I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Rob Benedict and Richard Speight of Supernatural, better known as Chuck/God and The Trickster/Gabriel/Loki. They've been doing 13-14 conventions per year for the last 6 years, which has invariably led to several strange interactions with various people. They're now using those experiences as the basis for a show they're developing called Kings of Con, which is currently being independently funded via an Indiegogo campaign.
Being a fan of Supernatural, I knew Chuck and Gabriel as strong recurring characters. If I had to guess how many episodes each had been in, I'd have said 20. I found it surprising Rob had only been in 8 episodes and Rich in 5. Roughly, each episode one of them was in produced 12 convention appearances, which only acts as a testament to how strong and impactful their characters were. When asking if they were surprised how many conventions they'd been at, Rich let me know surprised wasn't even the word. He was stunned and flabbergasted he'd been invited in the first place. After all, he'd only been in two episodes before getting invited. He'd kept on picturing a convention being like what Mickey Rourke went through in The Wrestler, being in some gymnasium next to a headshot with people glancing over. However, it was nothing like that. Each event became a big party, them being massive stars for the weekend. The fact it essentially evolved into a travelling road show he and Rob fronted was the second shock.
On Rob's end, the whole experience was highly surreal. He'd just been in an episode where he'd been in a mock convention, then got invited to be in an actual one directly after it aired. Once he got to attend a convention, he realized the people on the roster were often more outlandish or "crazier" than the attendees. Rich agreed the crowds were usually very balanced people. Many attendees still tend to dress in costume, sometimes as Gabriel or Chuck. Still, Castiel remains one of the more popular get-ups, with some phoning it in by tossing on a trench coat and necktie. Either way, people taking the time to get in costume, often elaborately, is a huge compliment to the everyone involved with the show, especially since it's been on the air a good decade.
When it came to first attending conventions, Rob used to get tense beforehand, but not anymore. Rich leans toward having good, excited nerves. The toughest part for him was when they began attending conventions at hotels, which changed the setup some. Still, it tends to feel like a tour for them. Rob likes to open with his band, Louden Swain, which has a good 6 albums on Amazon, then Rich hosts the event. They're in performance mode from the first minute of the day to the last, capable of getting into a solid groove that keeps the show going. When the weekend is over, it's a shocking transition down into (relative) normalcy. All that gets captured in Kings of Con.
As far as what the show will be like, it's going to rely heavily on reality as a starting base, moving into amplified versions of what they've experienced. It all leads to massive misadventure. One time, they'd arrived in New Jersey and checked into their respective hotel rooms. Rob was in room 911 and Rich in 917. Rob dialed Rich's room. The voice that picked up went "911, what's your emergency?" It then escalated.
To quote Rob:
I was like "Hey Rich, this is Rob." Then the guy on the other line repeated "911 WHAT'S YOUR EMERGENCY!" I was supposed to dial 7 or something, which I guess they teach in hotel school, but I'd never learned that. I hung up the phone, went to Rich's room, told him I thought I'd made a mistake. We'd been in the building maybe half an hour and right when I finished telling my story there was a big knock at the door. We looked through the peephole and it was a cop. After being in New Jersey less than forty minutes we were already dealing with the cops. That's all true, but in the episode I go to jail. I didn't in real life, but strange things like that were happening all the time. We'd look at each other and say this has to go in a show.
In the show, every person, including those who do cameos, play heightened versions of themselves. At times people will play fictionalized versions of themselves that seem like exaggurations based in reality. The humor will be wry, but the characters never dry. Despite the fact they're still working on acquiring funding, there's no limit to the length of the show. As Rob and Rich informed me, each episode has a primarily independent plot arch, though certain elements will reach across the season. Parallels were drawn between 30 Rock, Louie C.K., Curb Your Enthusiasm, Party Down and Broad City. There's no need to be familiar with conventions to enjoy the plot. The tone itself aims for brutal comedic honesty, as Rob puts it. While they aren't aiming for a particular age rating, they want to push the envelope and many scenes will be offensive, but they don't intend to go as hog wild as Danny McBride in Eastbound and Down. Whatever best serves the humor is what will be done.
Kings of Con is currently over halfway to reaching their Indiegogo campaign goal of $300k, which they'd need in order to get a whole season made. Distribution channels are still being discussed, but you can help the show out by contributing and getting anything from a signed poster to the guys officiating your wedding, having Louden Swain play at your house event, or even a wedding with the band playing.
If you want to take a look at the original interview, it can be found here. Furthermore, if you like the concept of the show, don't forget to spread the word.
TWITTER: @ROB_AND_RICH @ROBBENEDICT @DICKSP8JR
INSTAGRAM: @RoBENEDICT @DICKSP8JR
BE SURE TO #KINGSOFCON!!