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'My Dad Wrote a Porno' Podcast Hosts Talk Bringing Pick-Your-Own-Adventure Tour to the US

My Dad Wrote a Porno
Courtesy Photo

The hosts of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

Thursday evening at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, British podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno will return to North America for a 15-city tour that brings the hilarious tales of fictional heroine Belinda Blumenthal to international fans in a completely new way. Much like the weekly podcast that features hosts Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine reading excerpts of Morton's father's pornographic literature, the new live tour will see the trio leading the audience through a pick-your-own-adventure book written by Rocky Flintstone (Morton's father's pen name).

"A lot of shows do live versions of their podcast on tour and we want to make it more of a show. So we found out he had done this pick-your-porno and we thought that would be a good format for our next show," says Cooper. The group has already taken the pick-your-porno show to Australia including the iconic Sydney Opera House. 

"It is all about Belinda’s 30th birthday this time. It’s kind of a big party atmosphere," adds Morton. "It really feels like a birthday celebration when we do the shows. When we did it in Australia, people came dressed up, they made a big effort."

The North American dates will hit a string of notable venues including The Met Philly and Radio City Music Hall in New York and welcome audience participation as they weave their way through a variety of story options. The pick-your-own-adventure story will not be recorded for the podcast that concluded its fifth season in December; the format will exclusively be for live audiences with no two-nights resulting in the exact same story.

"With so much fan interaction, you get something so different from every audience," Levine tells Billboard. "There are moments that just jump out from the crowd and those are the highlights of the show. It being organic means that you can just roll with it and we’ve always got the backbone of Rocky’s, dare I say, literature. At the end of the day, everyone comes to hear Rocky’s work and any silliness on top is sort of the cherry on the cake."

In addition to picking where the story goes, the hosts play drinking games with the audience to elevate the party atmosphere of the live event and harken back to the after-work pubs where the idea for the podcast was created. Fans are encouraged to drink when they hear some of Rocky Flintsone's most commonly used phrases.

"When we first did it, we had several rules and then we realized everyone was pretty pissed by the end of it, so maybe we should reign it in," says Levine. "We’ve subbed it down to our main rule which is ‘when Belinda blinks, everybody drinks,’ which still seems to get people pretty merry. You never know in a chapter if she is going to blink five or 150 times."

Cooper jokes that their shows always start late because the bars are so busy and Morton adds a crowning achievement was the Royal Albert Hall in London running out of wine during one of their live events.

The latest trek will see the trio perform throughout the region at The Chicago Theatre, Austin City Limits Live, The Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, The Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles and more, but the hosts never feel the need to alter the content of their show for international audiences. With nearly all North American dates sold out, My Dad Wrote a Porno has resonated with wide audiences and even been turned into a special for HBO in 2019.

"It is one of the most universal themes there is, embarrassing dads," says Levine. "I feel like everybody’s dad is really cringy. Everybody sits around and is a bit eye-rolly about their parents. The three of us, sat around faffing is what everybody does every Friday night at the pub, so people can place themselves at that table."

"People are really invested in the world he has created. People compare him to J.K Rowling and we tell them to stop doing that," says Morton. "People are so excited about the prospect of being in this environment with all of us together."

The podcast, which launched in October of 2015, has been downloaded more than 250 million times over the course of five seasons and a handful of "footnote" episodes that have featured additional commentary on the erotic novels from Elijah Wood, Rachel Bloom, Michael Sheen, Daisy Ridley, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dan Levy, Emma Thompson and more.

"I think the audience has enjoyed being in on what’s essentially been a massive prank as we’ve elevated Rocky Flintstone to one of the greatest erotic writers in the world. He’s now a published author and people listen to his work and talk about it," says Cooper. 

"We definitely worry about getting visas revoked once they realize why we are visiting and what we are bringing," says Levine. 

The pick-your-porno tour will make its way through North American throughout March and April, closing out at Sony Centre in Toronto on April 11. The podcast will resume live dates in May in the U.K. and Europe launching with a 5-night residency at the London Palladium.


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