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. Download
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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