The late-night talk show has everything you expect: a live band, an announcer, a desk-and-couch set. The host, in a snappy suit, kicks it off with a monologue.
The angle: It’s all about New Orleans.
Now in its second season, “The Goodnight Show with John Calhoun,” taped monthly at Cafe Istanbul, offers a diverse roster of guests.
“The show has a flow,” Calhoun said. “The first guest is someone who’s a New Orleans icon or celebrity or somebody representing New Orleans’ cultural traditions. The second guest is often more serious. We may have somebody who is working with an organization or on an issue, whether it’s coastal restoration or violence in New Orleans.
“The third guest is always our musical guest to showcase the dynamic personalities and musical talent we have in the city.
“There’s diversity in our shows each month, but over time as well to try to give a complete picture of this amazing, dynamic city we live in, with all its positives and challenges.”
Guests on Wednesday, June 11, include Ashley Hansen, of Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, which recently won a James Beard Award and is celebrating its 75th year in business; Walter Williams, creator of the Mr. Bill puppet from “Saturday Night Live” and a proponent of wetlands restoration; and piano-playing sensation Davell Crawford.
“Even though we have received much national recognition, it is much fun to be on something so creative and has such community support,” said Hansen. “We live in a city that is so diverse and rich with culture; it is important to not take for granted live shows like the Goodnight Show or any live music happening.”
“The Goodnight Show,” taped with three cameras before a live audience, has packed the house at Cafe Istanbul since the beginning, often with standing room only.
“The show is getting more popular,” Calhoun said. “ We’re poised to break through a little bit.”
Calhoun credits the show’s success and growth to his hardworking team. “The majority of the work is done by a core group of producers,” which includes Cassandra Snyder, Duncan Pace, Ben Ellis, Otis Cross, Steve Walkup and Calhoun. But the live show requires a staff of about 20 producers, writers, musicians, actors and video and tech people.
The Goodnight Show Players, who act out comedy sketches and live commercials for the show’s real sponsors, are Kate Becker, Jon Mayhue, Chris Lane and Free Feral.
The range of guests over the past two seasons includes local filmmakers, artists, authors, historians, activists, musicians, chefs, community organizers, comedians, environmentalists, theater groups and journalists. Some notable guests include Big Freedia, John Barry, Bruce Davenport Jr., Karen Gadbois, Mr. Okra, Susan Spicer and Gwen Thompkins.
“I love getting to know people. I love having my community of people expanded in this way,” Calhoun said. “We have such great guests booked on our show and it’s a great opportunity to meet and get to know very dynamic, interesting and talented people.”
Visit the show’s website at thegoodnightshow.us.