For fans of Supernatural, the news that Richard Speight, Jr. and Rob Benedict are working together again should immediately put their newest project Kings of Con, squarely on their radar. An original comedy series where the behind-the-scenes misadventures at conventions are greater and crazier than the cons themselves, Kings of Con is part buddy comedy and part zany reality TV, where Rob and Rich are at their comedic finest.
The guys were nice enough to spend some time with us at San Diego Comic-Con to explain what the new series is all about, and when we can expect to see it.
Kings of Con not only looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun, but it also looks like you guys are having fun doing it.
Richard Speight, Jr.: It really is fun for us.The whole premise of the show is built on the goofy hijinks Rob and I experience backstage as we do our 18 to 22-city con tour every year for Supernatural. That gave rise to the idea that if we’re living these things, why aren’t we filming them and making a show out of it? So that’s what we did. We started out doing it very guerilla style, with Rob hammering out some scripts and me bringing a camera along and shooting scene-by-scene in the green room, and it led to doing a little crowdfunding and catching the interest of Comic-Con HQ.
So now we’re able to do a proper show, and the fun you see onscreen in the trailer is exponentially larger and more fun as we’ve gotten to make this show we’ve wanted to make, with bigger scripts and a bigger cast and a proper crew. It’s been awesome.
Rob Benedict: The goal for us has always been to make each other laugh. We were doing that before and we were like “oh my god, we should do something [with this].” And it’s such a fun creative experience, because we have a very goofy, very similar sense of humor, so in writing it we push the boundaries as much as we can. That’s what’s fun about having your own project and having that control: if you want to have your robe ripped off and you’re nude in the front yard, then that’s what you can do.
Richard Speight, Jr.: There was more than one time where we were shooting the series and I thought “what asshole wrote this? Oh, it was us.” You find yourself in a real awkward predicament, based on your own creative instinct, and you have no one to blame but yourself.
How much of the show is fabricated, and how much is based on actual experiences you’ve had?
Richard Speight, Jr.: Well, in every episode, something that happened in that episode actually happened. Sometimes it was a more grounded version that we’ve blown up comedically, but something happened that inspired that episode.
Rob Benedict: Right, it’s not a reality show, but it’s definitely inspired by actual experiences.
Richard Speight, Jr.: And sometimes it’s not even the “A” story, sometimes it’s just a tiny event or a character that we’ve put on the side. There’s some throughline of reality, because that’s how we built the show: we kept a log, and after being on the road for two or three years we could go back and say “okay, that was funny, and that was funny” and we’d slot those into various scripts.
So what’s the craziest story you have from your experiences traveling around to different conventions?
Rob Benedict: Well, a lot of the stuff we want to sort of be a surprise, but onstage we’ve told some of these more outrageous stories. One time we checked into a con in New Jersey. I was in Room 920, and he was in Room 911, and I called – thinking I was calling his room – and accidentally called 9-1-1.
So the operator answers, and they’re like “what’s your emergency?” And I think it’s him – it’s a dude, it sounds like Rich, so I’m like “calm down, stop it, I’m just calling to see if you wanna go get a beer?” And after I realized what was going on, I freaked out and hung up, and then I came down to his room and told him the story, and he laughed his ass off.
Richard Speight, Jr.: And then “knock knock knock.”
Rob Benedict: And then the cops showed up at our door. That really happened.
Richard Speight, Jr.: So we used that, and then we take the story from there.
Rob Benedict: So that’s the kind of thing that became a seed for an episode.
Has any of the material been censored or toned down at all, or do you have the freedom to just go where the story goes?
Rob Benedict: No, that’s what’s been so great about working with Comic-Con HQ, is they kind of just give you the reins a little bit. Like I said earlier, our humor kind of pushes the envelope, and they embrace that. I’ve never been through a process where the studio is just like “okay, this is great!” They haven’t censored us at all.
Richard Speight, Jr.: I think you phrased it very well: we went where the story went. We let the story lead the jokes, and a lot of times the story went down a crass road. But that’s not to say we’re doing crass, just for the same of being crass – that’s not our style of humor. Everything, even as far-fetched as it may seem, is done for the execution of the story we’re telling.
You guys did exceptionally well with the crowdfunding campaign, too. That has to feel great, to know you have so much support right from the beginning.
Richard Speight, Jr.: Absolutely! Look, we were blessed to come from the Supernatural universe. Rob and I both had careers before Supernatural came along, but that experience was a horse of a different color. If we hadn’t done that show, we wouldn’t have been exposed to that audience, or the convention circuit, or each other.
So our experience on Supernatural really gave rise to this show, and the fact that the fans were so supporting of our idea is great. It’s one thing to be a fan and watch something an actor does, but to be a fan and invest in something an actor does takes a whole different level of commitment to that performer, and that performer’s ideas, and your faith in their ability to pull off the idea they’re promising. So we do not take that lightly. We’re honored by their support, and we’re excited for them to see the finished product.
Kings of Con will premiere this fall on Comic-Con HQ.