In Vancouver we’re a little spoiled for choice when it comes to entertainment, especially indie-run live nerdy and comedic show. I’m definitely not complaining when there’s such excellent acts out there like Geekenders, the Fictionals, and West Coast Geeks vs. Nerds, just to name a few. Mockingbird Media Entertainment’s new offering, Content Warning: Erotic Fanfiction Deathmatch, fits right in with this community and promises a monthly competition over who gets to claim the title of Ultimate Smutmaster. As you might imagine, things get a little steamy…
The premise of the show is to have local authors create their best (or worst) smutty fanfiction along the month’s theme and these works of fiction are then read aloud for the crowd by professional actors. At the end, the crowd votes for their favorites, and then the Ultimate Smutmaster is crowned, to be brought back to defend their title at a later date. It’s a good, simple framework that ran very smoothly, even when this month’s voting resulted in a tie.
This month the theme was “Remember the 90s”, and the audience began the evening enjoying a playlist of 90s hits, often breaking out into spontaneous sing-alongs – Backstreet’s back, alright?! Seven Dining Lounge, which is a familiar haunt for a number of great local entertainment acts, was standing-room only by the time the show began. Our host, Jesse Inocalla, in purple gator-skin Fluevogs and a velvet jacket, made sure to check that we were all ready and eager to participate in some sexy shenanigans (emphatic consent!!) before ushering us back to the time of Saturday morning cartoons, neon patterned everything, and not-so-innocent fantasies.
I was a bit surprised to discover that the actors were going in to the readings cold, but despite the lack of practice ahead of time they all did quite a good job, adding voices and pauses and inflection to hit the right mood, and often their own shock and laughter over the content of the scripts added to the humour. Still, it might be worth considering letting them have at least one read-through, or if not the producers might at least color code the various characters’ dialogue so that it will be easier for the actors to switch appropriately.
With actor and writer set up on stage, the fun was ready to begin. The actors were encouraged to pause and interrogate the writer at any time. And both the writers and actors were given a chance to plug whatever other artistic endeavors they wanted to publicize, which I really appreciated. It’s always nice seeing the community support each other! The audience was given a chance to ask a few questions after each story as well, often with hilarious results.
Our first story was by Little Miss Tristan Risk – an untitled fiction starring none other than Wolverine. It was read by Ariel Hansen, who gave it a sultry quality that suited the story. Set in a small town in the Kootenays, our nameless protagonist was a cynical rock chick who decides to hit the local watering hole for a bit of fun… or trouble. The story had a lot of lead-up, describing the protagonist’s beauty routine with vivid imagery. As a piece of fiction it was well written, but it seemed to lose the crowd as they waited for the smut to begin. Wolverine, who “tasted like exotic masculinity” (apparently cigars and beer are exotic in small mountain towns?), may have a thing for the vanilla essential oil worn as perfume by the protagonist, but the crowd seemed to be craving a different flavor. We didn’t need to wait long.
The second story was by David Marino – another untitled piece featuring Goofy, Donald Duck, Mickey, and an unnamed protagonist. The protagonist is described as an important businessman, so in my head I think it’s Scrooge McDuck, but whomever you imagine will do. This was a story that had everyone in the room rapt and gasping for breath (because of the constant laughter, you pervs). Expertly read by deliberately foppish Seth Gordon Little, the story begins with our protagonist out cruising in a park where he runs into Goofy and Donald and Mickey, and after he “enthusiastically consented to [their] forthcoming merger”, he participated in a gay threesome (with Mickey creepily watching since he has about as much genitalia as a Ken doll). At the end, the protagonist “liquidated his assets” and the audience similarly exploded into thunderous laughter, applause, and a sincere standing O.
Story number three was titled “Holiday in the Evening”, written by Jenna Sokalski and set in the beautifully 90s world of Daria. Performed by Luchagore’s Gigi Saul Guerrero, it was transformed into a Latin-infused fanfiction that was surprisingly sweet and earnest. Gigi gave it a lovely quality as she added sound effects and laid on her accent as thickly as she could, easily selling Daria’s “ecsta-CI!!” in her beach encounter with Trent. The ending got a little confusing due to cameos from season 3 characters from Holiday Island, a little-known reference that won over the truest Daria fans. Overall, a tender teen moment that was surprisingly charming.
Gigi stayed where she was, ready to perform the next one. The fourth fic was written by Tanner McCoolman; a crossover romp with SpongeBob and Mojo Jojo titled “Sponge Monkey Mayhem”. The premise of the story was that Mojo Jojo had set up a not-very-convincing fake casting couch for a non-existent adult film company, and a broke SpongeBob auditions hoping to earn some money. The fiction began with pure psychological body horror a la Kafka’s Metamorphosis, as SpongeBob began fingering his holes and growing more arms and fingers to finger all of his holes. There was also a creepily pointed anti-child molestation PSA related to Bubbles the Powerpuff Girl and an off-colour explanation about how SpongeBob was intersex due to genetic mutation brought on by Agent Orange, but some moments were gold: the tsunami climax as they “Californicated” particularly stands out. Gigi’s performance of the voices for both Mojo Jojo and SpongeBob were also superbly on point.
With all of the laughter and smutty depravity, we all needed a break. After a brief intermission, we dove right back into the fray, with Seth Gordon Little returning to voice Lyssa Strata’s tale: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret of the Ooze”. A sweaty summer training session with April and Michelangelo turns into a hilarious (and well-researched) birthday gangbang, eventually incorporating all four turtles and Master Splinter. Seth was the perfect actor for the job and as before the audience was howling with laughter as he expertly delivered the deliberately cheesy, reference-laden smut. Even Seth had to pause for another drink. After a gooey climax, many in the audience were on their feet again, clapping, and Seth delivered his heartfelt compliments both to Lyssa and David Marino for their excellent work on Seth’s favorite childhood characters.
The sixth fiction was a fantastic gay BDSM scene created by Zhora Kys; an X-Men offering titled “Savage Land” starring Professor X, Magneto, and Sinister. Performed by the delightful Draco Muff-Boi, it was a saucy romp realistically describing the experience from Charles’ perspective as a bottom, relishing the sting of whips. The dynamic between Charles and Erik was particularly believable to anyone familiar with the D/s relationship. It definitely left many in the audience feeling a little hot and bothered.
Next was Zachary Taylor’s “Too Blue For You”; another crossover piece starring Sonic the Hedgehog and Genie from Disney’s Aladdin. Ariel Hansen returned to perform the story, providing us with a hyper, youthful Sonic, and a creepy, fourth-wall breaking Genie. This was a 90s extravaganza as Sonic finds himself in a strange land: first passing through the LA riots before ending up in Disneyland. There, he meets Genie, who is, of course, a Dom. The audience soon realizes that you can’t make a wish while wearing a ball-gag, as Genie turns poor Sonic into his “living cock puppet”. Moments of humor, like the revelation that Genie’s “onmipodick” tastes like blueberries, were interspersed with uncomfortably graphic, stomach-turning scat-porn erotica. Laden with author’s notes and ending with Sonic’s “hog juice”, it was truly an example of the depths of depravity that fanfiction can feature!
The final offering of the night was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer story centered on Angelus and Spike. Written by a published novelist – Mistress Ivy – the tale was steamy and well-written. Titled “Troublemaker”, it was performed by Draco Muff-Boi who tried valiantly to use an Irish accent for Angelus and an English accent for Spike. In the story, fans were treated to a realization of their teen fantasies as Angelus showed Spike what trouble truly is. Spike made a good, bratty bottom, as the long tensions between the two vampires results in a sexy showdown where Angelus wins. I ship it.
All eight stories completed, the hosts collected the tiny voting slips. I couldn’t help but think there must be an app for that, but maybe they’ll have that minor wrinkle ironed out for the second show. The voting resulted in a tie between audience favorites David Marino and Lyssa Strata, so Jesse called for a cheer-off. I feel this was the perfect ending, as both writers provided the best entertainment of the night and deserved the feeling of recognition and pride (or shame?) by being called up for this final tie-breaker. The roars for both were deafening, but Lyssa Strata’s TMNT fiction had won the audience, and she was crowned the Ultimate Smutmaster. And with that, the first show came to a close, and, like many of the story characters, we felt satisfied… if a bit dirty.
All in all, Content Warning is solid entertainment, offering what people want: comedy, geeky references, and, of course, sex. I’m sure it will continue to be a popular addition to the local roster of shows.