Without many opportunities to perform in front of a live audience, some Denver-area entertainers have turned to podcasting as a new way to grow an audience and stay creative. Local entertainers, …
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Without many opportunities to perform in front of a live audience, some Denver-area entertainers have turned to podcasting as a new way to grow an audience and stay creative.
Local entertainers, including comedians, actors and producers, have started these shows to stay relevant and busy as the weeks of industry shutdowns due to COVID-19 have turned into months.
Denver resident Anthony Kapfer, a local comedian, started a show with friends called “Is This Anything?” The show, with six episodes so far, started as just a video call between friends and eventually blossomed into a podcast.
The four hosts, some in Denver and others in New York City, meet up on Zoom and try out new joke ideas with each other, then offer tips for how to make the concept stronger and funnier.
“We just wanted to meet up because it had been two months since we had a chance to work on new material in front of an audience,” Kapfer said. “It’s a nice way to feel like we’re still doing stand-up comedy in a time when we can’t do stand-up in the way we’ve done it for years.”
Sometimes, the show has guest comedians on to try out their material. Everyone has the same amount of time to run through their ideas and get feedback. One reason for working on jokes, even without a chance to perform them, is to have fresh ideas when live shows resume.
“We want to have new stuff,” Kapfer said. “We don’t want to go back to comedy doing the same jokes we were doing six months ago... everything has changed.”
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For Kapfer and his fellow hosts, it has been strange going so long without telling jokes to an audience.
“The podcast has been really nice because it sort of forces me to think about writing,” he said. “It’s easy at a time like this to think: ‘what’s the point?’”
The show features everything from fully developed jokes to simple strands of an idea.
Not all performers are using their pre-COVID 19 career as the subject-matter for their new podcast, however. Christy Montour-Larson and Edith Weiss for instance, both formerly worked in theater but when all their shows were canceled, they decided to start a podcast about gardening.
The show, “Upside Down Tulips,” gives tips and answers questions about growing flowers, vegetables, herbs, indoor plants and other topics like composting and canning produce.
“Anything that grows, we talk about,” Montour-Lasron said.
Montour-Larson and Weiss are both long-time gardeners and have noticed their hobby getting more attention in recent months as COVID-19 has pushed residents into the outdoors.
Weiss and Montour-Larson, both Wheat Ridge residents, also bring in actors from throughout the Denver area to help them make spoof commercials.
“It’s nice to have a reason to get out of the bed and do something creative,” Montour-Larson said. “Especially when there’s so much happening you have no control over.”
In addition, the hosts, who are also neighbors, get to use many of the skills they’ve gained through working in theater including producing, acting, teaching and marketing.
“It’s a long time to be sitting around twiddling thumbs, and we’re creative people,” Montour-Larson said. “We have things to share with the world.”
Chris Starkey, who owns Imprint Group, an entertainment company in Denver, started his podcast, “Dance Dads,” after a video of himself and his daughter dancing went viral.
“It’s four dads with kids who are the same age,” Starkey said about the podcast. “We talk about relevant topics that have to do with being home during COVID.”
Starkey’s other hosts include Randy St. Pierre, a stage technician at the Lone Tree Arts Center, performers Brian Smith and Klint Rudolph and Paul Dwyer.
“We used to get together every Friday anyway and talk about entertainment,” Starkey said. “The podcast gives us an opportunity to still get together.”
As of press time, the show was planned to launch the last week of September.
The hosts also have another podcast called “Places Please” about the entertainment industry in the Rocky Mountain Region. This show, however, was discontinued until live shows begin again.
“I tell people all the time it’s the greatest opportunity of our career ... to create a personal brand or podcast,” Starkey said. “Because you have everyone’s attention right now.”
Montour-Larson also said she sees this as a good time to start a podcast.
“If you have something you want to share with the world, just do it,” she said. “Don’t worry about making it perfect.”
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