and performers are five bright young things from New Zealand who have been brought to the festival by Wil Anderson. What a great piece of talent-spotting because their enthusiasm is infectious, their stories clever and funny.
The night also had two festival acts as guest writers - Michael Workman and Andrew O'Neill, whose Dr Who fiction was an absolute gem.
And did I say "pen" a story before? Yes, the FanFiction troupe do use pens and notebooks. No iPads or laptops for these Gen Y-ers. Their primary school teachers would be so proud. The performers deliver a different story every night so no show is the same. Does that mean I can go again?
I wasn't sure what to expect. My associations with the Fringe Bar are pasties (my friend is Burlesque performer who regularly features there) and past times where tequila has met 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' too many times at some bewitching hour of the night.
Fringe Bar also has a long time association with improv and comedy shows, but five o'clock on a Sunday seemed like a rather odd time to be in there, watching a comedy show. Looking around, I notice there isn't an empty seat in the bar.
FanFiction Comedy is an Auckland-based show where comedians choose characters from literature, television, film, pop culture or elsewhere and write short alternative pieces of fiction for them.
In case you are unfamiliar with Fan fiction, Lev Grossman describes the phenomenon in TIME Magazine as, “. . .what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language” (July 18, 2011).
FanFiction Comedy is a mash up of Fan fiction and stand-up comedy. The Wellington line-up features seven comics; five Auckland-based (Jamie Adam, Edith Poor, Heidi O'Loughlin, Eli Matthewson and Joseph Moore) and Wellington-based (Sam Smith and Jarrod Baker). Rounding out the cast is a host (Nick Rado) and a respondent (Steven Boyce).
On the reading list for this evening, Pokemon meets Shakespeare, Mike McRoberts continuously high-fives himself as he rescues the TV3 News from disaster, and Teen Moms (in honour of Mother's Day) call their children names such as Pashmina and “stubborn abortion”. Unsurprisingly, Harry Potter features in two FanFiction segments.
In one fiction, by Heidi O'Loughlin, we get the backstory of the badger, symbol for the Hufflepuff house. Whereas Joseph Moore's interest is in Harry Potter in Legoland where two Rons are with Harry, only one has girl hair. After a confession of love between Harry and Ron (the one with the girl hair), they meet their doom by vacuum cleaner suction. But don't worry, Harry in Legoland is always smiling.
To avoid dust, two FanFictions put a nice spin on things (pun intended). Jarrod Baker takes his instructions literally and writes fiction for a fan, a Goldair desk fan that is. With puns such as “powerless” and “fanfare” this hilarious tale shows that even with superior fans such as Russell 5000s, there is still a place in the house for smaller appliances.
Eli Matthewson presents a musical FanFiction where the protagonist is a dying Star Wars Stormtrooper who has a love song for his unrequited, the droid C-3PO. A nice riff on the Star Wars Theme Music (via ukulele) and rhyming couplet with “I am ready” and “. . . to give you heady” make this a treat.
Another interesting facet to the show (which is never specifically mentioned) is that each of the fictions is delivered from a different source: an ipad, a moleskin, a piece of paper, an exercise book, a mobile phone, an email, and from memory. Various media give each performance an additional individual twist.
The only part of the hour that could use improvement is the in-between acts portion of the show. Steven Boyce plays the role of 'critic/judge', responding to each of the FanFictions. Rarely does Boyce's commentary, where he 'plays down' to his audience by donning a wide-eyed, inane persona, offer any new insights or laughs to the material. His feedback, rather, stunts the energetic flow (each of the pieces is less than 10 minutes) of the show. Clearly, Boyce is self-assured and has stage presence, but he did not bridge the gap between the performers and audience as the person in that role is presumably meant to do. This element of the show could perhaps be explored further to include audience participation, which is nice in any live event.
FanFiction Comedy is an ingenious concept, and it is successfully executed by the seven comedian/authors at the Fringe Bar in Wellington. Employing standard literary tropes – puns, rhyming, and alliteration, to name a few – as well as imaginative storylines to derive laughs, FanFiction is a clever, hilarious and fun-filled hour of comedy. Confession (which has nothing to do with bad karaoke): I am now a fan of FanFiction Comedy.
FanFiction Comedy is presented once a month in Auckland, and talk at the show suggests that it might make begin to make a regular Wellington appearance as well. As a new fan, here's hoping.
Mike Brown, bon-vivant.com.au'The story goes that while in Auckland for the New Zealand Comedy Festival last year, he stumbled into comedy club The Classic to find a bunch of twenty-somethings spinning tales on Harry Potter and Spiderman. 'open/close
I have to give full credit to Wil Anderson – if just for being a man who takes chances on things. The story goes that while in Auckland for the New Zealand Comedy Festival last year, he stumbled into comedy club The Classic to find a bunch of twenty-somethings spinning tales on Harry Potter and Spiderman. Overjoyed with what he saw, he brought the Fan Fiction crew – Rose Matafeo, Heidi O’Loughlin, Tom Furniss, Joseph Moore and Steven Boyce to Melbourne to unleash their white hot lashings of pop culture references and questionable storytelling on an unsuspecting public. And in a country where one can see episodes of the Big Bang Theory up to fifteen times a week, putting on FanFiction Comedy at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is a very smart move – a captive audience awaits.
The show moves quickly – the FanFiction crew along with special guests (at time of review, made up of Justin Hamilton, Adam Richards, and Wil Anderson) race through stories based on television, film, and comic characters. The stories are all unique but share a common theme – they are all hyper-detailed, and are often concerned with story elements that you wouldn’t see on the screen or page. Moore kicks things off with a hilarious Junior Masterchef: Australia story detailing one contestants wish for a date, spelt out in barbecue sauce. Furniss moves Sex and the City to the Gold Coast, a world full of Zumba lessons and bad accents. O’Loughlin’s letter on the Hufflepuff badger draws hard laughs from the Harry Potter fans in the audience, while Anderson gets jokey on a tale of what Batman is up to now with the Joker behind bars (spoiler: Arkham Asylum is turned into a Pie Face). Hamilton and Richards even get touching with stories of a friendship between The Flash and a young boy, and Sarah-Jane dealing with an unruly Doctor. Steven Boyce provides special comments following each story, either asking hyper-detailed questions of his own (“Does The Flash only have fast legs, or is the whole of his body fast? Because it would be weird if his legs moved fast but his arms moved at normal speed.”) or letting us known his background with the subjects (“I read all the Harry Potter books. Until she started writing more.”).
Ultimately, you don’t even need to be a big fan fiction nerd to enjoy this show. While it helps to be a pop culture fan, the comedy offered is universal and the storytelling interesting and well-written. The audience enjoys it but the nine members on stage love it even more, frequently laughing at each other’s tales and enjoying each other’s company. While the show could easily go beyond its assigned 75 minutes it keeps a careful eye on the clock, so if you’re not enjoying the story on right now, you’ll be presented with a new one in less the next five minutes. FanFiction Comedy keeps the smiles coming throughout leaving you feeling like a million bucks by the end. Like an evil super-villian, there is no reason that FanFiction Comedy can’t conquer Melbourne, if not the world.
Just when you thought comedy couldn’t get any geekier, along comes Fanfciton Comedy. For the unaware, this is an internet-fuelled phenomenon in which people write fantasy stories using existing popular characters and universes – from Star Wars to comic books; Dr Who to, erm, Neighbours.
As if to demonstrate that the genre isn’t limited to the socially restricted, slick comic Wil Anderson stepped in as producer after being wowed by the show in its native New Zealand. He is very visibly associated with the venture, putting his name in big type on the poster, plugging it at the end of his own show and – tonight at least – joining the line-up of comics reading their own contributions to the fan fiction genre.
Though headlining by dint of his fame, his story about Batman was a little underwhelming, relying on his on-stage charm and self-deprecatory quips about how little effort he’d put into his writing. There were lots of in-jokes about fellow panellist Charlie Clausen, but they were lost on me, as I’d never seen him in the Blue Heelers cop show. Generally though, you don’t have to know the shows Fanfiction Comedy so affectionately parodies inside-out, though a broad knowledge of pop culture is a definite bonus.
The strongest story probably came from regular Joseph Moore, who kicked proceedings off with his imaginative take on Harry Potter. The Lego Harry Potter, that is. His witty yarn relied more on the limitations of block-based characters that it did on in-depth knowledge of Hogwarts, and was brilliantly, inventively funny.
Another permanent team member, Heidi O’Loughlin was quite clearly inspired by her underwhelming stay at Melbourne’s Formula 1 budget hotel, so imagined what sort of mean-spirited motor-racing icon could possibly have come up with such a concept. What again could have been seen as a giant in-joke came off excellently, primarily because her frustrations seemed so real.
A Back To The Future mash-up, Black Ops To The Future, was another delight, written by Clausen, who imagined Marty McFly taken in by US special forces, in a yarn that took some nice unforeseeable twists. Regular Tom Furness found it more of a struggle to stand out with his take on Wind In The Willows, though there were some elegant turns of phrase within the writing. Fan fiction inevitably gets erotic sometimes – a subgenre called slash fiction – and guest Ben Pobjie took this route with his Masterchef tale, that was rather obvious in its relentless list of food-based double entendres.
Most impressive is that all these stories are not well-honed pieces of writing, but created solely for this performance, and there is a strong community feel to the show, which brings strong empathy between performers and like-minded audience. The enthusiasm of host Rose Matafeo certainly shone through, though sometimes her overexcited glee muddied the initial admin of the show, as she garbled introductions and indulged in confusing audience participation.
The offerings are allegedly judged by expert Steven Boyce, whose taciturn non-sequiturs added another dimension to this celebration of the creative, blissfully free from any ironic mocking of die-hard devotees of any fictional world.