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Interview: LA Podcast Festival takes comedy audio and brings it to Santa Monica

Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica
Ocean Boulevard in Santa Monica
Kristee Sherry | used with permission

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LISTEN: Full interview with Chris Mancini and Graham Elwood, the Comedy Film Nerds, talking about the Los Angeles Podcast Festival

The Los Angeles Podcast Festival is taking place this weekend in Santa Monica, Oct. 12–14. It’s being presented by two popular podcasts, Walking The Room and Comedy Film Nerds, and the lineup includes a vast array of other podcasts.

The idea hatched over a year ago, when Doug Anthony from Walking the Room (which happens to be co-hosted by comedian Greg Behrendt, well known for writing the book “He’s Just Not That Into You”) came to the Comedy Film Nerds guys and suggested having a festival. Through the power of a Kickstarter campaign, they managed to raise $20,000 in 30 days.

The podcast festival would have been possible without Kickstarter, according to Comedy Film Nerds hosts Graham Elwood and Chris Mancini, but would have been a thousand times harder. They said that the great thing about Kickstarter is that, if they hadn’t hit their goal, they would have seen that fans weren’t that interested and that they should probably wait to try it again in the future.

“The technology I’ve noticed, in the last five years, has brought about this whole new generation of standup comedy fans that are in their early 20s, because they can go online and watch clips of comics, they can download their CDs immediately to their iPhone,” said Elwood.

Some of the 25 podcasts on the bill include Dan Harmon’s Harmontown, Aisha Tyler’s Girl On Guy and Sklarbro Country, which is hosted by KPCC regulars the Sklar Brothers. It also includes Jimmy Pardo’s Never Not Funny, widely recognized as one of the first comedy podcasts in existence, which helped spawn a whole podcast genre.

“A lot of people would just go to their local comedy club, just because, ‘let’s go see whatever show is there,’” said Elwood. “Or whoever’s there,” said Mancini. “That model is on its way out.”

They’re holding a standup show as well, hosted by Doug Benson (known for things like “The Benson Interruption” TV show and his Doug Loves Movies podcast). That standup show also includes Marc Maron of the popular WTF podcast, who had to bow out of doing his podcast due to shooting an IFC TV show, but who’s still going to perform standup.

“Even that, he got that TV show because of his podcast, so even him pulling out is sort of a victory for the festival, because it just shows where podcasting is going,” Elwood said.

While the festival is centered around comedy this year, they’re dreaming big, with hopes to expand the festival further beyond comedy podcasting to podcasting in general in the future. The festival also includes panels for podcasters looking to learn from the experts how to grow their shows, on everything from marketing to technology. They’re even doing a storytelling workshop.

Tickets are still available. You can buy tickets at the festival itself or at LApodfest.com.

Listen to my full interview with Chris Mancini and Graham Elwood, the Comedy Film Nerds, talking all about the festival, their background, their own podcast, the L.A. comedy scene and more.