He's the most famous son in podcasting: My Dad Wrote a Porno's Jamie Morton (alongside his co-hosts Jamie and Alice).

My Dad Wrote a Porno and the hilarious, excruciating intimacy of bad sex

Bad erotica never sounded so good. Sam Brooks talks to Jamie Morton of My Dad Wrote a Porno, about the hit podcast’s fifth season and upcoming return visit to New Zealand.

Forget Joe Rogan. The real superhero of podcasting is Belinda Blumenthal, the sex-loving protagonist of Rocky Flintstone’s Belinda Blinked series of erotica that serves as the source material for My Dad Wrote a Porno. 

The premise of the podcast is all in the title: Three English friends meet each week to read aloud chapters from some hilariously bad erotica. The twist – the author is one of their fathers. It’s a simple, genius idea that has sparked an incredibly loyal fanbase. In a few short years, the podcast has become an international phenomenon. There’s been four full seasons, guest episodes with legit celebrities (Emma Thompson, Daisy Ridley, Michael Sheen), an international tour, and a televised live special, which you can watch on NEON.

Listening to season five’s first episode which dropped earlier this week, it’s not hard to understand why the podcast has been such a success. It has all the warmth of hanging out with your friends having a beer, but with tight editing and a clear sense of purpose: reading a chapter of badly written erotica, and tearing it to shreds. Shared laughter, gasps of horror and ‘Oh my gods’ abound. And the best part? The plummy British accents.

Ahead of the new season – and the start of their international tour for their second live show, which comes to New Zealand in January 2020 – I got the chance to talk to Jamie Morton, whose father ‘Rocky Flintstone’ is the real-life porno-writing Dad.

Sam Brooks: With the live show, how do you translate the super intimate vibe of your show and expand the energy so it fills whatever venue you’re in, whether it’s hundreds or literally thousands of people?

Jamie Morton: Hard. It was really hard. It’s really funny for us, ’cause we do the show in front of the kitchen table with just the three of us, so we forget that people are actually listening to it. 

When it came to tour we were like, “We need to make it more visual, because you can’t just see three people standing on stage!” And then how do you keep that energy but project it out to two thousand people? So we came up with the idea that we were going to include the audience more and use them as our sounding board, which we do even more in our new tour.

It was interesting doing the last tour because it was the first time we’d done anything like that, and we thought, “It’d be more fun if everyone was more a part of the story that we’re telling.” So this time we’re going to get people in the audience to basically help us navigate our way through the books – basically use them more so it’s not just the three of us, but everyone reading these terrible, terrible pieces of writing.

The first live show of My Dad Wrote a Porno.

That’s what so special about the show, it just feels like you’re hanging out with you guys. As a listener when you’re sitting there, it’s a great experience because that’s what people do – they just sit around and talk about sex.

One of the unexpected things about seeing the live show is that you’re in a situation that would never happen if not for this podcast – you’re in a room with strangers who are totally comfortable and laughing about sex. Obviously that’s part of the podcast, but how did you think that would translate to the live show?

Sex is one of those things that I think, as a society, people don’t really talk about that much, and they certainly don’t engage with it en masse, particularly with other people around them. It’s a very singularly intimate thing that people do in the privacy of their own homes, so to suddenly be going to a live sex show, as such, and being in a group of strangers watching and listening to erotica has been really interesting. 

The fact that people feel comfortable in that environment is probably [because] the tone of the show is basically three friends chatting away about it in a way that I think a lot of people do in their own private lives with their mates that they very rarely take the conversation to the next level.

What’s been really interesting is that people say that it’s opened up conversations with their partners, even with their parents, their friends, about sex and sexuality in ways that we could have never imagined when we started this.

Two people lost their virginity because of the show, which is insane! When you kind of look at it objectively it’s like, “this is such a strange thing that loads of people are gathered in a room, listening to bad erotica”, and that’s the shared experience. 

It’s nice that it’s something that people can do together and actually find the funny side of sex, and make it less serious, you know?

There’s something inherently very funny about not very good writing, so in that way, it’s kind of your trojan horse into what people don’t talk really talk about publicly. Has anything else unexpected come out of doing the podcast?

Well, I’m always really surprised at the celebrities that come on the show.

It’s actually mad, especially when you realise that this is a little podcast in England. Them coming to do it for free is insane anyway, without any publicist being involved or without them promoting anything. They come on because they just want to be on the show! You’ve got like Daisy Ridley, Michael Sheen, George Ezra and all these people talking about what is essentially erotica is crazy to me.

It’s something that’s helped normalise the show as well, and has made people be like, “Oh if Emma Thompson’s chatting about it then it must be all right!” That’s actually been pretty surprising because, like you say, it’s something we don’t talk about in Britain. But move it over to America and they’re like, “It’s like you’re the Harry, Ron and Hermione of pornography.”

The three hosts during their live HBO special.

The show is similar to soap opera in that way – people feel this really close intimacy to soap operas because they’re in people’s living rooms five nights a week – and with you guys you’re literally in people’s ears just hanging out, which is an incredibly special vibe. Are you sometimes surprised at how familiar people are?

No, that’s what’s crazy about it. I witnessed this the other day with a friend. I was in Sydney, and we were out having drinks, and this group of people came up and were like, “Oh, hi! Are you Jamie from My Dad Wrote a Porno” and I was like “yeah!”. Then this one guy started going on like “Oh my god, me and my girlfriend…” and then jokes to me about this sexual thing they’d talked about. 

My friend sat there like, “It is so weird that complete strangers from the other side of the world come up and say hi”, and it is strange, but also I’m there doing the podcast with my two best friends, we’re chatting on mic completely authentically, we’re not different people. So actually, if you are listener of our show and you’ve listened to it for a long time, you basically do know us.

To go back to the celebrity thing, that’s why people feel comfortable coming over, because it’s almost like you aren’t meeting a complete stranger, it’s like, “well I know these people, they’ve been in my ears for years”.

It isn’t weird, and that’s so nice to me, when I meet someone who’s a listener, that there’s an instant shorthand. It’s like, even though I don’t know them, they know me, and it just feels a lot more like you’re having a conversation as opposed to it being just really quick.

The other thing about the show is that you can’t tell who is a fan. I’ve had so many experiences with people who I thought I had very little in common with, but then I bring up the podcast and suddenly there’s an instant camaraderie. Do you think that people really find each other through the show?

Yeah, that’s what’s really lovely, actually. This is going to sound weird – it’s not weird I promise – but at the live shows, I really like to sit in the wings and look through the curtain, and just see people meet each other and say hi, because actually a lot of people come to the shows on their own which is really interesting. Because it’s quite an intimate personal thing, you wouldn’t do that in a group, really, so some people go on their own, and then they meet all of these people, and I love that. 

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That’s the special thing about the show that I haven’t experienced with any other show – whether it’s a podcast or live show – because the show is focussed about sex, even in such a comedic way, you get over all that awful and awkward sex stuff and you immediately have this shorthand. Even now, we’re still so guarded about that stuff, and there’s something really beautiful and wholesome about the way that Porno handles sex. There’s no shaming, and no judgment, and to be able to participate in that in a live way is incredible.

You can never control who listens to your show obviously, but what’s so nice about our listenership is that they’re such a supportive community. They’ve created such a lovely space online – people sometimes get in touch about how the show’s helped with their mental health, or really intimate things. It’s so brave of people to tweet that sort of thing, and then to see all the people in the replies saying, “Oh, you’re great, if you ever need someone to chat to I’m here, you look beautiful in your profile picture!”. 

It’s so lovely that everyone seems to be genuinely good people, and I guess you’re right, you lose the awkwardness of the sexual stuff really quickly. It’s probably because the show’s not really about sex, it’s about friendship. It’s about me and my dad, and it’s nice to see those wholesome things translate to the people who listen to it as well.

You can book tickets to the January 2020 live show of My Dad Wrote a Porno right here and listens to the fifth season wherever podcasts can be found.


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