By Brian Kevin
Excerpt from our April 2022 issue
Today, precocious teens who picture themselves as the next Fallon or Colbert have the tools in their pockets to make a home talk show: HD video, Zoom for interviews, a waiting audience on YouTube or TikTok. When Dan Cashman and his friends created The Night Show with Danny Cashman on Bangor’s WB affiliate in April 1997, they had none of that. “I actually don’t think it would have gone well if we had,” says Cashman, 43, whose late-night tribute celebrates its silver anniversary this month. “In 1997 all you had was TV, maybe 50 channels, and if people were turning around they might come across our show and say, ‘Hey, what’s this? “”
What it is these days is a half hour show filmed at Husson University Gracie Theater, in Bangor: a monologue and sketches, a house band and musical guests, interviews with everyone from Maine news anchors and politicians to national figures like Al Franken and the late Ed Asner. The guest list, like production values, has come a long way since Cashman was 19 and was thrilled to land the manager of minor league baseball team Bangor. “We now have a budget to bring in guests, which I wouldn’t have believed 25 years ago,” he says. “My budget back then was money in a Cool Whip container.”
Cashman has a tongue-in-cheek streak – Letterman was his first love – but his humor is serious and viscous. He apparently caught nothing of the hot Don Imus, on whose radio show he was interned in the early 2000s, during The night showis the first break. Or more than a hint of cynicism you’d expect from someone who worked in politics, which is how he spent much of a second hiatus, as the governor’s deputy press secretary John Baldacci. He’s been back on the air nonstop since 2010, carried by several Maine network affiliates and juggling a day job as a public relations manager at a Bangor communications company.
Come summer, he looks forward to visiting a place where no one has YouTube or TikTok: Camp Natarswi, on Lower Togue Pond in Baxter State Park. Run by the Girl Scouts of America, it’s where Cashman spent some memorable “Me and Dad” weekends with the eldest of his two daughters. “I feel like pinching myself the whole time I’m here,” he says. “You get to kayak with the most incredible view of Katahdin in front of you, and I feel so lucky to be enjoying it – because, you know, I’m not a Girl Scout.”
Portrait by Whittling Fog Photography
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