Rude, crude and incredible lewd, My Dad Wrote A Porno is the fabulously filthy podcast. We caught up with Jamie Morton, James Cooper and Alice Levine for Issue #014 of the magazine, to discuss why they chose podcasting, the secret to their infectious chemistry and why you should tune in to the most recent season. This is The Gospel According to… My Dad Wrote A Porno.
For the few that may not be aware, tell us about your show! What’s your elevator pitch?
James Cooper: In 2015, Jamie’s dad wrote a series of extremely graphic, poorly erotic novels out of the blue called Belinda Blinked under the nom-de-porn, Rocky Flintstone. Jamie read them to us and we all found them so brilliantly bonkers that they needed to be shared far and wide. It’s proved so popular, we’re about to open the sixth book in Rocky’s magnum opus. In each episode, Jamie reads a chapter of his father’s smut and myself and Alice critique / tear it to shreds – affectionately, of course. The elevator pitch would be: Do you like porn? Do you like laughing? Then you’ll love My Dad Wrote A Porno.
Why podcasting? What is it about the format that interested you personally?
Jamie Morton: The minute I read my dad’s dodgy porn, Belinda Blinked with James and Alice we knew we wanted to do something with it, the question was what. The material as too salacious for a web series and too risky for a broadcaster. But a podcast seemed the perfect fit. Much like how the 50 Shades phenomenon benefited from the anonymity of ebooks, we figured people could ‘enjoy’ Belinda’s adventures in the privacy of their own headphones. There is a unique quality to podcasting that creates an incredibly intimate bond between host and audience. Our aim was always to make the listener feel like the fourth friend around the table with us and I think podcasts are the only medium that can truly achieve that.
What’s the secret to good chemistry between multiple podcast hosts?
Alice Levine: I’d love to say we had some big secret but we’ve been friends for nearly 20 years and that shared history is very hard to imitate. There is a certain shorthand that comes with that. We know when someone is teetering on the edge of corpsing just what to say to make them lose it. We know how to build on a joke with each other rather than step on each other’s toes. A big part of the dynamic with the three of us is an understanding that there’s no competition, we all just want it to be the best it can be and we are working as a team to get there – so who lands a punchline is really not a concern.
Which podcasts or hosts have you taken inspiration from?
James Cooper: A comparison that we get occasionally is The Ricky Gervais Show podcast – they find joy in the absurdity of Karl Pilkington and we find joy in the absurdity of Rocky Flintstone’s erotica. But we’ve found the success of the show has come from just being true to ourselves, really.
We’re very excited about the new series*, what can we expect?
Jamie Morton: We left Belinda and co on quite the cliff hanger last series so I feel we can expect some pretty dramatic twists and revelations in book 6. What’s been incredible about the ‘Belinda Blinked’ journey is how Dad has evolved in his writing. What started as a pretty basic ‘story’ about boring business deals has developed into a rather compelling spy novel. I mean, it’s as slight as an episode of Loose Women but he has a way of creating a really gripping read with brilliant characters. Will Belinda escape from the clutches of her evil pots and pans competitor Herr Bisch? Will the blueprints of the Tri-Oxy-Brillo range ever be recovered safely? What does the three B’s tattoo on her thigh mean? I can’t believe I care, but I am honestly counting down the days until we find out!
How have you found working on the podcast during a pandemic?
Alice Levine: We’ve spent A LOT of time having frustrating bad wifi chats on zoom like everyone else! But we did make the most of it by hosting a night in with us at the beginning of all of this which was really fun. We decided that a big part of the energy and atmosphere of our show is the three of us being in the same room. Luckily it works that our season is starting in the middle of 2021, so hopefully we won’t be too disrupted.
Which episodes of the show mean the most to you?
James Cooper: Some of the guests on our ‘Footnotes’ episodes – Dame Emma Thompson, Lin-Manuel Miranda – have been pretty special. They’re people we’ve always admired so when they want to come on our stupid little show, it’s so exciting. I also love any episode where the three of us just can’t hold it together from laughing – the first Christmas special we did is a prime example of that. But if you’re a newbie, you really have to start at series 1 episode 1 – it’s how it all began and sets up the rest of the show.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring podcaster, what would it be?
Jamie Morton: My top tip for anyone starting a podcast is to really embrace the edit. In my opinion, editing is the most important part of the creative process. You need to have objectivity and be prepared to kill your darlings for the greater good of the show. Concise, tight podcasts are what audiences expect and deserve. Remember, if you’re asking strangers to invest 40 minutes of their day to you, you owe them the best 40 minutes you can produce.
Finally, what podcasts are you enjoying at the moment?
Jamie Morton: How It Happened by AXIOS – An in-depth look at how Trump dealt with his election loss, from the night the polls closed to the insurrection at the Capitol. Amazingly sourced, for the first time you get a glimpse of events from the Oval Office’s perspective and it’s truly damning and utterly shocking.
James Cooper: I really enjoy occasionally dipping into Beautiful Anonymous with Chris Gethard – the host calls an anonymous person and has an hour long conversation with them about whatever they want to talk about. It’s got some fascinating stories and perspectives – really worth a listen.
Alice Devine: Nice White Parents – A five-part series about building a better public school system, and what gets in the way. Made by the team behind smash hit Serial. Such a compelling listen and a masterclass is story telling.
*Series 6 My Dad Wrote A Porno started in May 2021! The World Tour continues in 2022 – full details available at mydadwroteaporno.com.