This past weekend, The Los Angeles Podcast Festival held its second edition, and while some of you might have a hard time believing that people would show up at a rather upscale Santa Monica hotel to watch something they can hear later, you’d be quite surprised. In fact, seeing podcasts stripped of their artifice and just hearing the sounds of people’s voices made for a whole weekend of the unexpected but decidedly wonderful, thanks to festival founders Dave Anthony, Chris Mancini, Graham Elwood, and Andy Wood.
Though a very relaxed gathering, the LA Podcast Festival is still a festival and kind of a blur with the amount of podcasting going on in one building. So, here’s a rundown of the most notable/bizarre/amazing moments/observations from The 2013 LA Podcast Festival:
-The LA Podcast Festival pretty much started off with a perfect tone by way of Marc Maron, before recording his live episode of WTF, opening with, “Doesn’t Dave [Anthony] have to read a thing? Hey Dave, read your thing.”
-In a way, many podcasts, especially the conversation based comedy ones could be ostensibly be described as “hanging out” and, with that logic, the LA Podcast Festival could be described very accurately as “The World Hangout Championship”.
-Nerdist’s own Jonah Ray along with the brilliant Dana Gould sang Doors songs as Fred Schneider from The B-52s during The Dana Gould Hour.
-Many teenage looking girls bought an entire day pass just to see Welcome to Night Vale and only attended that show, when there were 23 over events they could have checked out.
-Many of the people in attendance were actually not Los Angelenos or even Californians. Attendees came from as far as Wyoming, Chicago, Sydney, London, and more.
-An ex-warm-up of Craig Ferguson’s (and Dr. Phil), Chunky B, was randomly brought to talk to Marc Maron at the beginning of the WTF taping and had no idea who Marc Maron was until Marc Maron introduced himself. Chunky subsequently followed with telling Maron he was great and loved what he does.
-Andy Kindler said “boom” or other versions of that every time Bonnie McFarlane roasted her husband Rich Vos on the My Wife Hates Me podcast.
-An argument can be made for how Los Angeles is a center of podcasting and that definitely gets supported by the fact that most of the podcasts at the festival were based out of L.A.; Other big shows, such as Keith and The Girl or Wil Anderson’s TOFOP, came in from New York and Australia, respectively.
-Dana Gould basically did a ‘Talking Maron’ as the last guest on WTF.
-Podcasting is still primarily dominated by comedy podcasts, as there were just handful of podcasts that weren’t explicitly comedy, like Stuff You Should Know.
-Erin McGathy and her podcast This Feels Terrible, inspired by a break-up, brought on the ex who was that very inspiration as a guest.
-Like any good comedy festival, there was plenty of crashing from other festival performers onto other shows like Brody Stevens, Keith Malley and The Girl (Chemda), Dave Anthony, Chris Gore, Jackie Kashian, and Graham Elwood, adding a whole nice bonus for people in attendance who had no idea that was going to happen.
–Dailymotion streamed several podcasts throughout the globe and, reportedly, thousands of people were tuning in. You can watch the live streams here, which include WTF with Marc Maron, Welcome to Night Vale, improv4humans, The Dana Gould Hour, Jordan! Jesse! Go!, and more.
-Many festival attendees, unsurprisingly, wanted to start their own podcasts, making use of the Squarespace Podcast Lab and panels on how to monetize your podcast or even pitching your own podcast.
–Pop My Culture was able to pull Jodie Sweetin, Reginald VelJohnson, and more sitcom stars to do a live reading of fan fiction.
-Baron Vaughn invited Dr. Pierre Grimes, who studies how the mind works, on his podcast Deep Shit, making for a great discussion on what comedy is between a PHD and comedians.
-Doing long form improv doesn’t lose much by sitting down at a table with microphones, as demonstrated by improv4humans.
-Whether big crowds or intimate audiences, the crowds for every taping/show were great, probably because most of those people have heard every episode of whatever they’re watching.
-Andy Richter came to make fun of YouTube videos with Jake Fogelnest on Fogelnest Files, which killed to a room packed to capacity.
-With no room to sit, stand, or even sit on the floor, Jimmy Pardo made fun of people walking in and out of the room at Never Not Funny.
-James Urbaniak did otherworldly version ads for Stamps.com and Hulu for Welcome to Night Vale so beautifully that Orson Welles would probably feel like he would have to redo War of the Worlds.
–The Indoor Kids, the podcast about video games, showed that it’s not as niche as one might think, as Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Gordon, and guests Jonah Ray, Blair Butler, and Jordan Morris drew multiple life lessons from playing or decidedly not playing certain video games, especially when it comes to GTA V or The Last of Us.
-The panel where people could pitch their podcasts had a surprising amount of good ideas that excited panelists Chris Mancini of Comedy Film Nerds, Chris Gore, and Nerdist‘s own Katie Levine and Perry Michael Simon.
-Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi closed their podcast Throwing Shade by praying to Taryn Manning, which was definitely worth being there to see it.
-One of the most adorable moments of the festival happened at Jackie Kashian’s Dork Forest when Maria Bamford talked about loving books with unlikely animal friends.
-Greg Fitzsimmons and Marc Maron got a little emotional in revealing their cautious hope and optimism in their comedy careers after dishing about how they fired a manager of theirs on Fitzdog Radio.
-Brian Posehn used the silhouette created by a projector to walk like Bigfoot behind Greg Behrendt and Dave Anthony during Walking the Room.
-The Sklar Brothers’ Sklarbro Country closed out the festival with four impromptu simultaneous Johnny Carson impressions.
-Doug Benson had to thank the audience of Doug Loves Movies for not bringing any remote control helicopters or actual babies.
-The Los Angeles Podcast Festival in 2014 will probably be even bigger, with more shows, fans, and merch tables than this year, considering how well this year’s event went.