TV fans might know Rob Benedict and Richard Speight, Jr. from their time on Supernatural, but the two actors now have their own web series on ComicConHQ called Kings Of Con, a hilarious take on actors who spend a lot of time on the con circuit.
After a successful IndieGoGo campaign, the series premieres on November 15, and promises to offer a hilarious glimpse into some behind-the-scenes things that happen at cons from an actors’ perspective. The actors portray parody versions of themselves, but a lot of the material finds a basis in things that have happened to them at cons.
The two men have real life experience: Speight serves as emcee for Supernatural cons, with Benedict often being a guest, panelist and leader of the house band.
In an interview, Benedict and Speight discussed how they put Kings of Con together and talked about what fans can expect from the series.
The two men originally met through the Supernatural con circuit and quickly discovered that they had a good comic rapport with each other.
“We became best friends and, over the years, we’ve accumulated a lot of stories and shenanigans from the road,” Benedict said. “So there are lots of stories where stuff goes down. So we thought this would be a great idea for a show.”
“Rob and I had a good experience doing this comedy back and forth on stage at conventions and realized in our travels that the craziest people at these conventions are the actors who are paid to be there.” Speight said. “And that’s where the story is.”
Eventually, the two wrote a pilot and asked the fans to help fund the show on IndieGoGo: the fans responded with overwhelming support. That successful crowdfunding campaign got the attention of ComicConHQ.
Although the characters Benedict and Speight play on Kings of Con are fictional, there is still some truth behind the characters and situations they face.
“These personas that we play on the show have been hashed out on the road, 18 weekends a year over the past three or four years,” Speight said. “The relationship that he and I have: that is built on the characters we have on stage. The guys, Rob and Rich, the guys who created the show are the comedic minds behind it, but the characters we play are really almost more improv characters that we developed in our live act. Because what Rob and I do is improv: we get on stage, we do 45 minutes without really planning a thing.”
Speight also assured fans that they don’t need to have a familiarity with the con scene to understand the show. He believes that the comedy in Kings of Con will appeal to all audiences because it finds its basis in the characters. He also addressed the issue of stereotypes of the typical con-goer, at least by those people who don’t attend conventions.
“There’s a disconnect between people who understand what conventions are as opposed to those who don’t,” Speight said. “And I find that interesting, I think Rob and I are so now used to that world that we don’t think much about it. But there’s still a little bit of a stereotype by those who are not in the know that convention goers are on the quirkier side of things.”
Benedict gave an example of just how wrong those stereotypes often are.
“The greatest example is at these private meet and greets where we get to sit at a table with ten fans,” he said. “And we usually go around the table and go ‘state your name’ and ‘what do you do?’ And these are doctors, lawyers, people who work with the homeless, like these amazing people with these amazing jobs. And it comes back to us and we’re like ‘um… I’m an actor?’ We’re sitting there in clown makeup and assless chaps like ‘well…'”
Although Kings of Con is a scripted series, it also relies on some improv, sort of like Curb Your Enthusiasm. But they discussed the balance between the script and winging it.
“It’s very scripted in the way that Rob and I wrote it,” Speight said. “The improv element came more between Rob and myself. When you get on set and in that space, and you start to find the spoken joke that might be better than the written one. So he and I would sort of riff back and forth and eventually find a groove that would kind of feed the scene, but stay within that space. But it always operated off of that specific framework of the scene or dialogue.”
Benedict, though, stated that much of what we’ll see on the show was mostly what they originally wrote.
“We spent a lot of time with these scripts, tweaking them, writing and rewriting them,” Benedict said. “And we have such a good feel for these characters that by the time we came to shoot, we pretty much stuck to the script, but we also had some great actors – many of whom we were writing specifically for, who inevitably put their own flair on it. But everything was a little more that than it was improv.”
Kings of Con premieres on ComicConHQ on November 15. Check out the trailer below: