Has long-form, independently produced video finally found a place on the internet? If you think you’re ready to evolve from typical three-to-five minute micro-TV on the web, would you be open to a little in-depth, Hollywood talking head action that lasts, say, a couple hours? You would!?!
Well then welcome to Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show. It’s a down-to-earth, casual conversation with a wide range of industry guests that bridge the new and old media divide who are given an extended forum by the actor/comedian/impersonator extraordinaire in which to keep it real. And it’s good.
Part of the show’s appeal is that the host is having so much fun making it. After two decades in the film and television business, Pollak looks positively giddy that he now has the keys (you f#©%’n [email protected]% s#©%er!) to an entertainment vehicle he can (curse on and) call his own.
But we’re constantly reminded that this isn’t Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show. It’s Your Chat Show. Rather, Our Chat Show. Produced by Jason Calacanis – who Pollak plays poker with when he’s not taking money from Hank Azaria – and broadcasting live out of the Mahalo offices in Santa Monica, California on Sundays at 5PM PST, the show’s team facilitates massive amounts of viewer interaction via Twitter, a 200-person-capacity chat room, and frequent solicitations for even more audience incorporation.
One of Pollak’s staples involves inviting viewers to play a little ‘Three Degrees of Kevin Pollak’ (Kevin Bacon is dubbed ‘a wuss’ for needing six degrees) and the theme song comes straight from a request fulfilled by fan and photog Beau Hudspeth.
Pollak explains his first entree into the technological and social media world came when he discovered Twitter and promptly lampooned the 81st Annual Academy Awards with irreverent commentary. When his followers ballooned from numbering in the thousands to hundreds of thousands, him and Calacanis saw an opportunity to make a show.
Since the March 22 debut, guests have included actors Levar Burton (another famous Twitterer), Samm Levine (Freak & Geeks), Jason Antoon (Kings) and Joe Mantegna, along with the technically non-industry player Elon Musk, head of Tesla Motors.
Each installment begins with an extended monologue from Pollak while seated at a round table against a Charlie Rose-black backdrop. It’s basically a reprise of Pollak’s role as late night talk show host on Crackle’s web series The Writers Room, except on a cable access budget with him front and center instead of calling in the comedy Charlie style.
It’s evident Pollak’s a steadily-touring comedian, but in a studio void of audience save the guests on deck, sometimes the jokes tend to find a void of their own. Still, the ratio of funny to not-funny is higher than nearly anything on late night TV and Pollak regularly acknowledges that they’re still working it out. The up-side is that the show’s in-the-moment sensibility extends from the opening through his chats with guests, and is refreshingly unmediated by heavy-handed over-production, allowing ample doses of ‘real’ into the room and onto the cyber-platform.
Slated guests for episodes upcoming include comedians Bobby Slayton and Doug Benson (4/12), Jon Hamm (April 26), web star Felicia Day (May 10), and Dana Carvey (May 31), all per Pollak’s Twitter. Following those Tweets, interacting with Pollak, and tracking the action and development of the series is another part of the appeal. It really does feel like Our Chat Show.
Stay tuned to KevinPollakChatShow.com to see how it shapes up.