Review: Cast Party Podcast Festival

Yes, 2015 is the year I finally entered into the world of podcasting. I’ve listened to different ‘casts for years but now that I’m in the drivers seat of my own show, I listen to them more than ever to motivate, inspire and of course, entertain.
Podcasting is not a new technology, however various media outlets are calling this the golden age of podcasting. They’re right. This year the President of the United States appeared on the WTF podcast – yes WTF as in, what the f*ck. His appearance on the episode wasn’t just a huge win for host Marc Maron. It was a win for all of us.
In continued celebration of the medium, New York played host to a first podcast lollapalooza of sorts called Cast Party. It was a live stage show featuring some of the most popular podcasts (sans Marc Maron, Joe Rogan and Adam Carolla) along with dance and musical numbers. The show was simulcast to movie theaters around the country, including the screening in my city – Honolulu, HI.
Technical difficulties at Regal Cinema - Honolulu, HI
Technical difficulties at Regal Cinema – Honolulu, HI

By the time it hit our islands (there was a screening also happening on Maui) it was not live, which worked out for us to comfortably make an 8pm screening time. Well, it was SUPPOSED to be at 8pm. The theater had technical difficulties with the simulcast and by the time the countdown featuring the astronaut animated cartoon had begun, it was almost 8:30pm.

The master of ceremonies was Seth Lind from This American Life. The audience quickly latched onto this fumbling, nervous persona which he slowly grew out of as the evening progressed. About three-quarters of the way through the show he has barefoot and leaping across the stage with guest performers, the Cocoon Central Dance Team. Another notable non-podcast guest was a brass ensemble called The Westerlies. They didn’t have the razor sharp execution of Canadian Brass but still very stylistic and most importantly, fun to watch.
Reply All, Invisibilia, and Radio Lab delivered performances all within the same type of vein – storytelling using projected slides/videos and a loaded soundboard with audio samples to interject every other sentence. It was actually interesting to see them do it “live.” I had always assumed a producer would slice all of that together in post production. Perhaps that is the case and they loaded the soundboard just for live events. Walking into the theater, I felt Radio Lab was the well-deserved headliner of the evening, however I was disappointed that they used an old show that I’ve heard before. After paying $18.85 for admission, I would’ve appreciated 100% fresh content.
CastParty-festivalThe MVP (the P stands for podcast) of Cast Party goes to Lauren Lapkus who performed an improvised fictional podcast with Saturday Night Live Cast member Bobby Moynihan. Like the other podcasts, it went about 40% too long but priceless moments where they nearly broke character made it forgivable.
The Truth delivered a sketch-like performance that started out with a presence that was reminiscent of The State. However as they began missing the mark on a few beats and by the end it wasn’t so much of a comedy sketch as it was almost trying to be a “The More You Know” morale-teaching piece.
Much like the technical ability of Regal Entertainment Group, the performance of Cast Party wasn’t perfect but it was an interesting show, unlike anything, really. As more podcasting networks form, it would be awesome to see their own showcases (mini-Cast Parties).
Canada is next to be treated to Cast Party, showing in theaters July 30th, 2015.
Oh and of course I have to end with a plug for my show, a weekly pop culture podcast called – “Fernando’s Walk of Shame.”
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