Local talk show Tonight in San Diego kicks off its fourth season on Monday, April 11, in a new location, the Raw Space Theatre on First Avenue downtown. Organizers recently concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $15,000 to renovate the building.
Tonight in San Diego is patterned after classic variety talk shows, complete with an opening monologue from host Jesse Egan, followed by a comedy segment, then guests and musical acts.
“There is much to be done, including paint, bathrooms, the electrical grid, air conditioning, new lighting, and installing a sound system,” said the show’s executive director, Fale Luis. “I mean, it’s a fixer-upper, but the best kind, where you can clearly see the end result and know it’s going to be beautiful. All we need is some support to bring in the equipment and supplies and a little bit of elbow grease.”
Viewable on YouTube, 66 episodes of Tonight in San Diego have been taped before a studio audience since shooting began on January 2, 2014. It’s the show’s third location overall, following one-season stops at Ocean West Studios and the Horton Grand Theatre, as well as a series of six one-off shows at locations such as the Lafayette Hotel and the Comedy Palace. The production has an all-volunteer staff of 35.
“We move in as the main tenant at the RAW space — aside from the Fringe Festival and Conan O’Brien’s visit during Comic-Con, Tonight in San Diego will be the regularly featured show all year,” Luis continued. “This means that we won’t have to set up and break down our equipment each and every week. Our backdrop and lighting will be set and left in place without worry, plus we can rehearse and work through technical issues whenever they come up, and not five minutes before show time.”
- Monday, April 11, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
923 First Avenue, Downtown
Luis considers music to be a key element of the show. “It’s essential, as it’s the constant on every program,” he remarked. “We have a musical guest every episode.” He considers the taping to be an opportunity for performers, who appear for free. “Truth be told, if you’re not on one of the big network talk shows, you’d rarely have the chance to be interviewed and perform for a live studio audience with the cameras rolling,” Luis said.
Upcoming guests in season four include the Bassics, Caroline Corn, Mike Pinto, and Billy “Bushwalla” Galewood.
According to Luis, great care is being taken to make sure performers sound good.
“It is extremely difficult to do, as so many different elements are in play, but with a great crew and the ability to mix down the individual tracks after the show, we can produce something that sounds really good in the end product.”