Audio hilarity: Heads Will Roll by Kate McKinnon and Emily Lynne

Need another reason to love Audible Originals? Check out this new one — a sublimely silly audio delight from the talented Kate McKinnon and (her sister) Emily Lynne:

 

About This Audible Original

Please note: This content is not for kids. It is for mature audiences only. This audio comedy features sexual content, adult language and themes, and violence against peasants and hobgoblins alike. Discretion is advised.

Heads Will Roll is an Audible Original from Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon and her co-creator/co-star (and real-life sister) Emily Lynne. Produced by Broadway Video, this is not an audiobook—it’s a 10-episode, star-studded, audio comedy that features performances from Meryl Streep, Tim Gunn, Peter Dinklage, Queer Eye’s Fab Five, and so many more.

Queen Mortuana of the Night Realm (McKinnon) and her ditsy raven minion JoJo (Lynne) receive a prophecy about a peasant uprising. Together, they must journey to find the Shard of Acquiescence, which will put down the rebellion and save the throne. Will their friendship survive sensitive generals, chatty sex slaves, whiny behemoths, princes with bird fetishes, and the notion of democracy?

This raunchy satire also includes the wicked talents of Andrea Martin, Carol Kane, Audra McDonald, Aidy Bryant, Alex Moffat, Heidi Gardner, Chris Redd, Steve Higgins, Bob the Drag Queen, Esther Perel, and more. So, hold on to your head, and let the bad times roll.

Oh my. What a blast. If you’re looking for something light and utterly ridiculous — yet ridiculously entertaining — you must check out Heads Will Roll. The episodes follow the ongoing challenges of evil Queen Mortuana, who maybe — just maybe — might be getting tired of all this queen business… or maybe it’s just the negative press that’s wearing her down.

The commercials throughout the episodes are awesome — advertising wacky concepts like floors and monotheism (okay, you really need to listen to realize how funny this it — I’m terrible at repeating jokes), and there are some truly catchy medieval melodies that move the narration forward (and had me humming along to some seriously NSFW lyrics).

Kate McKinnon is brilliant, as expected, and Emily Lynne, as the cursed princess-turned-raven Jojo, is amazing too. I’m not particularly good at recognizing voices (still not sure which character Peter Dinklage voiced), but Meryl Streep is of course instantly identifiable — gotta love her dry humor as she plays a famous actress who ends up becoming the leader of the rebellion and a political activist.

And let’s not forget the rebellion consulting team, the corporate branding of battering rams, hags and poisoners and support groups, co-dependent gods, overbearing crow in-laws, and much, much more.

Just so much fun. A mood-lifting, very funny highlight of my week!

Audible Original: 4 hours, 6 minutes

A little taste:

For more info, check out the Audible page, here.

Audiobook double feature: Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets and Have A Nice Day

Audible Originals came through for me in a big way this week, as I listened to two terrific productions that really made me happy.

 

Legendary British comic Stephen Fry is our tour guide to the highs and the lows of Victorian society. In popular culture, the straitlaced era is portrayed as one of propriety, industry, prudishness, and piety. But scratch the surface and you’ll find haunting tales of scandal, sadism, sex, madness, malice, and murder.

“They were us in different dress and slightly different codes,” says Fry, whose signature wit and whimsy are in full force in this Audible Original. Find the quirky, dark, and forbidden details and family skeletons that even the most distinguished and conventional households attempted to cover up and hide, as you listen for the humanity beyond the polished veneer of this most fascinating era.

This audio adventure is a fun look at the secrets of the Victorian era, covering everything from fashion to lunacy to sexual orientation, plus sewers, sanitation, Sherlock Holmes, and more. Stephen Fry narrates, explaining the context and the strange stories from that time, and including interviews with historical experts and excerpts from diaries and newspapers of the time — all of which make the tales come to life. Parts of Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets are quite sad or disturbing, and some topics were of greater interest to me than others… but all in all, it’s really an informative and entertaining listen.

Audible Original: 7 hours, 33 minutes

 

Have a Nice Day features a live multi-cast script reading captured over two evenings at Minetta Lane Theatre in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

Tony and Emmy Award winner Billy Crystal leads an all-star cast including Oscar winner Kevin Kline (President David Murray) and four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (First Lady Katherine Murray) in a performance of this hilarious and poignant story about a man desperately scrambling to put his affairs in order: to save his presidency, his marriage, his relationship with his daughter—and possibly his life.

President David Murray starts the day in crisis. He’s lost control of Congress, has to decide whether to run for a second term, and his wife and teenage daughter are barely talking to him. What’s more, the Angel of Death has sent a rather inept “repo man” who is at the foot of his bed, giving him only one more day to live.

Cast members include Justin Bartha, Irene Bedard, Annette Bening, Chris Cafero, Dick Cavett, Auli’i Cravalho, Billy Crystal, Rachel Dratch, Darrell Hammond, Christopher Jackson, Robert King, Kevin Kline, and Robin Thede.

Have a Nice Day was an unexpected treat! I listened to this all in one go while out for a long walk, and got completely sucked into the funny yet poignant story of a man — in this case, the President of the United States — trying to make things right on the last day of his life. The story is written by Billy Crystal and Quinton Peeples, and features Billy Crystal as death’s messenger. Kevin Kline is terrific, as is Annette Bening and the rest of the cast. The story is sweet, and includes just enough laughs to keep it from getting too sappy. Still, I found myself really moved by the story of a good man trying to make amends to his wife and daughter –while also trying to keep his security detail and White House aides from freaking out over his caught-on-video moments going viral.

This is a relatively short listen, perfect for one of those weeks when your time is limited.

Audible Original; 1 hour, 46 minutes

If you’re an audiobook fan looking for a break from longer books or wanting to switch up fictional pursuits with something a bit different, give one (or both) of these recordings a try!