I always look forward to seeing James Finn Garner and Paul Erickson at Wizard World. Over the years, I have interviewed each and have become friends with them. They are two of the most entertaining people I have ever met (and these comic cons are full of entertaining people).
At the Chicago Wizard World, Paul was talking about "Jar Jar Wars," his newest parody. He asked me if I would have any interest in playing a small part in a panel event later in the convention. Would I have any interest? Oh heck yes! Not only does my massive ego demand I participate, but my quest for fun was tickled.
"Jar Jar Wars" is Paul's attempt to help George Lucas make that Star Wars thing a bit more successful. Actually, I will let Paul explain, "At this event we will review two ways George Lucas (writer-director of the films "THX 1138" and "American Graffiti") could finally get the recognition he deserves for an obscure science fiction/fantasy film he made in 1977. First, he could fix the weak science (Sound in space? The Kessel Run in twelve parsecs?) and strange plot elements (No medal for Chewbacca?). Second, he could make it easier for us to identify with the weird characters (A wizard, a sasquatch, and a guy in a black diving helmet?)."
Paul showed me my lines and I committed them to memory. I was determined to nail this part (and hopefully set myself up for future roles in Paul's "productions").
As I sat on stage, I saw the room fill with people. There had to be about 250 people or so in attendance. I was surrounded by real talent, too. Could I possibly hold my own amongst this assemblage?
The moment came for my part and I started off well, but flubbed it a bit, before recovering and finishing strong. I maintain that I was prepared, but I got thrown off my game (I have game?) by the humor all around. I was literally cracking up through the entire segment.
In all seriousness, I was tickled to be a part of this. Years ago, when I met these guys, I never figured I would become part of this. This is testament to what good guys they are and also to what can happen and develop from these conventions. Thank you Paul for a fun experience.
I strongly encourage everyone to check out Jar Jars Wars on Facebook. You'll get info and updates there. You might want to save yourself the trouble and just buy the book already! You will want it once you get hooked.
This piece was mostly about Paul and "Jar Jar Wars," but the man to my left has a cool book series centered on Rex Koko, private clown. While clown noir might be a strange concept, it is even stranger in reality and it is awesome! I have all three of his books and I highly recommend you check out JamesFinnGarner.com to learn all about him, too.
The Nerd Readers Theatre Ensemble in Rosemont, IL-August 2015.