Panel Discussion and Team Comedy

Podcasting as a team sport

What is it?

Some small groups of people are so smart--or so funny--that they can regularly sustain an audience’s interest. For this genre of podcasting, it might seem that production is a simple as finding a snowball microphone and pressing record, but often lots of preparation and subtle editing go into it.


Pod Save the People

Still Processing

Comedy Bang Bang

The Adventure Zone

My Favorite Murder

Where do I begin?

Come up with an idea and make a plan.

  • Who should be on the panel? What does everyone bring to it?
  • Does the panel have a theme? What is it?
  • Does the panel speak about the news? Or popular culture? Or academia? A particular discipline? Are a group of people helping to tell a fictional story? Where are the boundaries?
  • Is the comedy you’re doing scripted? Or improvised? A combination? Does the comedy fall within a theme or genre? Or does it challenge themes and genres?
Session 2, Tier 1 Assignment Write your plan.

Do some research for your panel discussion or comedy.

Come up with prompts or questions for your panel discussion or comedy. n the biz, this is called your “Q Line.”

Meet as a panel or comedy group and record your performance. Before you record, make sure to confirm good sound levels. Don’t be afraid to throw out your Q Line if it’s not working or if you improvisationally come across better conversation. To be recording is to be getting your “Tape.”

Session 2, Tier 2 Assignment Write your plan and record some Tape.

Transcribe all your Tape. O Transcribe is a useful tool for this.

Review all your recordings and transcriptions, cut out the best parts, and organize them into “Tracks.” You might also need to write some “Acts” to serve as transitions. Your Acts are what you’ll use to set up or deal with your Tracks.

Session 2, Tier 3 Assignment Write your plan, record some Tape, and start working on your Tracks and Acts.

Record yourself reading your Acts.

Session 3, Tier 1 Assignment Have all of your Tape, including Acts and Tracks.

Determine if you need music and sound design.

Create, license, or find Creative Commons music and sounds.

Session 3, Tier 2 Assignment Your podcast is about 75% complete.

Put everything together with Audacity--your Acts, Tracks, music, and sounds.

Session 3, Tier 3 Assignment Your podcast draft is complete.

Share the draft of your podcast and get feedback.

End of workshop, Tier 1 Assignment You have a complete podcast episode.

Consider, reject, or incorporate feedback. Reflect on your process and the meaning of your podcast. Repeat previous steps.

In a spreadsheet, enter the metadata for all the files you created or used.

End of workshop, Tier 2 Assignment You have a complete podcast episode and metadata.

Finish your complete transcript. Your complete transcript is the one you will provide for you audience. It will be a combination of your Acts, Tracks, and descriptions of any of the music and sounds you used.

End of workshop, Tier 3 Assignment You have a complete podcast episode, metadata, and a complete transcript.

Create, license, or find Creative Commons music and sounds.

If you are going to put your podcasts online, do an audit of your online safety and security. Do you have safe passwords? Consider making passwords using the “diceware” method and using LastPass. If you Google yourself, what information do data brokers have about you? Consider contacting data brokers and requesting they remove your information.

But is this the only way to make a panel-discussion / team-comedy podcast?

No! The ways are infinite! You might find that you don’t have to--or don’t want to--edit your panel discussion at all. Getting your tape and Tracks might actually be as simple as pressing “record.”

Have you thought about...?
  • Accessibility: How can hard of hearing users identify who is talking during the podcast? Think about including name identifiers in the transcript for clarity.
  • Preservation: Do all members have access to a recording? Think about sending multiple versions to each panel or team member.
  • Open: Did multiple members of your panel or team contribute to editing? Think about how to make the process a bit more open by using collaborative tools during this process.
  • Digital Identity, Safety & Privacy: Have all members of this production signed off on the content? Think about how sharing polarizing discussions such as political views may impact you or your team.