Thrilling Adventure Hour #49: Captain Laserbeam! “Poetic Injustice!”
By Katie Levine on November 28, 2011
Starring John DiMaggio as Captain Laserbeam, heroic scion of Apex City. Also starring Busy Philipps, Danny Pudi, Craig Cackowski, James Urbaniak, Mark Gagliardi, Hal Lublin, and Alison Brie. Recorded as part of the San Francisco SketchFest on January 22, 2011.
The theme for Captain Laserbeam is one of my favorites. It’s the rock and rollest thing of which I’ve been a part. People who say “of which I’ve been a part” do not often get to write rock and roll type things. I even enjoy the original demo for the song, which is just Andy Paley and Dave (Gruber) Allen acoustic, harmonizing and clapping percussion in Gruber’s kitchen, whistle-humming the lasers and ending with a Beatles-esque “oooooh.” Maybe we should include it. I leave that to someone else’s discretion.
The way I remember it, the name Adventurekateers came out of the songwriting. I think we had intended to give Captain Laserbeam some Baker Street Irregulars-style kid sidekicks as opposed to a Robin, but I don’t think we’d named them until we wrote the song and needed a rhyme for “conquering everybody’s fears.”
We initially wrote a super long intro to Captain Laserbeam. I still have it somewhere. I think I’ll post it here as the first ever podcast commentary track cut scene.
This chunk preceded the theme song:
Joshua Valor, industry tycoon and playboy millionaire philanthropist could stomach the rampant crime in his beloved Apex City no longer. Using moneys to pay for technologies just beyond the understandings of top scientific minds, he became Captain Laserbeam, guardian of the decent; Captain Laserbeam, champion of the masses and the few; Captain Laserbeam, sworn protector of Apex City, and the worst nightmare of your worst nightmares. Evildoers, monsters, natural disasters: Beware!
Captain Laserbeam! Who can burn a hole through a mountain range… with his laserbeams!
Captain Laserbeam! Who can fly hundreds of feet into the air… with his laserpack!
Captain Laserbeam! Who can travels miles between ticks on a clock… due to advanced laserbeam-based technologies!
I don’t miss it from the show, but I am pleased by the name Joshua Valor as the secret identity of this kind of super hero.
As for this episode, I will tell you that all the featured haikus are true to the form. Go ahead and count the syllables if you like, but you do not have to. I am saving you the trouble.
I hope there’s a picture to accompany this that shows how adorable Alison Brie is dressed like Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. [There isn't, unfortunately. We don't have any photos from SF Sketchfest!--Blacker] I do not have to tell you how great she is because you know it already, but in case you just took a bowling ball to the head and have amnesia and have come to this site out of muscle memory (which is immune from amnesia), first of all, thank you for your patronage and secondly Ali Brie is completely amazing all of the time. I call her “Ali” instead of “Alison” because she has been in the show a lot and I am a Hollywood person.
Who else is great in this episode is Mark Gagliardi and James Urbaniak as “Daddy O” and “Old King Cool.” It is a giant regret that we have not brought those characters back.
One character we do bring back is the Adventurekateer Patrick. He’s fat. It was extremely fun to direct Craig Cackowski to sound as fat as Patrick. Behind Patrick’s back, people call him “Fatrick.”
Two things I love in this episode are DreamGirl’s undreamy accent and the jazz flute.
Here is a behind-the-scenes tidbit as is appropriate for a commentary track: Captain Laserbeam has been played by more people than any other role in the show. Maybe outside of the show too. How many James Bonds have there been? Here is a list of who has played Captain Laserbeam in the Thrilling Adventure Hour besides John DiMaggio: Dave Foley, Brian Baumgartner, Jim Turner, Justin Kirk, Tom Kenny, Andy Richter. Not a clunker in the bunch.
What else do you want me to tell you? As a kid, I wrote and recorded my first radio play. It was a Captain Laserbeam episode. It was the silliest name I could think of. I wish I knew where that recording was. I think Dave Hayes played Captain Laserbeam then. I could be wrong. I think Dave works for the Forestry Service now. I could be wrong about that too. Find him on Facebook and ask him! Ask him where he works and if he remembers playing Captain Laserbeam for an afternoon a decade and a half ago. I think Dave was the kind of guy who had a great memory. I could be wrong.