By Savas Abadsidis
Originally published on Advocate.com February 21 2013 8:00 AM ET
Dubbed the first "radio show on the Internet," The Dinner Party Show is not a podcast, but an actual hour-long live, comedy variety show, in the spirit of The Prairie Home Companion.
Co-creator Eric Shaw Quinn calls this "high praise, and if we ever have to change the name of the show, I'd like to call it a Fairy Home Companion." He and Christopher Rice have been friends for years and decided to do an old-fashioned but modern radio show because, as Rice says, "I always wanted a radio show and Eric has always been very loud. I thought it was a good combination."
The duo has created something unique, something that once you hear it, becomes part of your routine. They call it "livecasting" and part of the appeal is the live nature if the show.
An award winning, New York Times best-selling writer and activist, Rice is son of legendary horror writer Anne Rice and has been something of a gay superstar (even once making People's sexiest men alive) since his auspicious release of his debut novel, A Density of Souls, when he was just 22. Quinn wrote his debut novel, Say Uncle, a comic and celebratory tale of an eccentric gay man who receives custody of his nephew after his sister is killed in a tragic accident, while working as an advertising director and theater critic.
They had both followed Internet radio, but what propelled them down this road was, according to Quinn, "Spite! Chris was talking to an editor about marketing and advertising for a new book and it's an ongoing frustration of writers everywhere, that the book publishing industry is the only one where there's no advertising. So the editor says, 'One of my other clients, Glenn Beck, has a radio show, and he sells pretty well, so...' Chris says, 'I'll go get a radio show!'"
Quinn admits he doesn't particularly like Beck, "but I wouldn't mind having some of his sales." And thus the die was cast. After having been guests on a number of Internet radio shows, they both saw that the technology had changed and become more accessible. They began to see how streamlined the operations could become.
Like any major production, it was of course not as simple as it seemed. It was a series of "revelations," he says, and the two quickly learned about things like sound proofing and the other nuances of the radio biz that they didn't know about. They ended up going from renting a studio to renting an office on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles and converted it into a soundproof dining room.
"Eric was very adamant that we not just have a theater of the mind, but an actual real space, that guests could be invited in to," says Rice. "We have our own man servant that wears a black tie and tends bar, that serves our guests cookies that Eric bakes at home. The creation of that space was an unbelievable challenge. If we had known going into it what a challenge it was going to be, I don't know that we would have gone through with this endeavor. So it's an actual experience that's being streamed into your home."
In the end it isn't just a podcast, but a Tracy Ullman-style variety show that is thought out, written, and programmed like the once popular old school radio shows, replete with hilarious fake commercials between segments. With a growing list of celebrity guests, the show has been getting hotter with each episode. Past guests have included a slew of folks with LGBT interest like Rice's mother, O.J. Simpson prosecutor turned mystery novelist Marcia Clark, gossip guru Ted Casblanca, comedian Alec Mapa, Go On's Laura Benanti, author Patricia Nell Warren, Jack Morrissey, partner of Oscar-winning director Bill Condon and host of the Team Jack podcast, and The Playboy Club scribe Chad Hodge, who is currently at work on The Anita Bryant Story.
And the fun is just beginning, Rice says. Time to get in on the ground floor, and have a ball.
The Dinner Party Show is live Sundays, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT at TheDinnerPartyShow.com