WEST PALM BEACH – Forget Chappelle’s Show and stand-up comedy, decades from now Donnell Rawlings thinks his ultimate legacy may be as elite podcaster.
“I make a living and I really enjoy doing the stand-up,” Rawlings said. “I really enjoy the acting stuff I get. But the thing that I think is going to empower me in the future, where the community and the people that support me and will always love me, is my podcast, The Donnell Rawlings Show.”
Rawlings launched the podcast about 18 months ago.
With deep comedy connections, Rawlings could easily have paraded celebrity after celebrity onto the podcast as a means to quickly build an audience.
But Rawlings, a 27-year veteran comic who gained national fame as Ashy Larry on Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedy TV show, chose to build slowly.
“When I first started this podcast I didn’t want to start with a star-studded cast of guests because I wanted people to come in and get my audience organically – come because you want to hear what I thought. And then as a bonus you would get guests.”
Focusing on his own thoughts and observations about every day life offers Rawlings the kind of freedom that interview podcasts don’t always afford.
The Donnell Rawlings Show is brash, yet friendly. It’s welcoming, but doesn’t pull punches.
“I can say what I want, do what I want,” Rawlings said. “If you like it, click on it and subscribe. If you don’t, don’t.”
Four days ago Rawlings uploaded episode No. 75 of The Donnell Rawlings Show to YouTube. It already has 11,000 views. Episode 74, uploaded a week earlier, is approaching 50,000 views.
It’s also available for download in all the usual places, including Apple iTunes and Spotify.
“I’ve been really inspired to try to make it one of the Top 10 podcasts in the country on the internet this year,” Rawlings said.
Rawlings is now comfortable enough with his show that he does have guests. Comics Chazz Palmiteri, Steve O, and comedic actor Jaleel White already made appearances. He promises even more big-name guests in coming episodes.
“I want you to come for me and be surprised at the guests that I interview,” Rawlings said.
When not recording his latest podcast episode or appearing in television shows or films, Rawlings still tours internationally.
Earlier this month he performed three nights in South Florida, including a March 6 date at the Palm Beach Improv that had a packed house howling.
In the coming months fans can catch Rawlings in Colorado, Vancouver, Texas, Los Angeles and Calgary.