’Cast away! Podcasting pro offers advice for comedy shows

Getting them laughing: Producer of “Two Dope Queens” Joanna Solotaroff will offer podcasting tips during a panel at the Brooklyn Public Library on Feb. 18.
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She talks funny.

One of the producers of popular local podcast “Two Dope Queens” — a show that sells out its every live appearance at the Bell House — will reveal her secrets for making sure an audio-only show gets people laughing at a “Comedy in Podcasting” panel at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch on Feb. 18. “Two Dope Queens” features two black female hosts, Brooklyn comedian Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, best known for her appearances on “The Daily Show,” but producer Joanna Solotaroff says it is not just their comedy chops that makes audiences tune in. Instead, it is their willingness to get real and hold nothing back during their chats about race, sex, and romance.

“We really cover everything — there’s nothing that’s off topic. The realness in how raw Phoebe and Jess are is what makes it so funny. Phoebe and Jessica talk about what’s happening in their lives, it’s really refreshing,” said Solotaroff. “How they both had to deal with racist cab drivers, where they couldn’t even catch a cab. The stories are awful but they make it funny, which makes it a safe space to critique what’s happening.”

Solotaroff, who lives in Greenpoint, will join four other podcasters during the live talk, including Brooklyn comedian Tim Barnes from the show “It’s All True!,” the titular host of “Doin’ it with Mike Sacks,” and three hosts of “The Soul Glo Project” to discuss the challenges of producing shows, booking guests, and how to keep listeners engaged and wanting more.

“Two Dope Queens” has kept popular and relevant by adding diverse voices and opinions to those of its two hosts, said Solotaroff, but it is also key that those hosts never stray from their true identities.

“Having so many diverse voices only makes the show better, having a lot of perspectives makes it appeal to a lot of people,” she said. “I think, it sounds corny, just to be authentic and make sure whatever you’re making is in line with whoever you are.”

Those planning their own comedy podcasts should be sure to keep their ears open for ideas, because each of the hundreds of comedy podcasts already out there offers something unique, said Solotaroff.

“There are so many resources online, so many ways to approach comedy. Listening to a lot of different kinds of shows is a way to grow your muscles,” she said.

She also had some advice for the hosts of the borough’s greatest audio show: “Brooklyn Paper Radio”. The beloved weekly show from co-hosts Gersh Kuntzman of the New York Daily News and Brooklyn Paper Editor Vince DiMiceli has become more popular in recent months, but even the most successful podcasts still have room for growth, said Solotaroff.

To reach a wider audience for Brooklyn Paper Radio, Solotaroff suggests going after the borough’s untold stories.

“The Brooklyn Paper has a firm commitment to the broader community that is Brooklyn, so what’s unique, what is the podcast figuring out or talking about that other people aren’t?,” said Solotaroff. “Find what voices are missing and incorporate those.”

“Comedy in Podcasting” at the Brooklyn Public Library Central branch [10 Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights,] Feb. 18 at 4 pm. Free with RSVP.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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