Published on August 1st, 2011 | by Sharilyn Johnson


JFL Comedy Conference Highlights: The Podfathers

Who: The hotshots of the comedy podcasting world

– Greg Proops, The Smartest Man in the World (Moderator)
– Chris Hardwick, The Nerdist
– Marc Maron, WTF
– Paul F. Tompkins, The Pod F. Tompkast
– Scott Mosier, SModcast

On their relationships with their listeners:

Maron: “I think the tricky part of it is, the relationship people build with me with the podcast is so intimate…. People come out to see me do comedy… and afterwards say ‘yeah, that was good, but are the cats okay?’. There’s an intimacy about it that detracts from the standup, a little bit.”

Hardwick: “People come up to me and say ‘great, but now are Matt and Jonah?’, who are basically my cats on my show.”

Maron: “You can really do whatever the fuck you want. And you can put it out in the world. The relationship they build with that content is so amazingly personal.”

Proops: “I find it more intimate than anything I’ve ever done in comedy.”

On potential censorship:

Maron: “The worst that could happen is if iTunes gets involved and starts telling us what to do… The only person who can tell you what to do is the person in charge, and that’s me. And I tell myself not to do stuff a lot of times, and I say ‘fuck you, asshole’.”

On worldwide reach:

Maron: “I’ve sent stickers and t-shirts to China. It’s amazing that anyone can get it anywhere in the world.”

Tompkins: “My favorite thing is seeing entire countries that have, like, one download. Dominican Republic, ‘ah, I gave that a shot, wasn’t for me’.”

On the sudden increase of podcasts:

Maron: “No one assumed that there was some other area of the internet that hadn’t been ripped open and exploited.”

Hardwick: “Now it’s a fuckin’ gold rush.”

Tompkins: “It is like the gold rush, except some people know where the gold is, and some people don’t.”

Maron: “Get a decent fuckin’ mic…. [some podcasts sound] almost like two tin cans in a shack.”

Hardwick & Tompkins, simultaneously: “Oh, you’re talking about the Two Tin Cans in a Shack Podcast!”

On monetization:

Mosier: “There’s a premium service, if you want to download the high bitrate version of the show…. The idea is, if you want to listen to our show every week, you can. Then there’s a bunch of other stuff that you can buy if you want.… I can’t even keep up. I just show up every week and do the thing. [Kevin Smith] just launched a podbook. People will take your podcast and turn it into a book…. So we’ve put that on the site.”

Hardwick: “It was something I wanted to do because I wanted to have my thing that the businesss couldn’t touch…. You do what you’re passionate about, and the money will come somehow.”

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About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

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