Ray Flook attended NYCC for Bleeding Cool;
There are some panels that are very structured, with a moderator; a set panel; audio/visual presentations; and usually time at the end for a "Q&A." There are other panels that are less structured, usually where the "Q&A" starts earlier and the conversations have a structured-yet-loose flow to them.
Then there's the THE CYANIDE & HAPPINESS SHOW! panel: an entirely different beast altogether, and one of the unexpected highlights of the weekend. But I'll get back to that in a minute…
Let me begin by getting the "panel news and announcement stuff" out of the way, because Kris (Wilson) and Dave (McElfatrick) had some very interesting things to share with C&H fans…
The panel began with a screening of "Birthday Boy"and "Rascals;" and even though I'm pretty sure this wasn't the first time most of the audience has seen these, you couldn't tell from the laughter and cheers. I'm still impressed with how smoothly the web comics transition to these shorts.
When discussing the immediate future of C&H, the guys threw out some prime teasers for the audience: a 90-minute musical ("We had this idea for a 90-minute-long musical. A lot of it is done and written already. Hopefully, that will be our next project."-Kris Wilson); a shorter musical episode; and a longer, 12-minute "depressing" episode inspired by the positive feedback they received for "Depressing Comics Week" ("It'll be twelve minutes of miserable shit." -Dave McElfatrick). One thing you shouldn't be holding your breath for? A Broadway musical ("I would not like to see a live-action CYANIDE & HAPPINESS." -Kris Wilson).
As I alluded to before, what impressed me the most about the THE CYANIDE & HAPPINESS SHOW! Panel was the free-flowing exchange between the audience and the creators. Two minutes into the "Q&A" session and the entire room felt like I was sitting at home with my friends, cracking jokes about everyone and everything so that everyone felt like they belonged, no one felt left out. Because of that, covering the panel was like trying to wash your car with a paper towel: you're going to miss some stuff. The visuals add much more to the panel than just words, so what follows are some highlights from the panel-long "Q&A" session…with some context when possible (though some are best left to the imagination):
When they're writing C&H, they use each other as comedy guinea pigs. (When we're writing now, it almost always starts with trying to make another guy laugh." -Dave McElfatrick)
"Orphanage" and "pornography" was one of the more memorable highlights of the "Suggestion Box" at their convention booth.
Some kids are worried about their mothers seeing a sketch of "Satan's d*ck."
Only C&H they remember taking down was a "September 12th" comic, but it was due to relevancy and not the content of the comic.
The Purple-Shirted Eye-Stabber is always ready to stab.
In Ireland, no one is pleasant to anyone and everyone's "up to their necks in mud."(-Dave)
In Wyoming, mailman deliver the mail in "monster trucks" and people can be found dead in ditches in very interesting ways.
Kris's worst/least favorite comic he created came at the end of a long night of drinking, bunk-beds and strange voices…just before they were scheduled to attend a convention that morning…and he's pretty sure it involved using coffee to tell time. (NOTE: Was this it?)
One of the best and most memorable dreams Dave's ever had was when he imagined himself as Bill Goldberg, a professional wrestler who wrestled for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). That dream also included the swirling lights; the explosion of smoke that Dave was standing in the middle of; and Dave punching himself in the head repeatedly as he made his way to the ring. I'm sure a therapist would have a filed-day with that one…
The purpose of C&H is to make people laugh and think…not to offend ("If the point of the comic is too offend, then it's not fun," -Kris).
Cosplayers in the audience with swords make the panelists nervous, but it's really easy to get them to turn on one another.
Might consider another writing submission contest, but the last one was larger than expected and that was before C&H really grew in popularity.
For Dave, one of the more memorable encounters he's had since C&H became popular also resulted in one of his most bizarre fan gifts: a cancer survivor told him how much the comics meant to him while he was going through treatment…and then proceeded to give Dave the tumor as a "souvenir." ("So Dave…so your best fan ever had brain damage?")
Dave is introducing Kris to British TV shows, like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Peep Show.
I'm still not sure what exactly this section was about, but I think it had to do with Hitler twerking and Jesus coming down to slap him…but don't quote me on that one.
"Bowling With Your Own Skull" was an agreed-upon favorite of the panel.
REMEMBER FUTURE AUDIENCE MEMBERS: It's a "question-and-answer"…NOT an "answer-and-answer."
It was unanimous: body parts are still the weirdest things they get asked to sign.
Peeing Lemonade: the power Dave would want if he had to have a "sexy/dirty" super power.
"Uhhh…half of my family is Mormon…sooo…" -Kris (discussing his families' initial reactions when he first showed them his work)
The hour went by like it was nothing, and from the energy of the crowd it was plain to see that they would've easily done another hour…two hours…but no one left disappointed. Especially not the die-hard fans…and after tonight, I think C&H may have converted a few more.