There's something to be said about being in the right place at the right time, especially in show business. Just ask Jimmy Pardo, host of the highly successful podcast Never Not Funny. "I was ahead of the curve, when nobody knew what podcasting was," he explains via cellphone from a carwash somewhere in the Los Angeles basin. "I had to build an audience up from zero, but once I had that audience I was able to move to a pay format." See, unlike most podcasts, Never Not Funny is not free.
The first twenty minutes of the podcast can be heard at no charge in iTunes, but for full episodes listeners must subscribe. Not only have thousands of people subscribed, many listeners want to donate more. Pardo and his producer/co-host Matt Belknap have discouraged this, but finally decided to offer higher level subscriptions that in turn offer more benefits and extras, such as merchandise.
It was Belknap that convinced Pardo to give podcasting a go. "Matt approached me and said 'I think it fits what you do so well,'" Pardo explains. "And he was right. I'm glad I listened instead of doing what I usually do in life and say 'nah, that's not cool.'"
Even after the success of Never Not Funny, Pardo still resisted great gigs, like his current stint as the opening comic for The Conan O'Brien Show on TBS. Producers of the program sought him out, but he turned them down -- twice. "I'm not a very good businessman, in any way shape or form," he admits.
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Now he feels like the luckiest guy in Hollywood. "Man I hope they don't figure out that they could replace me with a monkey in a second." That would seem unlikely, as Pardo's quick wit and fast-paced delivery are a hit with stand-up audiences, Never Not Funny listeners and Conan's audiences.
And hopefully, he'll be a hit in Denver when he brings Never Not Funny to the Gothic Theatre tomorrow night to record the podcast live. Tickets are $24.50, and based on the track record, it's highly unlikely to not be funny.