Heads Will Roll  By  cover art

Heads Will Roll

By: Kate McKinnon,Emily Lynne
Narrated by: Kate McKinnon,Emily Lynne,Tim Gunn,Meryl Streep,Peter Dinklage,full cast

Publisher's summary

ABOUT THIS AUDIBLE ORIGINAL 

Please note: This content is not for kids. It is for mature audiences only. This audio comedy features sexual content, adult language and themes, and violence against peasants and hobgoblins alike. Discretion is advised.

Heads Will Roll is an Audible Original from Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon and her cocreator/costar (and real-life sister) Emily Lynne. Produced by Broadway Video, this is not an audiobook - it’s a 10-episode, star-studded audio comedy that features performances from Meryl Streep, Tim Gunn, Peter Dinklage, Queer Eye’s Fab Five, and so many more. 

Queen Mortuana of the Night Realm (McKinnon) and her ditsy raven minion JoJo (Lynne) receive a prophecy about a peasant uprising. Together, they must journey to find the “Shard of Acquiescence”, which will put down the rebellion and save the throne. Will their friendship survive sensitive generals, chatty sex slaves, whiny behemoths, princes with bird fetishes, and the notion of democracy? 

This raunchy satire also includes the wicked talents of Andrea Martin, Carol Kane, Audra McDonald, Aidy Bryant, Alex Moffat, Heidi Gardner, Chris Redd, Steve Higgins, Bob the Drag Queen, Esther Perel, and more. So, hold on to your head, and let the bad times roll. 

©2019 The Broadway Video Group, LLC. (P)2019 The Broadway Video Group, LLC.

Featured Article: The Best Audiobooks Under 5 Hours


Books are pure magic: they transport us to other lands, help us learn about the world and ourselves, teach us new skills, and give us an escape from daily life. And thanks to audiobooks, we don't even have to stop what we're doing to enjoy them. You can visit Narnia while washing the dishes, or laugh at a comedian's childhood stories while riding your bike to work. Looking for an audiobook that can be finished in just a few sessions? These standout listens will immerse you for a few hours with captivating storylines and unforgettable performances. These are the best audiobooks under five hours.

More from the same

What listeners say about Heads Will Roll

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    11,379
  • 4 Stars
    2,723
  • 3 Stars
    1,337
  • 2 Stars
    734
  • 1 Stars
    934
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12,841
  • 4 Stars
    1,313
  • 3 Stars
    615
  • 2 Stars
    312
  • 1 Stars
    507
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9,328
  • 4 Stars
    2,825
  • 3 Stars
    1,581
  • 2 Stars
    749
  • 1 Stars
    1,039

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

More like this please

It's like an old school radio drama for a 2019 comedy audience. Great concept. The writing is funny and the story captivating. My first experience of Emily Lynne. Does she sing professionally? She should. I'd buy that album. Can we get more celebrities doing this sort of thing? Always a delight to get new Kate and Aidy content. Cheers!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

115 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

SouthPark meets The Office at Medieval Times!

You can tell the All-Star cast had a blast creating this one! In between embarrassing laugh out loud moments (elliptical neighbors at the gym were ready to commit me!) and relishing the fresh, irreverent, and witty script, you start to realize that the storyline is a satire on modern work culture — and then you can’t stop listening! Hysterical and an easy, fast listen, Heads Will Roll makes for a fun and relaxing break in the day.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

96 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I demand that Audible instantiate a sixth star

I knew going in that this thing would be awesome. Some comedic actors have a direct link to my funny bone: Kate McKinnon is the living embodiment of my funny bone.

But this is far from being a one woman show. Emily Lynne took me to that wow place, especially with the singing: Ah, the singing.

Clever and witty, and brought to life in vivid colours through the talented voice work of an amazing cast, and the overall audio production is superb.

Seriously Audible, I need 6 stars.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

86 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Probably has at least something for everyone

It’s kind of all over the place. There are surely some funny moments to suit different tastes, the songs are entertaining, and the celebrity narrators are fun.

But there are lots of volume issues. It quickly goes from too loud to barely audible in quite a few places. I think I like the idea of the production better than its execution. Kate McKinnon and Tim Gunn did a really good job, but some of the other characters are quite grating. So I enjoyed parts of it, and was disappointed in others. But I think most people who are fans of Kate McKinnon will enjoy at least some of this production, so maybe give it a try if you’re willing to go along on a bumpy ride.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

70 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not my thing, but it might be yours!

This audiobook is an excellent reminder that humor is subjective.

I'd like to start out by saying that there's a lot to like about this book. The voice acting is largely well done, some of the jokes are genuinely funny, and a couple of characters are so well written that they shine in every scene they're in. That said though, I found the rest of this book pretty painful to get through - I'm not a huge fan of awkward, cringey humor and this book is, for the most part, full of awkward cringey humor. I was able to make it through about 75% of the audiobook before I finally threw in the towel and requested my credit to be refunded.

If you're the sort of person that's a fan of this style of humor, I think you'll absolutely love this book - save your hard earned money/credits otherwise.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

62 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Honestly Disappointed

I already wrote a review for Amazon, but since they take forever, I wanted to write one here too because everyone who is going to spend money and time on something deserves to have more than a few opinions before they do so.

It is not my intent to sound bitter or to belittle anyone who enjoyed this. My intent is only to share my experience.

If you are buying this and listening to it just because you enjoy whoever made it, then I'm sure you'll find some laughs in it. If, however, you are buying it for the content therein (or mostly the latter, with some necessary former), then you should hear me out before you do.

Before you buy this or even start this, I urge you to consider what you, very personally, find to be funny. Are you a fan of South Park? Do you like Rick & Morty? Did you laugh a couple times (or more) at Sausage Party? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you'll love the first 4 episodes. If the idea of humor from a knock-off children's movie sounds good, then you'll like most of the last few episodes. Of course, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with either. Shows like South Park and Rick & Morty have large fanbases for a reason. And most children's movies are very easily enjoyed by people of all ages. It is, however, difficult to reconcile both kinds of humor in one body of work.

However, if you have the same sense of humor I do, or you like easy-to-follow storylines, then I think you might want to reconsider. Or, at the very least, listen at your own discretion.

I'd been eagerly awaiting the release of this, not just because of its powerhouse vocal cast, but because I admire and regularly enjoy the work of both Kate McKinnon and Emily Lynne. They have made me laugh countless times before and I'm sure will continue to do so in the future. But I can honestly say that, in the four hours that I listened to this today, I laughed exactly once. That could very well be me. I have seen good reviews on this and I'm sure that those people enjoyed it. I am writing this simply because I know that I will not be alone in this opinion and everyone has the right to know what they're signing up for.

My main problem with Heads Will Roll is that for the majority of it, its comedy leans very heavily on the crutches of cursing and being sexual with no real reasoning behind it. It's an easy trap to fall into, especially for a lot of modern comedians, even though riding the line between both and simpler jokes is something that can be wielded well at times (see Broad City if you'd like to experience two female comedians play jumprope with that line), but in this it falls flat. I actually found myself cringing more than once at some of the more sexual moments, though jokes in that vein are something I've enjoyed at times in other work. But it's more than that. Popular slang is used very improperly. Things that are meant to be "modern" shows of humor just don't land. In fact, it is littered with a lot of the same problems (ironically) that SNL has had for the past few years: it fundamentally does not understand how to charm the audience for which its intended. Mostly because it becomes too charmed by itself and leaves the audience behind.

The plot of Heads Will Roll is simple, or, at least, that's how it was summarized in every single PR release about it. An Evil Queen faces a rebellion from her subjects and muddles through the trouble that causes with her sidekick, a talking Raven. More than once, when I watched or read releases about this project, the words (or some variation therein), "sitcom for your ears," was used. So if that's how they decided to categorize it, then that's how we'll look at it.

Sitcoms, like most TV writing, involve an A-Plot, a B-Plot, and a C-Plot. Now, the C-Plot is typically small simply because sitcoms are almost always limited to 30 minutes or less of screen time. That's a lot to pack into 30 minutes (give or take a few minutes), and that's about how long each of the episodes of Heads Will Roll are. However, 80% of the story within lacks a basic center.

Of course, episodes vary in order to serve the overarching plot of the season. That's their nature. But what you'll find here (beyond characters that are introduced with no fanfare and then occasionally never heard from again), could more accurately be slotted into a B-Plot through E-Plot, or possibly even more. At times, there is no A-Plot at all. Scenes simply jump from main characters to side characters and back again with almost no relevance. More than once the B-Plot (which in true television fashion should go to the secondary characters, such as Emily Lynne or Tim Gunn's characters) has nothing to do with what is meant to be A-Plot. And I say "meant to be" because almost all of the A-Plots lack basic primary narrative importance. There are some episodes that attempt to juggle so many side-stories, that it was very easy for me to get lost.

What it comes down to is simply poor storytelling. For an actress who is used to 5 minute sketches, bits, and playing support in most longer projects, I can't say that's too surprising. But it is a little disappointing, especially when the credits boasts more than one person in charge of "story consulting".

Of course, an entire story spoken aloud isn't a bad thing. Just look at Welcome to Night Vale or America 2.0 (or even Zombies, Run! if you like) or so many other drama or comedy podcasts. Certainly Heads Will Roll isn't something brand new to the world, just to Audible. Obviously, the casts for this kind of thing have the power to be smaller because there isn't a visual reference. So long as you can tell the characters apart, there's no trouble with having one person do multiples voices for multiple characters. Unfortunately, in this particular case, Kate McKinnon can boast exactly four voices: her own, her own slightly higher or even more slightly changed (with a bit of a lisp or long trilling vowel-heavy words meant to make her sound old), an Australian accent, and other, worse, accents (see Irish or aristocratic British).

That hasn't been a bad thing before. Since she joined the SNL cast in 2011, those ridiculous voices were part of what charmed you. The trouble is that these voices are rather difficult to tell apart when you can't see her and gauge her body language or whatever ridiculous costume she's in. More than once, I had trouble understanding if the voice she was doing was meant to be the Queen, or perhaps someone that hadn't been introduced yet. Was that one of the characters from the rebellion, or a troll who just so happened to sound just like her? I'm sure you see the problem. With all the other sound engineering that went into this work, it's baffling how more effects weren't used when it came to the voices. Certainly we shouldn't rely on much other than an actor's talent to carry a character. Usually. But when you can't see them and have to guess? Maybe we should have spent a bit more time figuring out how to make that easier for the audience.

Frankly, I thought the entire world I was promised by press releases and summaries sounded like it would be a hilarious playground for two very funny, very talented women to roll around in. Medieval comedic drama? Songs written and sung by such talented people? Sign me up. But when I finally got to it, the world...lacked center. Surely it's a comedy, and not meant to be looked at too firmly. But when the people who wrote it don't even understand the kind of world they've made, it's a harsh tug from what is meant to be a fun and easy listen, back into cold reality.

You have thinly veiled (or not veiled at all) characters named after real political figures or people from popular culture, which is definitely funny, until it's not. And then you have commercials for silly things in between the episodes (things that are surely meant to be hilarious when put up against the lackluster, dull, and dirty harsh reality of someone living in 500 AD). There's an entire bit about chocolate and salt not being something either the Queen or Jojo have experienced.

And then they throw in cell phones (at one point, someone calls theirs a "shell-phone" but since that's never elaborated on before or after, they've got to just be cell phones, right?). They throw in what I assume are television shows (it's never completely specified, but I'm fairly certain a show based on The Bachelor is said to be "queued up" by Jojo very early on). So it's a world where it's Barnabus Sanders and Bobby Flayed (rather than Bernie Sanders and Bobby Flay), where subjects are beheaded and people can be cursed into being animals, yet there's also a Costco (named as such) and "cloud" cars and literally just the guys from Queer Eye. Not characters. Just the actual Fab 5 (which, to me, seemed a little lazy, even if their only role was to literally just be themselves exactly as they are in the show). Not to mention the Norse God, Odin, is a recurring character, which is, at its paramount, a sincere misunderstanding of the geography of specific polytheistic religions.

It's funny, of course, to have modern things in a time that isn't modern. Just as it's funny for them to not understand modern things because it was so long ago. But having it both ways was...difficult to get past.

Perhaps this is nitpicking, but I doubt this is something I would have even noticed had there not been so many other problems. As it is, these are only some of so many scattered throughout.

If you've made it this far in my very long review, then kudos to you. Hopefully it has helped you decide whether this is for you or not. Maybe you found some of it enlightening. Maybe it made you angry because you liked it or think you will. If it did that, I apologize. I only want to share my thoughts, in case they should resonate with anyone else who bought this and sacrificed time they won't get back for it.

I did, do, and always will admire the hard work and talent of both Kate McKinnon and Emily Lynne. They are lovely human beings and are imbued with jaw-dropping talent. Honestly, if you're not a little jealous of all that they can do, then clearly you don't understand what all they can do.

It's just a shame that none of that talent and hard work could save Heads Will Roll.


Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved it enough to write my first review!

The first few minutes is kind of a shock, because it’s like nothing you’ve heard before, but don’t let that turn you off, keep listening!

It’s different, definitely, but that’s what makes it so fantastic. I wouldn’t expect anything different from the mind of Kate McKinnon (and it must be a family trait because The co-creator Emily Lynne is fantastic!) Heads will roll intertwines historic tyranny with our modern version. I can’t wait for more!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

waste of a credit

love Kate McKinnon, but her talents can't save this hot mess. story is insipid and uninteresting. I kept waiting for it to get good... 3 hours of my life I will never get back.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

What a waste of talent.

I could barely get past the second episode. Great actors, juvenile script. Very disappointing. Sad to think this is being put forward as high budget (assuming based on A-list performers) comedy.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Um...I guess my expectations were too high

Always love Mc Kinnon. Every other time. Listen to this book just to hear all the voices. Don't bother with story or plot or the bards. It's a show. They got together and said "Let's put on a show!" And they did. And I bought it. And now I'm done.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

43 people found this helpful