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Serial Optimist has had October 4-6th circled with a big red marker for months now eagerly awaiting the 2nd Annual LA Podcast Festival to kick off. We had a blast last year, and this years action looks even better (if that’s possible).

Three days of seeing your favorite podcasts live, with no filter, hearing that voice you’ve come to know so well through your headphones, raw and funny with the best in the business. That’s the LA Podcast Festival.

I talked with Andy Wood and Chris Mancini, two of the festival creators (the others being Dave Anthony and Graham Elwood, all SO favorites) and the all-time, super amazing, can’t wait to see her Jackie Kashian about what to expect this weekend.

You’ve already got your tickets right?

Andy Wood

Andy Wood

Serial Optimist: Who will be your podcast guest(s)? Do you know the topic of conversation yet?

Andy Wood (Probably Science): We’ve got Rhys Darby of “Flight of the Conchords” fame, and Brandon Fibbs, who is a producer on The New Race For Space on the Science Channel, and previously worked on the new reboot of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I have a feeling it’s going to be a space-heavy discussion, possibly focused on recent private space flight efforts. It should be fun — who doesn’t love talking about space?

Chris Mancini (Comedy Film Nerds): Our Guests will be comedienne Bonnie McFarlane and NKOTB superstar Joey McIntyre. We will be doing a fall Oscar preview. Also we’ll be asking Joey about working on The Heat with Paul Feig.

Jackie Kashian

Jackie Kashian

SO: What are your thoughts on doing your podcast live? Do you prefer having an audience there and interaction over doing the podcast in a studio? When doing your podcast live, can the audience mess up your tone or what you’re going for, or do they get involved in any way? 

Andy: We’ve only done the podcast live twice, and one of those was a train wreck involving a very belligerent (and pretty racist) Gallagher, so it’s hard to have an objective opinion about how our show works live. Providing Gallagher doesn’t crash the performance, I think it’ll be a great time. It’s a pretty cozy room, so I think we can involve the audience a bit and still keep the tone of what we normally do with recordings.

Jackie Kashian (The Dork Forest): I enjoy the live shows a lot. The vibe is so different. I usually record in my living room (or a hotel room on the road) which is SUPER mellow and the conversations can get more serious. The live shows tend to play more to the audience because they are RIGHT there.

Chris: We love doing it live. It’s a completely different vibe. There are shows we do that are meant for the gargoyle garage, and there are shows meant to be for a live audience. We adjust the tone and energy for a live show. But it’s still Comedy Film Nerds. Just…. Live.

SO: What are a few of the other podcasts you’re looking forward to seeing?

Andy: I’m really excited to see what Phil Hendrie will do when he performs live — that guy’s a legend. So funny. I’m a big fan of Dana Gould’s podcast, I’m definitely not going to miss improv4humans with Matt Besser and Ian Roberts, I’m psyched that Welcome to Night Vale will be there — there are too many! Doug Benson! Aisha Tyler! Marc Maron! Greg Fitzsimmons! I’m already getting stressed thinking about the decisions I’ll have to make when my favorites overlap with each other.

Jackie: Aisha’s! Marc Marons’ of course, if I can get in 🙂 … Jimmy Pardo is always amazing. Baron Vaughn’s should be really interesting.

Chris: Welcome to Night Vale, Stuff You Should Know, 40 Year Old Boy, WTF with Marc Maron, and some of the panels, like the one on Podcast Networks with Jon Lovitz and Mike Schmidt.

Chris Mancini

Chris Mancini

SO: What are your overall thoughts on the fest? What are you looking forward to most?

Andy: I’m excited about the enthusiasm of the fans and podcasters this year. I think last year people were a little hesitant — they didn’t quite know what this thing was. I think even some of the performers might have had their doubts, but after seeing what the response of the people who came from around the world to see these shows was, everyone has brought out the big guns this year guest-wise and in terms of promotion. People get that this is something really special now. I’m excited to meet fellow podcasters and fans, and I’m a little biased as a fan of drinking and singing, but I might be most looking forward to the closing night party with live band karaoke. I know that’s going to be incredible.

Jackie: Such a great idea having a con-like podcast festival. All at one hotel… super fun. I’m, of course, looking forward to meeting more fans FACE to FACE… twitter and email are all well and good… but it’s nice to see the people that are so willing to strap on some headphones and listen to podcasts. They are a separate brand o’ dork to me.

Chris: That it’s a miracle we actually pulled it off. Twice. Two and a half years of work for two weekends. But we did it because we love it, we love podcasting and we love the fans.  I can happily say that the amount of work was almost worth it. I am most looking forward to seeing the festival grow from year to year and incorporate all different types of podcasts, not just comedy. That is our plan.


SO Note: Check out the full schedule at lapodfest.com, look for our full preview of all the podcasts tomorrow and get your tickets now! Right here!