Leicester Square Theatre Takes a Chance on Podcasts
A few years ago, not only did podcasts have to be explained to people – usually a younger person saying some form of “it’s like radio, but, like, on the computer” to someone slighter older who nodded along silently while wanting to punch them – but they also lost money. Bandwidth can be expensive, and the more listeners, err, downloaders, you collected from friends, Twitter followers, fellow stamp collectors longing to just get their feelings validated, the more it cost you. Podcasts were fun little hobbies, or the audio version of a diary, or the last gasp of a fading wacky morning zoo, not legitimate forms of media.
Things have changed. Podcasts are the rage. Everyone has one, and some make money. Some even make LOTS of money, as they have grown big enough to take on advertisers, charge subscription fees, or both. Some of the larger podcasts have even merged together, like the drops that make up the T-1000 in Terminator 2, and formed new networks, which is very organized and grown up, and which could in the future become very similar organizations to the FCC and the Corporate Overlords from which many of the talents ran in the first place.
Something to keep an eye on.
Live Podcasts are the new theatre.
Another money-making venture for the most popular of ‘casts is to do their shows live. It helps if the lead voices have an established audience, or a stand-up background, or if their potential crowd is curious and mature enough to watch how the sausage is made. Two of the biggest names in the business are recording at the Leicester Square Theatre this summer aiming to do just that. Plus, make a lot of money for the clever chance-taking bosses at the LST.
The Adam Carolla Show
Adam Carolla tested the waters in the UK last year and his live show went well enough to lure him back to London (after dates the same week in Amsterdam and Dublin). One of the busiest men in showbusiness, Carolla manages to do two daily comedy/call-in podcasts, a few other weekly ones on specialized topics like cars -his passion- and has produced a independent film and well-reviewed documentary in the last two years. There was some nonsense back in 2012 about Carolla taking over the citation in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “most downloaded show on the internet” (from Ricky Gervais) but who knows where that stands. Regardless of numbers – and they are high – the massively successful broadcaster/producer has millions of downloads and fans from around the world. Except, perhaps, Donald Trump, and expect that to come up at his June 29th live show. Away from his home turf, an edgy Carolla is a funny Carolla.
Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast
Richard Herring puts the location’s name right in the title, so it must be happy times betwixt him and his landlord. The Richard Herring Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, or the Ruh-huh-LessSq-The-puh, as he says the cool kids are calling it, has been ongoing for over six years, and lures in the biggest names in Europe.
He is one of those comedy insiders with a million connections, who has been touring the country, trying new things, writing for Radio 4, creating fresh material and building audiences at the Edinburgh Festival for years, and is considered a pioneer in UK podcasting, having started in early 2008 as a duo with Andrew Collins. Again, the term “The Podfather” is thrown around more than it should be (which is never), but is usually attributed to original MTV VJ Adam Curry so we won’t use it here. But this podcast is good fun; Herring has such a rapport with his entertainment world guests that he gets away with asking those inane “would you rather…” questions that fall flat in less gifted comedy hands.
You can join the audience and see such guests as David Cross, Vic Reeves and Graham Linehan discuss having ham for hands and various sexual suppositions now through November 28.
More PCB: Carolla takes it on the road, hard.
What you’re missing this summer: Best of the Beast ’16
A former ABC National, Dallas and Atlanta radio personality, Martina O'Boyle is now making movies and covering culture in London, Dublin, and as far in Europe as the cheapie flights will take her, for Pop Culture Beast.