Allison - Live at the 'Diggnation' Series Finale, December 30th, 2011


On Friday night, our newest writer Allison attended the series finale live taping of Diggnation at The Music Box in California. We asked her to recount her experience of the taping, while keeping things mainly spoiler-free, as the series finale of the hit show will be released worldwide on Wednesday. With special guests and a hearfelt sendoff, see what she had to say about the live show, along with photos from the taping as well.

“Are you ready for Diggnation?”


It was a simple phrase to open a historic evening in downtown Hollywood on Friday, but it said so much more. It was a phrase that the technology world could’ve asked itself in July 2005, when Diggnation first premiered. Looking at the video podcasting world now, it’s hard to put into words the type of impact that Diggnation has made.

These days, every website has some kind of video blog of its content. But when Diggnation started in 2005, video podcasts had really only been around for about a year.  The podcasts that were around were corporately-produced shows with high production values.

But then Diggnation came along, with two guys, some laptops, and some beer, and changed the face of Internet television. Suddenly, podcasting was accessible, not just to those with a budget or a production team, but to anyone who had something to say.

Started by Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht, Diggnation immediately made an impact on the podcasting world. During its 6 ½-year run, it became the foundation for the creation of Revision 3, now the number one independent internet television network. During it’s run, it maintained a Top 5 position on the network, and won the Best in Podcast award from iTunes in 2007.


It was announced in October that Diggnation would be coming to an end, and they would host a live final show in December in Los Angeles. My husband and I bought tickets right away. Though the live shows weren’t our favorite episodes to watch content-wise (often the drinking gives way to any form of meaningful—or comprehendible--discussion), we knew we had to be there to see the end of this podcasting institution.

 
The format of the show is simple: Kevin and Alex sit on a couch with their laptops, drink beer, and discuss some of the week’s top stories from the website Digg.com (a website that Kevin himself created). The beauty of the format is in its simplicity. What makes the show soar is the chemistry between Kevin and Alex. Kevin and Alex have been hosting together since 2004, when they hosted The Screen Savers show together. They enjoyed working together so much, that when they decided to start their own video podcast, they decided to have it be as authentic as possible. This translates to frank, sometimes vulgar discussions on everything from technology to politics to odd news stories.

I started watching Diggnation in 2009, when a job that threatened to kill me with boredom and provided me a perfect platform to watch the show. But, I quickly watched all of the previous episodes—not for the stories, but because of Kevin and Alex.

The final episode will be online on Wednesday at Diggnation.com, so I won’t spoiler you with full content, but here are some of the highlights:

  • I have been to many signings and show openings here in LA—I have never been in a line as long as the one to enter this show!  It went around the entire block. 

  • Kevin Pollak (The Kevin Pollak Chat Show) opened the show with a Q&A with Kevin and Alex, asking everything from best stories, to their views on their tech culture impact, to the female influence on the show. This turned out to be an exceptionally smart idea to do at the beginning, both because Kevin Pollack is an excellent interviewer (if you don’t watch his podcast, start now), and because by the end of the show, both Kevin and Alex were so wasted they wouldn’t have been able to answer any questions intelligently!


  • Kina Grannis performed two songs between the Q&A and the “actual” show.  She is famous for a song she wrote called “Gotta Digg”, and now her current hit “In Your Arms” (otherwise known as The Jellybean Song).  She has a pleasant voice, and was very gracious...even as she sang to a bunch of drunken idiots in the front row.


  • The clip package of some of the highlights was hilarious, and showed exactly why Alex and Kevin work so well together as hosts. I love when they get each other hysterically laughing (Alex’s laugh in particular is infectious). It also highlighted some moments with Prager and Hippie Glenn, both production guys on the show.


  • The taping was a “who’s who” of geek culture. Jason Calicanis (mahalo.com founder), Philip DeFranco (aka SxePhil), Tony Hsieh (Zappos founder), Lon Harris (This Week on YouTube), lots of Revision 3 staff, and others that I know were there, but didn’t see.

  • The finale was filmed at The Music Box, which is located on Hollywood Blvd.  It is a renovated 20s-era movie theatre, and hosts many musical acts throughout the year.  The venue was perfect for the show, and I loved the ambiance that it provided. It is unfortunate, however, that the staff of The Music Box were so…unpleasant. They might be used to dealing with more difficult crowds, but their heavy-handed tactics for dealing with a nice, peaceful crowd were fairly ridiculous. And the bar was out of sour mix! What’s up with that??

  • About.me and Ford were both sponsors of the evening festivities.  Ford did a fun photobooth (which had a ridiculous line all evening), and handed out free shirts to everyone. About.me was also doing a photobooth, and setting up sites for people in attendance.

  • Kevin and Alex have talked for the past several episodes about what they were going to do on the finale. The Zen Flute and the ninja wood-breaking were two of the things that made the cut.  Look for them in the show!


  • After the show, Alex and Kevin stayed until they were able to meet every single person that wanted to meet them. The line literally snaked around the entire room.  We were fortunate to be able to get through the line before it was cut off—again, another venue misfortune. Too bad the security guard who took our picture didn't look to see if it was a good picture or not.


Finally, when you drink a whiskey sour, it leaves an impact.  Simultaneously sweet and sour, it warms you up as it goes down, and leaves you with a pleasant buzz afterwards.

Diggnation is a whiskey sour. The end of the show is bittersweet, both for its hosts and its fans.

So, how apropos, that after the hosts were introduced on Friday, they came out and chugged whiskey sours together? Watch the show on Wednesday with your favorite brew, then kick back and watch some of their past episodes, as well.  Enjoy watching a little piece of history, and savor your buzz from the best in the biz.

For more from Allison, make sure to follow her on Twitter here, and for more from Diggnation, make sure to check Alex Albrecht on Twitter, Kevin Rose on Twitter, and the official site for the show.