Comedians Marc Maron, Aisha Tyler, Jimmy Pardo Share Secrets to Podcast Success
Increasingly popular, podcasts allow comedians to connect more intimately with their fans, although the medium is not without its downsides.
A comedian craving intimacy might want to consider becoming a podcaster. "[The audience knows] you a lot better," says Marc Maron, 50, who has helmed the twice-weekly WTF since September 2009 and announced in December it had topped 100 million downloads. Each show averages about 80 minutes in length and has an average audience of 230,000. The series will soon log its 500th edition. By listening intently to such free-form conversation, "they know everything about you, and I know they have a real relationship with me."
A share of advertising revenue and, in the case of Pardo's Pardcast, a premium option (listeners buy a $50 season pass for full access to Never Not Funny) means not just bonus income for the hosts, but a living wage. As the L.A.-based Pardo boasts, he and co-host/producer Matt Belknap drew enough revenue from podcast sales to each buy houses.
Actress-comedian and The Talk gabber Aisha Tyler, 43, whose weekly Girl on Guy focuses on relationships, concurs, adding that the benefit of podcast fans is that "they become evangelists for you." Indeed, podcasts have grown so popular -- Adam Carolla, Joe Rogan, Doug Benson and Chris Hardwick have become household names while eccentrics like Penn Jillette and Greg Proops found new life off the small screen -- that many of the genre's stars are starting to complain of a glut.
The key, says Maron, is maintaining a regular presence and consistent tone. "The thing about audio is that the relationship you build, like radio with Howard Stern and Rush [Limbaugh], is consistency," says Maron, who parlayed podcasting into his own IFC show, Maron, which started its second season on May 8.
But even with the gigantic audience that podcasts command -- Apple reported in August that podcasts it carries have more than 1 billion subscribers -- Maron adds that "it's still the Wild West out there, and most people don't listen. To them, it's a weird technological innovation."
This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.