Why you should care

Because one son’s mortification is another man’s entertainment.

Somewhere in the imaginings of an amateur erotic writer in late middle age, a sales manager — sweaty and, shall we say, undressed — leads a regional sales meeting in an upmarket conference room sensibly located off the M5 motorway. His duty is to ensure that a 3,000-unit order of Oxy Brillo leaves the loading dock in Milton Keynes on time and under budget; his lack of trousers is secondary. So are the other unrepeatable goings-on that take place in this meeting between him and lady sales directors wearing even less than he.

Are you uncomfortable yet? Now imagine that this writer — pen name Rocky Flintstone — is also your real-life father. Would you invite two friends over for a roundtable reading, glug a lot of wine and release the results as a podcast?

You probably wouldn’t, but that’s only part of what makes Jamie Morton’s My Dad Wrote a Porno stand out in the veritable ocean of podcasts. Morton, with his friends James Cooper and BBC Radio’s Alice Levine, reads aloud from his dad’s unintentionally absurdist erotic novel, Belinda Blinks, chapter by chapter, sipping wine and laughing the whole way through.

That Rocky’s fantasies are both ridiculous and charmingly bizarre allows us to laugh.

“The core element of My Dad Wrote a Porno’s success is the genuine warmth the three hosts have with each other,” says Kerry Donohue, director of the Columbia Journalism School’s Audio Program. “They clearly enjoy spending time together and revel in the awkwardness of the pretty terrible erotic novel Jamie’s dad wrote.”

MDWAP quickly becomes addictive, not because of any discernible plot — Belinda Blinks is as interested in, say, the CB2 catalog as it is in ball gags — but rather because the hosts have created an environment that’s friendly, loving and incredibly open-minded. Cooper and Levine make fun of Flintstone’s work — it’s impossible not to. But beneath the chuckles and gasps of revulsion lies a kindness rare in comedy. These are people you’d want to hang out with (but who sadly did not reply to our requests for comment).

The show also taps into the same phenomenon that made Everybody Poops America’s favorite bathroom reading material: the euphoria that comes from confronting and conquering shame. Just as we all … well … poop, so too do we fantasize. That Rocky’s fantasies are both ridiculous and charmingly bizarre allows us to laugh — at him and our own prurient, judgmental selves. Are our own fantasies any less weird? And what makes a fantasy “weird,” anyway? MDWAP, with its humor and generosity, chips away at taboo and the fear of what others might think. So you get turned on by the smell of ink toner? So you want to have an orgy with Bad Andy and the Noid? That’s gross … but what isn’t? You’re just like everybody else.

Now go write a book.

OZYGood Sh*t

If you’d want to drink it, eat it, wear it, ride it, drive it; if it’d be cool to see, listen to or do, we’re writing about it.