dan harmon.

Standing in a line stretching a block and around a side street eventually wrapping around to the backside of the unfortunately-named Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon, I see a crowd of three appear from behind a tall stone building composed of a tall, black-bearded dungeon master, a handsome-as-hell black-suited improviser, and a bearded, bespectacled & drunk writer, all emerging from some unknown bar and now, perhaps accidentally, walking the line. The hundred or more group of us grow quiet before whooping and applauding the three even before they've done anything to garner our admiration and affection. People begin muttering to friends as the improviser stands to stare at a dark green Lotus car conspicuously parked before they all three vanish behind the structures aligning the Hollywood Theatre from the side street I'm on as they slip toward the green room.

I talk nervously to my companions: Jordan, a mustachioed guitarist and screenwriter and friend; and Jonah, a bearded presumably bassist and podcast-enthusiast vaper and acquaintance. I finish my slice of Atomic pizza and refill on water as the stop-and-start traffic slowly leaks into the movie theatre. The place is packed to the rafters when we three bounce in but we land a fairly sweet spot toward the back centered on the main microphone; another few dozen people file in behind us. Jonah gets caramel corn and beer; I get eager. I glance around and smile at my fellow passengers in this weird hour-plus car ride we all agreed on taking together with our twelves of dollars. The improviser Jeff Davis comes to the stage to do a sound check before the live feed and recording begin. People chuckle as he gets everything plugged in. The show begins.

Loud open-source beats score Jeff's announcement that we are all welcome to Harmontown and introduction of the mayor of said town, Dan Harmon. A roar erupts, ovation, cheers, happiness as our overweight civil servant comes to the forefront of the stage and sings family until the music ends. Two significant delights of the night for me include a description of a brief encounter during his six hours drinking before the show with a fellow alcoholic who didn't know who he was and didn't really care but wanted to know why people were walking up to hug and flatter him. He explained his podcast; the other said "What's that?"; he said "It's a thing..."; the other said "Oh so radio" and continued "Why are you famous though?"; "I'm not; you're experiencing what it's like drinking two blocks from the venue"; the bully said "Well, I'm gonna ask my son. He's in college. Would he know you?" to which Dan replied "You bet your sweet ass he does!" Time passed, and the dick followed-up with "He googled you and says he hasn't heard of him" and that was the story of how he met the first Portlander he doesn't like.

The second was Dan's boredom in a hotel room causing him to think watching Human Centipede 3 was a good idea. What emerged was an amazing 40 minutes on breaking down the movie that's self-aware enough to know that it's a movie but not self-aware enough to know that it shouldn't exist. As the prophecies have foretold, if the show isn't written, then God is writing the show. Turns out God is insecure about his penis size and the human average, wants to get to the bottom of a child who is impenetrably complex, discuss Twitter rules with the dungeon master Spencer & an irritated Celtics fan and play Shadowrun with a lady willing to talk shop on nipples. The show ends with Dan saying "My wife didn't do me a favor by marrying me; if anything she did herself a favor" and Spencer retorting "I think she did us all a favor." And I was there. My place in history is secure knowing that my hollering and claps and joy are buried, hidden deep within an audio & video recording of a stage show I love without reason.

I love a man I've never met. I admire his work. I think about his relationship to his wife. I philosophize with his ramblings in my head. His thoughts have become my own over the past three years. And I may never share two words with the guy other than on Twitter, but his show is so endearing and lovable and funny; it feels like the warmest a digital hug can be. I love him. And I think he loves me.

Adam Papes