For Supernatural fans, Richard Speight Jr. and Rob Benedict are God-like … literally. As recurring characters on the show, Speight played the archangel Gabriel, while Benedict played a prophet who is believed to also be the big man upstairs. But here’s the thing: That was five years ago. Other than a cameo or two, both Speight and Benedict wrapped their storylines on the show in 2010. So how does their fame live on? Two words: Fan conventions.
Thanks to Supernatural‘s passionate fan base, Speight and Benedict now spend 12 to 14 weekends a year attending fan conventions, where they’re two of the biggest stars in the world. Then, the convention ends, and they’re back to living their everyday lives.
“One of the things that stood out to us just in life in doing cons was the disparity between going into a hotel packed with people who are literally tripping over each other to get your autograph and then leaving that hotel on Sunday and coming back to a town where you are persona non grata,” Speight said. “The juxtaposition is pretty dramatic.”
And that strange juxtaposition—combined with the even more strange happenings at these conventions—gave them an idea about a year and a half ago.
“Doing conventions, you can’t not find yourself in some bizarre situations doing some weird things,” Speight said. “And every time that would happen, Rob would turn and go, ‘This is a show.’ You say it four or five times and then you’re like, it really is a show. What are we doing? Let’s make a show.”
Taking those weird situations and then adding the rapport that Speight and Benedict had developed over the six years of doing these conventions together, they knew they were onto something. When they found themselves co-hosting some of the conventions—like Letterman and Paul Shaffer, according to Speight—they realized that they had an opportunity.
And that’s when they filmed the pilot for Kings of Con, a series that tells the story of Rob and Rich, two men who are “super famous … 13 weekends a year,” according to the show’s tagline. With an ongoing Indiegogo campaign, they’re trying to raise the funds to film a complete 10-episode first season, following their lives on the fan convention circuit. But you should know that it’s not a reality show.
Speight and Benedict play exaggerated versions of themselves, and Benedict estimates the episodes are 60 percent scripted and 40 percent improvisation. Having only shot the pilot episode at this point, they’re waiting to see how much they raise through their Indiegogo campaign to determine how many episodes they’ll complete. And EW has an exclusive look at the opening scene of the show.
“The same way that Broad City is about the two broads, Kings of Con is about the kings,” Speight said. “Kings of Con is largely leaning on the TV versions of Rob and Rich and their escapades. That lends itself to a natural series arc, and in the same way that it’s not a reality for them, being famous isn’t really their life. But they get to go and pretend that they are somebody that they’re not, which is also part of the double meaning of being a con for Kings of Con.”
With each episode taking place in a different city, there is the promise of other Supernatural favorites making appearances, though they won’t say who just yet. “I can tell you that most of them, when they heard about it, asked us,” Benedict said. “They’ve all been incredibly supportive of it. Because the fact is, we all do this together. We’re like a traveling circus. It’s not just Rich and I.”
Speight added, “It’s definitely a road show. When you go to the hierarchy of the show, Rob and I were recurring characters. We were fortunate to have characters that made a big impact, but we weren’t long-standing players on the show. But in the con world, we’ve all been there the same amount of time. We’ve basically been opening for The Rolling Stones on tour for the last seven years.”
With 32 days left on the Indiegogo campaign, Kings of Con is nearing the $150,000 mark, with a goal of $300,000 getting fans a full slate of episodes.