Are you the ultimate Bravo fan? Can you name all the “Real Housewives” of Orange County, Beverly Hills, New Jersey and New York? Can you keep up with who is sleeping with who on “Vanderpump Rules”? Do you understand the crew hierarchy on the “Below Deck” charters?
If so, you probably already know about “Watch What Crappens,” the top-rated podcast devoted to all the reality-based shows in the Bravo universe. If you don’t, creators Ben Mandelker and Ronnie Karam are coming to Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale to initiate fans into their hilarious world.
The friends and West Hollywood residents started “Watch What Crappens” (a riff on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens”) in 2012 as a lark. The two friends just happened to like talking about shows they watched the night before and realized they weren’t alone. Soon they had amassed an international audience of 1.7 million listeners for each episode of the five-time-a-week podcast.
According to Karam, “Bravo-lebrities” love the show, too.
“Their support has been just incredible,” he said before listing the cast members who have put in appearances: Stassi Schroeder, Ariana Madix, and Tom Sandoval from “Vanderpump Rules”; Captain Lee Rosbach, Kate Chastain and Captain Sandy Yawn from “Below Deck”; Kathryn Dennis and Patricia Altschul of “Southern Charm”; and Leeanne Locken of “Real Housewives of Dallas.”
That’s when the duo got the idea to take their show on the road, broadcasting from venues across the country.
These live appearances across the country sell out almost immediately. Fans show up at theaters and nightclubs dressed in costumes, homemade t-shirts, and even Alschul’s signature caftans —with many traveling hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of miles for the experience.
“It’s crazy,” says Mandelker. "Our fans are amazing–really devoted. They’ve come to our shows from as far away as Sweden, Scotland, and Japan… our shows are way rowdier and crazy than anyone would ever imagine. They’re loud, get drunk, do imitations of the ladies on the show and the audience members know all the lines.”
Karam said Bravo has become the de facto “gay” television network with its campy line-up of reality shows.
“Bravo is gay when it doesn’t try to be,” he explained. “The Real Housewives were originally intended for women (viewers). The network has great casting and a specific voice that works. It’s campiness, it’s smart. People think it’s trash TV, but the truth is there’s a lot of intelligence that goes into those shows.”
Mendelker added, “It’s cartoons for adults, like when the coyote gets chased off the cliff. They take themselves so seriously, but the key is the audiences don’t take it too seriously.”
Mendelker and Karam see themselves as the pseudo “gay best friends” for those Bravo viewers in the heartland and always look forward to meeting them on their tour stops.
“Ronnie and I are sort of like their gays. A lot of women don’t have access to gay friends and in a certain way, we fulfill that need,” Mendelker said.
“Watch What Crappens” is available on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Spotify and anywhere else where podcasts are found. Tickets for “Watch What Crappens,” 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8 at Revolution Live, 100 S.W. 3rdAve. in Fort Lauderdale, start at $25 at JoinTheRevolution.net.