AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Finally this hour, how the Internet has changed comedy. Yesterday, we talked about YouTube and the new opportunities it's created. Today, a medium a bit closer to our hearts - and ears - the podcast. Comedians have flocked to it. Today on iTunes, no fewer than 3,000 comedy podcasts are available for download. While cutting through all that chatter isn't easy, Julie Klausner has done it.
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CORNISH: She's the host of "How Was Your Week?" named one of the best comedy podcasts by Rolling Stone and GQ magazines. In it, comedians, actors, drag queens - artists of every kind sit down with Klausner. And she asks: How was your week?
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JOHN MULANEY: We were like, why are we staying here? This is odd. What an odd choice. And then - I think Brian Posehn looked it up online, and he was like: It's a haunted hotel.
KRISTEN SCHAAL: So they give me a phone, and then they also just individually wrapped the phone jack...
JULIE KLAUSNER: What?
SCHAAL: ...the cord...
SCHAAL: ...the receiver.
EDDIE PEPITONE: I blow into a whistle...
KLAUSNER: Is that true?
PEPITONE: ...when I have a panic attack, and my psychiatrist comes running. No, I'm kidding.
AMY POEHLER: When I'm like, taking a picture on the red carpet, I feel like I'm very still. In the picture, I look like I'm a Muppet that was thrown out of the window.
CORNISH: That was Amy Poehler, along with fellow comedians Eddie Pepitone, Kristen Schaal and John Mulaney. "How Was Your Week?" was also nominated for a Comedy Award this year, where comedian and presenter Colin Quinn quipped...
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COLIN QUINN: The only thing comedians say to each other anymore is "Hey, will you do my podcast?" You don't want to do theirs. But if you don't say yes, they won't do yours - because everything is a podcast.
CORNISH: So I put that question to Julie Klausner. What is it with comedians and their love affair with the podcast?
KLAUSNER: It's free. You don't have to wear any makeup, although that doesn't seem to affect male comedians as much as - well, maybe Eddie Izzard, but...
KLAUSNER: ...it's free and easy. And the nice thing about it is, you can have a show without anybody giving you notes. So you can really do the - you know, in my case, like, "The Julie Klausner Show." But there just aren't as many layers to get through in order to reach people in a way that traditionally, television has.
CORNISH: One of the reasons why I'm a huge fan of listening to comedians and podcasts is your - sort of style of interviewing. And you're the same way. I feel like, people relax around you and are very forgiving, in terms of the questions. Like, there's nothing you can say that could shock them, really, 'cause they think - I don't know, maybe - what do you think it is, that allows for that level of exchange?
KLAUSNER: I think that if you do have a sense of humor, you're permitted more leeway because if you go too far - hey, we're only goofing around. But I also think that the value of podcasting is that you really do achieve a kind of intimacy with your audience that you don't, necessarily, with pretty much anything else I've ever done, including - I mean, I wrote a really personal book, and I know that reached people. But when I meet people who listen to my podcast, I feel like they know me. Like, I think that comedians are given an opportunity to just speak in a raw, honest way - without the pressure of being on stage and having to wait for that constant feedback of a laugh.
CORNISH: And that sounds like that evokes a very different style of comedy, right? I mean, where does your feedback come from, and how does that affect how you develop your jokes?
KLAUSNER: It certainly takes a lot of the pressure off, doing it in - I don't want to say a void because you do sort of put it out there, almost in a capsule, and then it kind of, you know, goes into space; and it comes back to you in different ways, whether it's through emails or people, who I meet and - come up to me, and say they really liked it. But truly, my feedback comes from when I record my monologue, and then I listen back to it. I can really tell what's working and what's not, and what's good and what isn't.
And I know there are a lot of stand-ups that tape themselves; and then after they try something out, they'll listen back to it. And all of these are really just forms of writing. Writing doesn't necessarily have to be staring at an open window of Microsoft Word, with this blank document staring at you and this cursor blinking. There are other ways of being funny, of expressing yourself. And I'm really grateful for that.
CORNISH: When it comes to podcasting, it's sort of part of - like you said, the other writing that you're doing. I know you do some pop culture writing for Vulture mag and - as you've said; you talked about your book. Do you find that any of this has made it easier, or harder, for a comedian to make a living?
KLAUSNER: Well, as you said, I make my living as a writer. I don't make money doing my podcast. I've learned that people want to hire creative people who are already doing something when they approach them. So I do think new media is helpful to offer itself - a host of resources that an industrious, ambitious, creative person will put to task. That said, I can't really speak to whether or not my own Internet presence has made things easier, or harder, for me to sell. But I love it, and I - I've never felt more at home with what I'm doing. And I would just do it all the time, if I could.
CORNISH: Julie, thanks so much for talking with me.
KLAUSNER: Thank you so much for having me.
CORNISH: Julie Klausner hosts the podcast "How Was Your Week?" Tomorrow, we'll hear from comedian Rob Delaney about his success on Twitter.
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