The Goodnight Show Gives New Orleans Live, Latenight Talk

October 22, 2012

A stylish house band. An opening monologue. A charming host sipping coffee as he interviews guests. Musical performances. The format of The Goodnight Show with John Calhoun will be familiar to anyone who’s seen Conan, Letterman, or any of the usual late night fare. Right down to the desk-and-couch set-up and deep-voiced announcer, Calhoun has emulated Johnny Carson’s classic formula to a tee. The crucial twist, however, is that the show is produced live in New Orleans, by New Orleanians, for New Orleanians.

2012-review-welchIn an interview with NoDef, Calhoun described the show as “a platform for sharing, exposing, and celebrating our city’s culture and talent and people — all the things that make New Orleans unique and unusual and interesting.”

The coming episode on October 24 figures to be the biggest yet in the show’s short history, featuring jazz singer John Boutte, Hubig’s Pies owner Drew Ramsey and a performance and interview with Fringe Fest organizers.

Calhoun is careful to point out that the show features not just well-known entertainers, but “people in the community who are doing really positive work — whether they’re working with children, doing activist work or urban farming, or furthering our culture.” He adds: “It’s a sharing. I think it’s really great that this show, beyond being something that’s funny and entertaining and informative, is also a platform that is fostering community.”

In September’s episode, Calhoun introduced his viewers to Ed Buckner of Original Big 7, who has provided after-school services to underprivileged youth, organizing brass bands and crafting Mardi Gras Indian costumes to encourage cultural engagement.

As the show continues to grow, Calhoun says he’d like to begin offering video online, and possibly have it aired on a local television network and at bars, à la Treme.

The third episode of The Goodnight Show with John Calhoun will take place on Wednesday, October 24 at Cafe Istanbul. Show starts at 8:00 p.m., door’s at 7:30 p.m. Find the Facebook event here, peep the show’s yet-to-be-updated website here, and check the NOLA Defender for more updates as the show evolves.

~ Kerem Ozkan

Michael Patrick Welch on New Orleans’ live-action variety talk show

December 18, 2012

It doesn’t have the exposure of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno or The Late Show with David Letterman, but The Goodnight Show with John Calhoun may be the only local evening variety talk show with a live audience, and some clips from the show are posted on YouTube.

2012-review-welchThis week’s guests include Dwight Henry, star of Beasts of The Southern Wild and singer Meschiya Lake. Calhoun created the series and serves as the comic host. “I want to bring attention to those who are doing important work in our community,” says Calhoun, whose previous work includes the Hot Rod Princess act, which featured him in crown and gown, rollerskating while taking bites from apples he juggled. In The Goodnight Show, he delivers an opening monologue and sometimes a comic sketch. Benjamin Arthur Ellis of rock band The Way is the announcer, and drummer Steve Walkup leads the Goodnight Show Orchestra.

There are live commercials for sponsors like Doerr Furniture, which donated the show’s desk and interview couch. An ongoing live ad for Gerkin’s Bike Shop follows an older woman’s attempt to seduce a young bike mechanic. Past Goodnight Show guests have included slow food advocate Poppy Tooker, mobile vegetable vendor Mr. Okra andTreme theme-song maestro John Boutte. Other guests this Wednesday include Johanna Gilligan of the four-acre Grow Dat Youth Farm and comedian Leon Blanda, host of the House of Blues’ Allstar Comedy Review. Admission $10. — MICHAEL PATRICK WELCH