Con Man Season 2: Episodes 3 Through 6 – Thath Thowbizth (Review)

Ep 5 Alan and Nolan 1

After season one of Con Man poked fun at the whole fan convention experience, as seen through the eyes of Wray Nerely, season two continues to look at the funny side of working in showbiz. It also takes a slightly different direction than indicated by the season one finale. It appears that the path to a Spectrum film is not quite as cut and dried as Jack thought.

The first two episodes included some moments from season one favorites, Dale, the “female” stuntman and Faith, the delicious, and funny, right-hand woman to Jack Moore. Both characters are gone all too soon but Bobbie is back, to stay it seems, and she has gone from Comic Con agent to agent…agent.

Jack has been offered the role of Doctor Cop Lawyer and he turns it down. Meanwhile Wray does  a commercial, being shot by Diego (who will be shooting the pilot for Doctor Cop Lawyer.). Wray does all his own stunts despite the stuntman offering to do them.

The two talk about the deal in her “spa” (“Hot grease!”) while she massages a customer and makes her plea to become Wray’s full-time representative.

Bobbie has the script and she pushes for Wray to read for the part of “gimpy sidekick” Dr. Richard Trimmings, aka Dr. Dick Trimmings.  (Get it?) The character has a squinty eye, a lisp, and a limp. Wray wants to go for the lead, Dr. Blade Slater.

Bobbie tells Wray that he cannot go for Slater as she submitted herself for the “20 something” dancer role; Blade’s lover. Jack pushes for Wray to do the commercial for Diego, while he orchestrates the Spectrum Movie.

Jack’s personal assistant, Faith, breaks up with both men through a letter. “Blah, blah, blah, self destructive, blah, blah, blah, sexual inconsistency…” Although, it turns out that the letter was not a “Dear Wray” break up note until Nerely insults Faith when she walks in.

Dale exits after “discarding” his broken arm and cast.

Wray learns that Bobbie did not get the part of the 20 something former dancer and that Diego does not want him for the lead role.  After being told by Bobbie to read for the gimpy sidekick, Wray complains to the health food bartender (Van Diem) who drowns him out with the blender.

Ep 6 Alan
Alan Tudyk as Wray Nerely at the audition.

Wray goes to his buddy’s mo-cap lesson. Jerry Lansing offers the class as an alternative to Andy Serkis’ course on doing apes. (“Get out of here you damn dirty ape!”) Lansing takes Wray through the paces of his upcoming audition and how to capture the character of Dick Trimmings.

After the mo-cap training session, Wray goes to the audition. Two Aussie actors let Wray go next and the casting director reveals that Diego is not even at the audition. He is, according to Cindy, watching via the smartphone in her left breast pocket.

The audition takes place in front of three assistants and a trio of children who are in charge of social media. Diego watches while he eats lunch. During the audition, no one looks at Wray except for Sarah, the gum-chomping girl who reads the huge Blade Slater part. Nerely has two lines.

After the audition, Wray becomes agitated by Sarah’s over-enthusiastic chewing and flips out. Enraged, he calls out the entire room, including the absent Diego. (“It’s anaphylactic shock!”) The director asks Wray to audition for another part.

Nerely then reads for the lead. Amid spontaneous applause, Wray leaves the audition and he meets Jerry Lansing all hunched over, limping and lisping, as he comes in to read for Dick Trimmings.

These four episodes were excruciatingly funny. From the breakup with Faith to the mo-cap class with Nolan North, each sequence had plenty of laugh out loud moments. There are also plenty of bits that hit a nerve of truth.

Anyone one who has auditioned for a role will recognise the scenario that Wray faces in his Doctor Cop Lawyer reading.  The sly dig at Australian actors apparently inundating the business was also funny.

Episode five was mainly a lot of sight gags combined with the brilliant delivery of Nolan North as he “teaches” his students to be a variety of animals (No apes!) and aspects of weather.

Dushku and Hathaway killed it in episode six. Huertas is proving that he has comedy chops for days as Diego. (On a sidenote: Nolan North proves once again that apart from being the master of videogame voice acting, he is one of the funniest comic actors in the business.)

There are some brilliant gags in this season. Jack Moore tearfully brushing his toupee, and that huge bald-dome, Bobbie and the whole health food bit, the audition piece, and Lansing turning up “in-character” as Dr. Dick Trimmings. (“Sorry! It’s such a great part!”)

Ep 6 Eliza 1
Eliza Dushku as Cindy

Season two of Con Man is just as irreverent as season one. There are a number of well-loved performers (from the Whedon-verse) who drop by for cameos and the comedy ranges from slapstick to farce.

This time Con Man is airing via Comic Con HQ, versus Vimeo. Head on over now and catch the fun.

Cast:

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: The Hilarity Continues on Vimeo

Alan Tudyk in Con Man

Alan Tudyk’s Con Man (short for Convention Man) continues to shine on Vimeo. Some fans have complained that the price of viewing all the hilarious antics of Tudyk’s character is too steep.  If one rents the entire “season” it does work out to be a little on the dear side.  While the overall tempo of the series is a little uneven, the bits with Leslie Jordon sagged and felt forced. This could, however, be down to the viewers personal taste and not from the material on hand.

Each episode of Con Man is presented in “blocks” of three or more.  the initial offerings were presented on October 1, and included three episodes and guest star Felicia Day. The next release date, October 7,  made four further episodes available and the last “installment,” October 14, went back to three.

The end result of this shotgun release of episodes is appreciated as having to wait for, say another week, for the next 10 to 17 minute installment would have been frustrating. With a number of segments that can be viewed in one sitting, the action, even the bits with Leslie Jordan, moves smoothly and the comedy has a sort of continuity.

The series, if one can call it that, is improving with each multiple release. The last trio of episodes were beyond hysterical.  With Wray Nerely (Tudyk) being fired from a video game voice over session (with veteran voice over artist Nolan North and Milo Ventimiglia staying on) and then getting a call from his old Spectrum buddy, and costar, Jack (Nathan Fillion) about doing a film together and Milo offering up a comic book gig that pays $5K.

At Jack’s house, Wray gets bad news from Faith (Alison Haislip) while playing Marco Polo. Later at the comic book store an inebriated Nerely manages to insult his marine assistant and barely escapes a mob out for his blood. Said mob includes Michael Dorn, Seth Green   and Kevin Grevioux

The last three episodes are beyond hysterical as Wray stumbles from one disaster to another.  One scene, with Ventimiglia, where Nerely keeps putting his elbow in what looks to be paint, is spot on.  With his booking agent texting him repeatedly throughout the interaction between Wray, the dumpster and Milo.

Each episode feels like a “spot the celeb” or even spot the science fiction icon, or Firefly costar, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau and Fillion all are in Con Man, although Fillion is billed as “starring” and the rest are in cameos.  Rather interestingly, Maher has an incredibly long cameo, lasting over three episodes.

The entire series, which is getting funnier with each episode, feels like a sort of science fiction convention potpourri. There are performers associated with Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica,  et al, along with Geek Goddess Felicia Day,  the iconic Wil Wheaton and Seth Green as well as a plethora of “names” like Nolan North (who is, perhaps,  the man who has voiced more video games than anyone…ever).

Con Man cast...partial...

Con Man has only three episodes left in its first season.  Wray Nerely has gotten the worst possible news and while Jack, his film star buddy from Spectrum is overjoyed at the prospect of doing a film with his old pal, Wray is beyond distraught.

This fan-funded project, via Indiegogo.com is  a real treasure. Sure, at $15 for the entire season it is a bit “costly.” But…For fans of science fiction, Joss Whedon (and yes Joss has a cameo), Firefly, The Guild, and all things geek and sundry (see what we did there) and who actually suffer “nerdgasms”  at the thought of attending the  next  Comic Con?

It is so worth it.

Con Man, playing on a Vimeo screen near you…or on your laptop, tablet, smartphone…well  you get the idea…

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.

 

The Last of Us Sequel Confirmed?

Poster for The Last of Us
Nolan North, the actor whose voice seems to be in just about every video game made over the last 10 years, and who also worked on the Naughty Dog game The Last of Us, has apparently confirmed a sequel. North, best known perhaps for his work in the Uncharted franchise, another Naughty Dog game series, which (on a side note) will be back in Uncharted 4 with, Troy Baker (from The Last of Us) and Emily Rose is back as Elena Fisher, as well as Assassin’s Creed, from Ubisoft, as Desmond Miles.

In The Last of Us Troy Baker worked as Joel, along with the wonderful Ashley Johnson (aka @TheVulcanSalute) as Ellie and Nolan voiced crazy bad guy David who sounds completely unlike anyone else North has voiced. So it is a nice touch to see Baker “cross-over” as it were to Uncharted territory.

All fanboy gushing aside, North was at MetroCon where he was “caught” talking about The Last of Us 2. A question was posed about whether Nolan had any further Naughty Dog work lined up and he says, “I know they’ve got The Last of Us 2…” If following the link, and the reader does not want to watch the entire video, Nolan says this around 1:06, feel free to jump forward.

This is pretty exciting but also a bit concerning. In terms of games and almost perfect endings, Joel and Ellie’s journey stops where it should. There was no real place to spot an opportunity for sequel city to come in. For anyone who played the game it goes without saying that their world was not going to be a great place to be in by the end.

Still, the voice work of Johnson and Baker gave this “out-of-the-box” gaming experience a reality and empathy that propelled the gameplay into a different experience from most games on offer. The news that Naughty Dog want to return is a mixed blessing for fans of both the company and their games. With Nolan’s “slip” all that remains is for Neil Druckmann and company to provide a little more information for fans.

Until any official word is released, have a look at the remastering trailer for The Last of Us for the PS4: