I finally saw Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark this weekend, but that was just to kill an evening in New York City in advance of the event that had precipitated the trip from DC: The very first East Coast performance of The Thrilling Adventure Hour.
I’m glad you asked! The Thrilling Adventure Hour is a podcast that my pal Glen Weldon turned me onto early last year. It lost no time shooting to the top of my list of favorite things. Recorded at the Los Angeles nightclub Largo at the Coronet the first weekend of each month, TAHis a collection of hilarious serial narratives that affectionately parody the pre-television radio dramas I discovered when I lived in LA and was spending too many of my precious few hours of life in my car.
The best of them are the two that bookend the monthly live show.
Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars is basically The Lone Ranger set on the Red Planet, only with more musical numbers, like its marvelous theme song. It stars Marc Evan Jackson as Sparks and Mark Gagliardi as “his faithful Martian companion, Croach the Tracker,” whose fidelity to strict codes of Martian honor often has him “under onus” to the Earth-man he works for, who means well but is sometimes a bit of a jerk.
There’s a rotating feature in the middle, plus some funny fake commercials for fake sponsors Workjuice Coffee and Patriot Brand Cigarettes.
The closing feature is Beyond Belief, starring Paget Brewster and Paul F. Tompkins as Sadie and Frank Doyle, a high-functioning, alcoholic 1930s society couple who help people with their supernatural troubles. Especially if those supernatural troubles stand in the way of the Doyles’ next drink.
Which of the two regular features is my favorite is usually a matter of which one I’ve listened to the most recently. (Each serial is released as a separate podcast, usually not more than 30 minutes in length. The live show runs about 90 minutes.) They’re both brilliantly funny, featuring sublime vocal work from the actors and written, as are all of the features and everything else on the show (including, with Andy Paley, the songs), by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker. They make their living writing TV shows together. TAH is the project they — and their impressive company of in-demand actors, comics and musicians — do for love. Continue reading