Brian Kelsey built a successful late night show from scratch in his garage

Image courtesy Brian Kesley
Image courtesy Brian Kesley /

Brian Kelsey arrives just on time as we begin our discussion on the exciting project he’s now sharing with the world. The former Howard Stern Show staffer now holds one of the coolest job titles in the country – he’s an established late-night host, or just about one.

Kelsey begins, giving a brief rundown of his incredible career in media. He’s worked as a writer and producer alongside Howard Stern, hosted live television with Martha Stewart and now operates a talk show production entirely from the comfort of his home garage.

“I think five years ago, I was sitting around and I was like, ‘Gosh, I think I have everything I need to do it,” Kelsey tells me over Zoom.

Brian has experience in carpentry, so building a set wouldn’t be much of a challenge. He’s worked in cinematography and editing and knows how traditional television should look and feel. Watching just a few minutes of Brian’s show, it’s clear he’s a media veteran. I tell him his extraordinary production quality looks like something crafted with an NBC-level budget, he laughs, but I sensed he agreed.

Kelsey wanted to present himself as somewhat of an auteur in an already crowded field of social media entertainment. This idea was simple: to see how many A-listers he could convince to travel to his home for a short ten-minute interview.

I ask him what goes on behind the scenes to book guests as I assume it can’t be easy.

“It’s a lot of emails to the publicists. I generally start with people who are in the area where I live. There are a lot of celebrities here. I’m about 45 minutes outside of New York City,” says Brian.

The show host makes things as easy as possible for his guests, in theory, it’s the entire selling point. Only being expected to give up fifteen minutes of your time for some quick online publicity and a homemade cocktail on demand sure appears to be an offer you’d expect more famous faces to take up. Although somehow, Kelsey reminds me it’s usually a “99.999% ‘no’ every time” when he approaches celeb publicists.

See above: Brian Kelsey talks to Sophie B. Hawkins in a recent edition of Ten Minutes With

Traditional late-night television enjoys the prestige of large viewerships and incredibly valuable ad space. For social media stars like Kelsey, it’s all hands on deck if the operation is to stay afloat. I ask him if he’s interested in a network TV job and whether he could maintain his novel style.

“The big people – that is all day long. Five days a week. This is too much work,” he tells me. “I don’t want a five-day week thing. A once-a-week show.”

It’s not uncommon in the genre to see programmes of this format. Real Time with Bill Maher famously only airs Friday evenings.

Brian is clear that despite his dreams of taking things mainstream, he wants a spot in the edit room. Having worked in television and radio for a number of years, I assume Brian fears his creativity could be soaked up by execs and writing teams. After becoming familiar with Kelsey’s style, it becomes clear just how vital his personality is in steering the ship to glory.

We go on to discuss the future of late-night television and whilst the host agrees the genre is in a tough spot, the success of streaming platforms indicates a promising revolution.

“I really love Conan O’Brien. He doesn’t have his show anymore but he has a podcast,” Brian mentions. He also references his ultimate idols and veterans of late night, David Letterman and Johnny Carson.

"“Johnny Carson, David Letterman – those two are my gold standard.”"

Kelsey goes on to announce he’s nearly ready to begin a course with viewers on launching YouTube-style shows like his. Subscribers can book a time with the late-night host via his various contact links if interested.

After watching the host build an entire late-night studio from scratch in a small home garage, I’m left wondering what he’ll do next in his fascinating broadcasting adventure.

Next. Jon Stewart reacts to Tucker Carlson’s exit from Fox News. dark

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