Every year since 2009, comedian Jimmy Pardo and the rest of the Never Not Funny crew have come together for the Pardcast-a-Thon, a telethon-style podcasting marathon raising money for Smile Train, a charity that focuses on giving cleft palate surgery to children in developing countries. Over the past eight years, according to Smile Train, the event has raised over $650,000, providing life-changing surgeries for more than 2,600 children. Speaking with The A.V. Club, Pardo says the concrete benefits of Smile Train’s work are part of what drew him to the cause in the first place.
In 2009, he says, Pat Francis was a guest on Never Not Funny “the day after, coincidentally, he and I had both donated to Smile Train because we saw an ad on the back of Parade magazine. The ad was a before and after picture of a small baby, and it said, ‘for $250 you can change a child’s life.’ Sometimes when you give money to charity, you don’t know where the money’s going, but this one—in my dumb comedian head, I understood it.” So they did an auction benefitting Smile Train, and when they were looking for a reason to do an extended version of the podcast “besides being self-indulgent idiots,” the Pardcast-a-Thon was born.
The first Pardcast-a-Thon was an overnight event, starting at 9 p.m. and going until 6.a.m. the following morning. Since then, it’s moved into a more manageable daytime time slot—the overnight idea “went away really fast,” Pardo says, “we were really just making it harder on ourselves”—but has actually grown in length, now going from noon to midnight. This year’s Pardcast-a-Thon will, like last year’s event, be hosted by Pardo, his Never Not Funny co-host Matt Belknap, and Pat Francis of the Rock Solid podcast, with celebrity guests rotating in throughout the day. Asked how he and his co-hosts are able to make it through 12 solid hours of podcasting, Pardo says, “we kind of pick each other up if we need to. If one of us drains for a bit, somebody else picks up the slack.” He adds that he’s never gotten more than “a little loopy” during the marathon, which is “kind of a bummer. Half of the joy was watching Jerry Lewis losing his mind after being up for 36 hours.”
This year’s lineup features longtime friends of the Pardcast-a-Thon Jon Hamm, Sarah Silverman, Lauren Ash, Paul F. Tompkins, and Scott Aukerman, as well as some exciting new faces. Fresh Off The Boat’s Randall Park will be making his first appearance, along with Kumail Nanjiani, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Rachel Bloom, and YouTube comedy stars Rhett and Link. That’s just a taste of what’s to come at this year’s Pardcast-a-Thon; tickets to the live event at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank have long since sold out, but you can watch the livestream (and donate to Smile Train!) starting at noon PT—that’s 3 p.m. ET and 2 p.m. CT; Mountain, per Pardo, “can go fuck themselves”—this coming Saturday, March 4, by following this link.Will this be the year that Pardo finally loses his mind on stage? You’ll just have to tune in to see.
You can also donate by participating in auctions through the Never Not Funny website, including an auction to have lunch with Pardo on the road at the restaurant of your choice—although he would prefer a drive thru, frankly.