Con Man: Alan Tudyk Vimeo Series Ends on a High

Sean Astin, Alan Tudyk and Nolan North

Alan Tudyk’s homage to all things convention-al, as in Con (vention) Man on Vimeo has ended on a hilarious high note. The last three episodes were released on October 21, aka BTTF day, and had some of the funniest moments yet. Apart from all this humor and nods, winks and hat doffing to Firefly, Tudyk, and his gang, decided reward all those fans who plunked out to rent the entire series.

Literally a day before the final trio of installments were aired, Alan, via Vimeo, announced that those of us who forked out for the whole shooting match, as it were, now own the series and can watch it “until the end of time.” Or something along those lines…

This is a pretty epic turn of events for anyone who: a) was not on board to fund the project but excited about it anyway and b) or finds Tudyk’s comedic talents naturally funny.  Remember Alan was adept at comic performances as long ago as Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story which was years before Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.

The last episodes had more of Fillion and included the lovely, and oh so funny Amy Acker who proved that she too is incredibly adept at comedy.  It also saw the return of Alison Haislip as Jack’s assistant (Only mentioned because this reviewer has a huge crush on this performer because not only is she gorgeous but her comedy chops are strong as well…just saying.).

Kudos to Skyler Day, there cannot be many performers who can pull off “blissfully stoned” so well and to that “fat-suit” placed on Liza Lapira. Not since the Korean high school horror flick Wishing Stairs has there been so convincing a prosthetic. 

Fans who coughed up donations for this comic fest of in-jokes and cameos by a plethora of Joss Whedon alumni and the big guy himself, must be pleased. There were bits by those who are not from the Whedon “stable” like Michael Dorn and Casper Van Dien as the bartender (a number of times) and other “icons” in Geekdom like Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. Along with many others from the science fiction world.

Some of the middle bits, those with Leslie Jordan failed to connect with this viewer but fortunately the video game voiceover artist that is legend, aka Nolan North being part of the series, along with a number of other favorites and sly winks to Firefly made up for  the lackluster bit in the middle. Also a quick peek at Jewel Staite in full Captain Mal garb was another lovely treat.

Stand out moment of the last three episodes (apart from the sleeping pee scene in Jack’s bathroom) had to be Jack Donner and his 90 year-old “lady stuntman” schtick. The scene between Mindy Sterling and Donner has me in hysterics. Note to other viewers, if easily embarrassed do not watch this scene in a fast food restaurant. 

Honorary shout out to Fillion’s running about with the cops handgun, as Jack, and “Screw Vegas.” Amy Acker channels her inner crazy beautifully.

As anyone who has ever attended a comic con, or Star Trek convention, or any themed con, will recognize the madness and excitement levels that are all apart of these events.  This is also a lovely way to see many of the old Firefly and Serenity players together, albeit mostly via cameos, but together all the same.

Alan Tudyk’s Con Man ends on a high note and the Vimeo series was funny as well as fun.  Enjoyable gags and great cameos make this one heck of a great series.  Check it out and prepare laugh all the way through.

 

 

Con Man: Alan Tudyk for the Win (Review)

Bobbi, Wray and Karen in Wray's room in Con Man.

Having come late to the Con Man Web Series (which started as an Indiegogo project a mere  six months ago), it was with keen excitement,  and not a little fanboy giddiness, that the entire first season was rented via Vimeo online. This project, which is being written and directed by Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Serenity, Tucker and Dale Vs Evil), is a great “spot the guest star” series that is an epic  win for the performer.

Con Man, which is short for Convention Man (“Because it sounds cooler” according to the show’s publicity campaign.) follows the adventures of Tudyk’s character who, like Alan, played a pilot in a very short-lived television science fiction show. Wray Nerely (Tudyk) is an actor who, like the name implies, is nearly a star.

While the science fiction conventions Wray attends allow him to be adored by the fans of Spectrum, the Con Man version of Firefly, his career has stalled out. Frustrated and anxious Nerely has issues with his convention organizer, the fans, his aide, friends and just about everyone he meets and interacts with.

Nerely’s co-star from the cancelled series, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) has the success that Wray dreams of.  Films, fame and rubbing elbows with the world’s celebrities make up the life of Moore post Spectrum.

The first four episodes of Con Man take place prior to, during, and just after a science fiction convention. Guest stars are: Sean Astin, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, Nolan North, Will Wheaton and  Mindy Sterling.

The dialogue is brilliant. Obviously Tudyk has written the lines based upon comments heard at conventions.  In episode one, Stalled, the  exchange between Nerely and a fan, while both are on the toilet  in adjoining stalls, is priceless. The obnoxious fan, who will not take no for an answer, is voiced by The Greg Wilson:

“Did you ever see that show Spectrum?”

“No.”

“Greatest canceled TV show ever.”

While that exchange screams Firefly, it also has that element of truth about the fans who inhabit the convention world.  References to the Joss Whedon series abound, as do other film nods and winks. Nolan North appears in what looks suspiciously like one of the soldiers from Galaxy Quest (a comedy film about another popular canceled science fiction series).  There is also a fan who clearly is a reference to Mystique from X-Men as well (she drops off some bourbon balls).

Fans of Nolan North will be impressed to see that not only is the man hysterically funny at Comic Con but he can do “proper comedy” as well. Granted the man is an actor of great skills and range, but to many he is the “video game’ voice of Nathan Drake – Uncharted, Desmond Miles – Assassin’s Creed, The Prince  – Prince of Persia and about a million other video game characters.

Felicia Day plays the “con” volunteer (who dresses exactly like Nerely) and does her usual perfect job with precise comic delivery that many only dream of. In some ways, Con Man feels like it belongs firmly  in The Guild territory. Fans of that web series will remember that Fillion also appeared in an episode of the long running show that Day created,  wrote and starred in. The web series made Day the pinup girl for geeks and nerds everywhere.

Fillion has a cameo in Con Man where he gets some great lines, delivered as only the Castle star can. Nerely gets a call from his now very famous former co-star and Wray asks Moore to put in a good word for him with Clint Eastwood (He has an audition for an Eastwood western):

Moore: “All famous people don’t know other famous people, Wray…But yeah I know him. He borrowed my lawn mower. He owes me a favor.”

Tudyk is the real star here, his comic timing is superb and his character’s visit to the convention is one long comedy of errors. From his booking agent not putting him in first class to his mixing a pain pill and alcohol before a platinum member meet and greet, the performer sails through each catastrophic event with ease.

In Retarding It All Up Wray tries to recover from the platinum party and his “I hate Science Fiction gaffe” from the night before. As Nerely begins his talk at the scheduled Q&A the actor in Tudyk appears to channel his “inner Joss.”  He speech pattern and tone appear to be a spot on imitation of Whedon that is truly funny.

Available on Vimeo, Con Man is geek gold. Fun to watch, amusing enough that if one watches it in a crowed public place they should prepare to be embarrassed (not shooting your drink through your nose embarrassed but close).  This is an epic “win” of a web series where spotting the celeb guest stars is almost as much fun as the show itself.

Kudos to all involved. There is not one clunky performance from any of the actors on this series.  Special mention goes to Mindy Sterling and while all the scenes were funny…The Nolan North monologue about Mo-Cap was hysterical as was the laptop gag with Tudyk and the cup of coffee.

Head over to Vimeo and check this out, as if fans needed urging,  and prepare to laugh hard and a lot. Con Man; Alan Tudyk as Wray Nerely  from Spectrum (a thinly disguised Tudyk from Firefly) is comedy brilliance on demand.