Photo: Liezl Estipona

This Saturday, May 4, comedian Jimmy Pardo and the crew of his Never Not Funny podcast will once again come together for the annual Pardcast-A-Thon fundraiser, a 12-hour telethon-style charity event to raise money for Smile Train, an organization that raises money to help children born with cleft palates (just $250 can literally change a child’s life by paying for surgery). Though he admits it sounds “lame and cliché” and would rather not see it summed up like this, Pardo points out that “Smile Train is in the business of fixing smiles,” and as a comedian, his goal is to “put smiles on people’s faces too.” Again, he’d rather you not think of it in such a cheesy way (Pardo says it sounds very “1977"), but there is a nice symmetry to it.

Pardcast-A-Thon will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, but Pardo says he’d rather put the focus on Smile Train and raising money than on big stunts. Of course, a 12-hour podcast with dozens of celebrity guests in front of a live audience is a big stunt in itself, and Pardo was willing to divulge a handful of the people who will be stopping by, including: Jon Hamm, Jameela Jamil, John Ross Bowie, Zach Galifianakis, Matt Walsh, Andy Daly, and first-timer Andrea Savage. He also teases some surprise musical guests and other fan favorites, but you’ll have to wait until Saturday to see what happens. Asked how he manages to keep enjoying the Pardcast-A-Thon after doing it for 12 hours every year, Pardo says that the trick is bringing in a new guest every 20 minutes and sharing some of the weight with Never Not Funny’s Matt Belknap, and thanks to that he says there’s never been a moment where he thought “this has to end.” Plus, the event used to go all night, which he says was grating after a while, but now it goes from noon to midnight. “You’re up anyway, live life,” Pardo says.

Last year’s Pardcast-A-Thon crossed a big milestone for the event, raising a total of $1 million just before Pardo appeared on an episode of Conan, but he’s happy to raise whatever the viewers and listeners are willing to give. That’s mostly handled through straight donations during the 12-hour show, but Pardcast-A-Thon also puts up a number of auctions on eBay to raise money for Smile Train, ranging from physical prizes donated by the Never Not Funny crew and previous guests as well as experience-based prizes like getting Pardo to appear on your podcast, sitting in on a recording of Never Not Funny, or (as uncomfortable as it may be) getting on Skype and eating lunch with Pardo. You can meet up in person if you’re in L.A., because Pardo recognizes that it could be “horrible” to sit at a computer and watch someone eat a sandwich (for anyone), but he wants to keep it open to people all over the world.

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For fans of Never Not Funny, though, one of the more enticing offerings might be a chance to play Fortnite with the podcast crew. Unfortunately, as explicitly noted in the item description, Pardo refuses to be involved. It’s a bit of a running gag on the show that he hates to be involved in any Fortnite-related discussions, particularly during a brief stretch when it regularly came up in conversation (“I wanted to murder them all,” Pardo notes), but he did concede to us that he “won’t be an a-hole” about it if someone is willing to throw down a few thousand dollars just for a shot at a Victory Royale with Jimmy Pardo. As fun as that would be for the rest of us, Pardo’s personal favorite auction seems to be an opportunity to get saxophone lessons from Pardcast-A-Thon band member Ken Robinson. In that Conan clip, Pardo mentioned that it managed to go without a single bid last year, and once again it’s holding firm with absolutely no interest from bidders. Pardo says he “hopes nobody ever bids on it” just because it makes for a good gag, even though he does point out that $69 for five saxophone lessons is a great deal.

Pardcast-A-Thon 2019 will be held on May 4 from noon to midnight pacific time at Pardcastathon.com. You can also donate directly to Smile Train at this link.

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