The Adventure Zone’s Travis McElroy on DiNK and Dungeons and Dragons

Sarah Deragon
Travis McElroy girds for battle — or podcasting, anyway — in advance of his April appearance at DiNK.

DiNK, Denver’s own celebration of independent art, comics and all things visually alternative and awesome, announced a very special guest this week: none other than podcaster Travis McElroy of The Adventure Zone; My Brother, My Brother, and Me; and several other enterprises in a growing comedy-geek empire.

In advance of his appearance at this year's DiNK, set for April 13 and April 14 at the McNichols Building, we talked with McElroy about joining the DiNK party in Denver, rolling the dice on a podcast career, successfully grappling in the literary arena, and more.

Westword: You're a special guest at the 2019 DiNK Indie Comics & Art Expo this April. What are your plans for the show?

Travis McElroy: Any time I am able to go to a convention, I always have the same goal: MEET PEOPLE! I get equally excited meeting people who like my work as I do meeting people whose work I like. So I’ll probably spend as much time as I can just walking around and saying hi to people.

Ever been to Denver before? What are you most looking forward to?

We got to do a live show here and I really loved it, but we didn’t have any time to explore. I hope I get to see more of the city this time around!

How does it feel to be a podcast sensation? It's niche, but it's still huge. Do you think you're handling fame responsibly, or are you and the family just out buying monster trucks to crash them in spectacular fashion while Whitesnake plays live poolside?

I’m really happy that people seem to like what me and my family make! It means a lot to me that it means something to them. Also, I think I have handled it pretty responsibly, but all credit for that goes to my wife, Teresa, and Justin and Griffin keeping me humble.

Tell us a little about how My Brother, My Brother, and Me began. How did the idea for the show start? How did it evolve into what it's become today?

It all started because Griffin and I were moving away from Huntington, and Justin was staying. We are all very close and thought that doing a podcast was a great excuse to make sure we spoke to each other at least once a week. People seemed to like it, so we kept doing it.

click to enlarge Travis McElroy and his father, Clint, mid-podcast. - ERIK WESTRA
Travis McElroy and his father, Clint, mid-podcast.
Erik Westra
You've had an impressive spectrum of "guestsperts" on the show, from musician Jimmy Buffett to ’70s sitcom star Marilu Henner to sex columnist Dan Savage. How do you choose who you have on the show? Any dream guests you'd love to have?

Basically, we use it as an excuse to have people on the show that we think are cool. As far as dream guests go, for me, I’d say Kristen Bell, Nick Offerman or Richard Ayoade.

Rapid-fire D&D questions: What's your favorite class, and why?

My favorite class is rogue, because I think it challenges you to think outside the box when solving problems.

Favorite monster? 

The mimic.

Favorite pop-culture mention of D&D outside of your own podcast?

I love the I.T. Crowd episode where Moss leads Roy and a group of visiting businessmen in a game of D&D.

click to enlarge SARAH DERAGON
Sarah Deragon
The graphic novel based on your first TAZ storyline, Here There Be Gerblins, topped the New York Times best-seller list for trades. What was that experience like?

It was pretty tough at first, because we had to figure out a way to translate a lot of audio jokes to text and pictures. Plus, when we started playing, the story wasn’t fully mapped out, so we had to do a little retconning when writing book one so that it fit better with the story overall. However, even though it was tough, it was super-fun to do. Then, when we found out people liked it and we’d hit the NYT list, we were over the moon. We can’t wait for people to read book two.

What's next for the McElroy podcast empire?

Knowing us? Probably starting a whole bunch of new podcasts!

DiNK will run April 13 and April 14 at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue. Tickets, an up-to-date guest list, and more information are all available on the DiNK website.