Conan O’Brien: We were talking about this: we’re in this world now of podcasts. Just at this moment.
Dana Carvey: Yes.
Conan O’Brien: And what I’ve noticed, when I’ve seen people that do podcasts then go out and do stand-up… sometimes there’s this different pace. Which is: “well, we find it over an hour, we find it over an hour and a half.”
Dana Carvey: Different sport.
Conan O’Brien: It is a different sport and it’s interesting. It’s just very different from the way we were trained, which is you have a finite amount of time and you’ve got to get maximum laughs in that time. And prepare it! You have to prepare and hone and get it right.
Dana Carvey: Yeah
Conan O’Brien: And that’s what comedy writing was for me in the years that I was working for you and in the years since then. It’s all about “let’s get this as great as we can make it in the time allowed.”
Dana Carvey: Yes.
Conan O’Brien: But if you take that same attitude into the podcast space you can seem uptight. I did an interview with Pete Holmes and he was sort of making fun of me for trying to structure it.
He’s like: “No. No, it’s all supposed to be anarchy and you just go and you can talk for a couple of hours.”
I’m like: “No, it should be really good and it should be no more than an hour.” You know?
Dana Carvey: His was the first podcast I did when I came back to LA. I met him at your show. Super nice guy…
Conan O’Brien: Great guy.
Dana Carvey: But we’re going to a room and Pete is such a big guy. Chairs everything look tiny and it was really hot and I had no idea and it was like three hours.
Conan O’Brien: Yeah, that’s why… I don’t know.
I’m always [feeling] that interviews should be very good and it should last, you know, 45 minutes to an hour max. But, I’ve been in podcasts where I realized: “I think I’ve been talking for three hours and nobody’s that entertaining.” I should not be as long as a David Lean movie. You know?
Dana Carvey: Yeah, I totally agree.
I always say: “you should have a visual component.” But the thing that fascinates me about podcasting (that someone explained to me) is the idea of the headphones, the little earbuds, in your ear. It’s like Conan is right next to you, in your ear.
And people are moving about in society; like they’re squeezing avocados at Gelson’s to see which one is ripe and they’re hearing us right now.
So that is a different kind of sport.
It’s interesting to see these two veterans of the entertainment industry grapple with the podcasting format.
In a sense, they’re both bewildered by it.
But I think Dana Carvey’s eureka moment near the end is the most telling. He realizes that podcasting’s advantage is that it feels more personal: “Conan’s right next to you, in your ear.”