Dana Carvey and David Spade Should Get Their First Podcast Right Before Starting Another One
I’ve got a buddy who produces some prominent entertainment podcasts on the west coast. We have at least two things in common — first, we’re lifelong fans of Saturday Night Live. And second, we desperately want Fly on the Wall, the SNL interview podcast hosted by Dana Carvey and David Spade, to be fantastic. The comics are late-night comedy legends and the guests are stellar so the podcast should be great. “And the fact that it's not great,” says the producer, “makes no sense.”
So it was a forehead slap when Carvey and Spade launched a slapdash companion podcast today, the video-driven Superfly. It’s got a promising if vague premise, with Carvey and Spade teaming up to “riff on current events, pop culture, trending clips, and audience submissions.” They’re funny guys so why not? But Superfly suffers from the same messy production and lack of preparation that plagues Fly on the Wall — without the guest interviews to add some structure.
What exactly is wrong with the popular Fly on the Wall? Spade and Carvey’s lack of experience as hosts and interviewers, for starters. Over the months, the two have gotten better — early shows suffered from the enthusiastic Carvey talking straight over Spade whenever he’d try to get in a word or two. Carvey has even mentioned on the show that people chide him about his frustrating interruptions — he’s better now but not great. A little Carvey coaching could go a long way, says the producer.
Then there’s the problem of redundant reminiscing. “They tell the same stories over and over again, sometimes in back-to-back shows,” complains my producer friend. “And they never seem to remember that they just told this story!” (I don’t have an easy way to count, but I’d wager Carvey is in the double digits with his shared memories of the Massive Headwound Harry sketch.)
You know what might help? A little editing. Sure, it’s easy for someone to push the ‘record’ button, let Carvey and Spade do their thing, and then send the results out into the world. But there’s no law against a good audio engineer putting in an hour to edit out coughs, water swallows, and those redundant stories. “Multiple times, I have heard Dana make a joke that falls flat and then say ‘take that out.’ Why isn’t someone hearing that and responding to it?” asks the incredulous producer. “It happened once in a commercial read so we had to hear it over and over again.”
I’m less bugged by the mediocre audio quality, but to seasoned vets like the producer, “the show sounds like crap most of the time.” Get off Zoom, he advises, and spend a few bucks on remote studio kits. Send one to the guest. You know, like the professionals do.
Unfortunately, Superfly amplifies all the things that are wrong with Fly on the Wall. Nothing in the pilot seems to have been discussed before taping. Spade admits his jokes about the Golden Bachelor are six weeks too late, while Carvey says he’s going to take five minutes off because he doesn’t know what that show is. Couple that with Carvey appearing live from what appears to be a guest bedroom (“A backdrop with the logo is so cheap and easy to set up,” laments the producer) and you’ve got another exercise in half-assed effort.
Bottom line: Carvey and Spade need to figure out their flagship podcast before stretching themselves even thinner. “Fly on the Wall is a high-profile, huge audience, major revenue show,” says the frustrated producer. “So why isn't it amazing?”