One Thousand Epitopes of TWiV
Just over a week ago, I stepped out onto a stage in New York City to join a show, in front of a live audience of 130 people. Tickets to the event had sold out almost as soon as they’d gone on sale. It was, of course, a massive ego boost, though the audience wasn’t there just to see me. They were there for the whole cast of “This Week in Virology,” the podcast I’ve been co-hosting for fifteen years.
If you weren’t able to make it, check out the taped version, which was recorded by talented videographer and longtime friend of the show Ray Ortega. Another recurring TWiV helper, Chris Condayan, aka Chris Suspect, flexed his extraordinary image-making skills to photograph the event.
The episode itself includes some of our own individual stories about virology, followed by some fun audience interaction and a great “Viral Jeopardy” game run by show co-host and actual “Jeopardy” winner Brianne Barker.
It was great to meet so many of our biggest fans, and also to get together with the other co-hosts, some of whom I had never met in person. The entire event - and indeed the whole podcast and the burgeoning media empire associated with it - was organized by my good friend and former thesis mentor Vincent Racaniello.
While backstage waiting for the show to start, I was chatting with the other hosts about the milestone of our 1,000th episode. There aren’t many series of any kind, in any medium, that can match that output. The Simpsons, the longest-running American scripted primetime series, has only reached 746 episodes. Japanese anime epic One Piece stands at 1,059.
Talk shows are probably a more relevant comparison, and we have stiffer competition there; The Tonight Show has aired 13,124 episodes. It’ll take us a bit longer to get there. Among podcasts, though, we’re pretty unusual. At an hour and a half to two hours per episode, starting on Episode 1 and auto-playing the whole series would now take more than two months nonstop. And we have no intention of stopping.
The cast of 1,000. Image copyright Chris Suspect.
Thanks to everyone who showed up, everyone who watched or listened to the recording afterward, and Vincent and the rest of the cast. We aren’t going to make a habit of doing events like this, but it was tremendous fun.