Dan Kennedy, host of The Moth

In the latest episode of the RiYL podcast, Brian Heater interviews the host of the long-running true-story live performance and podcast, The Moth.

By Brian Heater


Over its 17 year existence, The Moth has shaped the age-old art of storytelling into something uniquely its own, a style as instantly recognizable as any music style or movie genre. And like a great song or movie, there’s something in a perfectly executed Moth story that leaves the listener feeling as though they could never imitate such a perfect feat. And, if the organization’s show runners are to be believed, just about anyone with a story, and the willingness to be coached by a pro, can do precisely that.

And that is The Moth’s greatest attribute: its ability to balance populism with transcendence. In one sense, the podcast’s host Dan Kennedy embodies exactly that, at least the way he tells his story: jobless, furnitureless, recently dumped, newly sober, stumbling into a storytelling night many years ago.

Until I heard him recite the tale of his magazine-assigned trip to Indonesia to search for an elusive nine-foot reticulated python, I knew little about Kennedy. Turns out he is a man brimming with stories — and over the years, he’s gotten pretty good at telling them. In fact, he’s got a few books to his name. There’s Rock On, which recounts the 18 months he spent working marketing for Atlantic Records, and Loser Goes First, a memoir of Kennedy’s uncanny knack for stumbling into interesting situations — not unlike the one that brought him to The Moth in the first place.

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Published 9:29 pm Thu, Jul 31, 2014

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About the Author

Brian Heater (@bheater ) is a senior editor at Engadget and the founder of indie comics site, The Daily Cross Hatch. His writing has appeared in Spin, The Onion, Entertainment Weekly and The New York Press. He hosts several podcasts and shares an apartment in Queens with a rabbit named Sylvia.