“We always like to surprise people, so I cannot divulge everybody,” Jimmy Pardo says, searching for the piece of paper where he has written down the names of the guests for the ninth annual Pardcast-a-Thon fundraiser for children’s cleft palate charity Smile Train. Among the names he will reveal to The A.V. Club are the return of Jon Hamm to the Pardcast-a-Thon stage, as well as Veep’s Matt Walsh, Tig Notaro, Doug Benson, Scott Aukerman, Janet Varney, and Laurie Kilmartin along with former Never Not Funny co-host Mike Schmidt and recurring guests Rachel Quaintance and Danielle Koenig. The other 18 will have to remain a secret for now.
This year’s Pardcast-A-Thon, in which Pardo and his Never Not Funny crew attempt to keep the energy in a comedy club up throughout a marathon 12-hour podcasting session with rotating celebrity guests, is set to take place this Saturday, March 3, 2018, from noon until midnight at the Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, California. Asked if he’s developed any techniques to get through the event over the years, Pardo says, “it really is just adrenaline. There’s an energy in the room and energy on stage. I know this sounds clichéd, but that’s really all it is.” He adds, “When we first started this thing, we were like, “can you believe we’re going to go nine hours?—we were only nine hours back then—but then nine hours is over. Same with 12 hours. There’s a little lull in the middle where people catch their second wind, but otherwise it’s pretty constant.”
Tickets for the live Pardcast-a-Thon have long since sold out, but you can still tune in to a live stream of the event on the Pardcast.com site starting at noon PT tomorrow. And if you’re just dying to be in the same room as Jimmy Pardo, that’s also possible—for a price. Part of the Pardcast-a-Thon’s fundraising efforts for Smile Train is a series of eBay auctions, many of them offering up personal experiences with popular comedians. You can go to a baseball game with Pardo and Mike Schmidt, for example, or sit in on Paul F. Tompkins’ Spontaneanation, or even be a guest on Doug Loves Movies.
One relatively new auction is for Pardo to appear on your podcast, an experience he tried for the first time last year and found, surprisingly, really fun. “Listen, I get asked to do a lot of podcasts, as we all do, because there are a gazillion trillion of them out there now, and I can’t say yes to everybody,” Pardo says. “I like being able to help people, and this is a way of helping a podcast that may not have a lot of listeners but is very, very good —or it sucks, in which case it’s a one and done—and raising money for Smile Train at the same time.” Just don’t ask him to be on a podcast that promotes hate speech, or that involves doing drugs on air. That’s what the Getting Doug With High auction is for.
With the world seemingly on fire—sometimes literally, if you’re in Southern California—every single day, Pardo knows that many people’s charity resources are limited. “Ever since Trump was elected our money is going for anti-NRA groups and all these different causes, so not everyone has ‘let’s give money to Smile Train’ money,” he says. “I know I’m spread thin, trying to get these assholes out of our lives.” Still, it’s a worthy cause, one whose benefits are very personal and very easy to see in action. One cleft palate surgery costs a mere $250, according to the organization, and can completely change the course of a child’s life in the developing world. “That’s what attracted me to Smile Train to begin with,” Pardo says. “Even my dumb comedian brain can understand that if I give $250, I’m changing a child’s life.”
The ninth annual Pardcast-a-Thon starts tomorrow, March 3, at noon PT at Pardcast.com. You can also donate directly to Smile Train here.