As the entertainment landscape dwindles in the wake of COVID-19, it’s time to seek out alternative forms of fun — and Audible has rounded up a group with a strong comedy pedigree with their latest audio drama, “Escape From Virtual Island.”
The audio series comes from John Lutz, who’s worked on “30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and follows Derek Ambrose (voiced by Paul Rudd). Ambrose lives in the year 2038 as the owner of a lush island resort where everyone’s fantasies can be achieved through virtual reality. Think “Fantasy Island” — the original at least. But when a high-profile guest goes missing, it’s up to Derek to assemble his team and enter various virtual realities — from a Western saloon to a Central Park-set romantic comedy — in order to find him. Complicating matters further is the sentience of the computer itself.
In the exclusive clip below, the audience is introduced to Rudd’s Derek as he’s romancing an unknown French woman, voiced by “Booksmart” director Olivia Wilde. The encounter is understandably awkward, but made even more so when his head of security, Ramona (Paula Pell) interrupts him. It’s revealed that Derek is in a virtual world with the computer-simulated lady of his dreams and another, er, noticeable embarrassment. (The central conceit of a missing guest of some renown is also hinted about.)
Rudd is joined by Jane Krakowski, Seth Meyers, Jason Sudeikis, Jack McBrayer and Amber Ruffin. “Escape From Virtual Island” is one of several Audible shows available, from Kate McKinnon’s “Heads Will Roll” to Will Arnett’s “The Comedy Show Show” and the “Alien” prequel series, “River of Pain.”
Lutz said in a statement announcing the series: “This Audible format gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. Writing specifically for audio excited and challenged me to come up with unconventional ways to tell a story completely through dialogue and sound. I wrote this story with this cast specifically in mind, and they elevated everything I wrote because they are among the funniest performers alive.”
“Escape From Virtual Island” will be available on Audible on April 2. Additional information can be found here.