Transcript: Searching for Richard Simmons | Jan 08, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted gray tie.

A caption on screen reads "Searching for Richard Simmons. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says WHERE IS RICHARD
SIMMONS, THE AMERICAN CELEBRITY
WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS GURU?
THAT WAS THE QUESTION THAT
MILLIONS OF LISTENERS PROBABLY
DIDN'T KNOW THEY WANTED AN
ANSWER TO, UNTIL FILMMAKER AND
PODCASTER DAN TABERSKI PUT IT
OUT THERE IN WHAT BECAME A
PODCAST SENSATION.
"MISSING RICHARD SIMMONS" IS THE
NAME OF THE SIX-EPISODE SERIES,
AND IT BRINGS DAN TABERSKI TO
OUR STUDIO TONIGHT.

Dan is in his thirties, with short brown hair and a boxed beard. He's wearing a grayish-blue shirt.

Steve continues SO GREAT TO MEET YOU.

Dan says VERY GOOD TO BE HERE.
THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Steve says WE SHOULD THANK THE
HOT DOCS PODCAST FESTIVAL FOR
BRINGING YOU TO OUR NECK OF THE
WOODS FROM NYC.
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT
GOING TO HAVE ANY IDEA WHO
RICHARD SIMMONS IS.
LET'S PLAY SOME TAPE THAT WILL
EXPLAIN THE VERY ODD PHENOMENON
THAT IS THIS GUY.
OKAY?
SHALL WE DO THAT, DAN?

Dan says YEAH, YEAH.

Steve says SHELDON, IT'S ALL YOURS.
ROLL AWAY.

A music video clip plays in which a curly haired man in shorts and a tank top demonstrates a cardio dance routine with other people on a colourful stage.

(music plays)

Richard says POINT IT
OH, YEAH.
C'MON.
TAKE IT UP HIGHER.

He and his followers step side to side following the rhythm as they raise their arms and point to the left and to the right.

Richard says FOUR MORE.

As they play air guitar, the song goes
SO GLAD WE MADE IT

Richard says GIVE ME THAT LOVIN'.

The song goes YOU'VE GOT TO GIVE ME SOME LOVIN'

The clip ends.

Steve says OKAY.
OBVIOUSLY OUTSIZED PERSONALITY,
LOTS OF ENERGY.

Dan says YEAH.

Steve says WHAT WAS THE STORY
WITH THOSE SHORTS?

Dan says I THINK THEY WERE HIS
TRADEMARK.

Steve says NO KIDDING.

The caption changes to "Dan Taberski. Host, 'Missing Richard Simmons.'"
Then, it changes again to "The fitness guru."

Dan says FOR SURE.
HE HAD A CLOSET FULL OF THEM,
JUST ROWS AND ROWS.
THAT VIDEO IS AMAZING BECAUSE IT
JUST SHOWS HOW... I MEAN, JUST
LOOK AT THE PEOPLE EXERCISING
WITH HIM.
THEY ARE NOT THE TYPE OF PEOPLE
THAT JANE FONDA HAD AT HER
WORKOUTS.
THEY WERE EVERYDAY PEOPLE.
SOME OLD AND YOUNG AND FAT AND
THIN AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANTED
TO GET HEALTHY AND HE APPEALED
TO THOSE PEOPLE.

Steve says TELL US ABOUT THE
FIRST TIME YOU MET HIM.

Dan says I MET HIM WHEN I WAS LIVING
IN LOS ANGELES.
I FOUND OUT HE WAS STILL
TEACHING AT THE SAME CLASS... AT
THE SAME FITNESS STUDIO CALLED
SLIMMONS.
IT WAS 12 BUCKS A CLASS.
YOU CAN EXERCISE WITH RICHARD
SIMMONS, AND I WENT AND IT WAS
INCREDIBLE.
IT WAS... HE IS HUGE... HE'S A
HUGE PERSONALITY.
HE'S SO EMOTIVE.
SO CARING RIGHT OFF THE BAT.
HE CRIES.
HE LAUGHS.
SOME OF THE MUSIC HE PLAYS IS
HIS OWN.
SOME OF IT IS BARBRA STREISAND,
SOME OF IT IS RHIANNA.
ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE.
GAY, STRAIGHT.
IT'S JUST A GREAT COLLECTION OF
PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST THERE TO
SOAK IN HIS VIBE.

A picture pops up of an older Ricard Simmons hugging Dan, who laughs with his eyes closed.

Steve says THAT PICTURE
CERTAINLY SUGGESTS THAT YOU TWO
EITHER ARE OR WERE CLOSE FRIENDS.
WAS THAT THE CASE?

Dan says I WOULDN'T SAY CLOSE.
I MEAN, THIS WAS THE FIRST DAY I
MET HIM.
AND EVERYBODY COULD GO TO HIS
CLASS COULD TAKE A PICTURE WITH
RICHARD SIMMONS.
HE WOULD WAIT.
NO PHONES IN THE CLASS.
BUT AT THE END OF THE CLASS, HE
WOULD STAND AND HE WOULD TAKE A
PICTURE WITH EVERYBODY.

Steve says WHAT YEAR WAS THIS?

Dan says THAT WAS 2012.
THAT'S WHEN I MET HIM, YEAH.
THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF MY
RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

Steve says YOU CALL IT A RELATIONSHIP.

Dan says SURE.

Steve says EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT
MORE BY WHAT YOU MEAN BY THAT?

Dan says I THINK RICHARD SIMMONS WOULD
PROBABLY DEFINE IT A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY.
I STARTED TO GET TO KNOW HIM
FROM THAT FIRST DAY IN CLASS.
I ASKED HIM IMMEDIATELY IF HE
WOULD BE INTERESTED IN LETTING
ME DIRECT A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT
HIS LIFE, AND HE SAID NO.
BUT WITH KIND OF A WINK.
AND SO I SAID, ALL RIGHT, I'LL
JUST KEEP TAKING THE CLASS.
AND I DID FOR A YEAR.
AND WE GOT TO KNOW EACH OTHER
THROUGH THAT, AND ULTIMATELY WE
STARTED TALKING MORE ABOUT THE
DOCUMENTARY AND STARTED HAVING
LUNCH AND HAD MEETINGS AND IT
BECAME A THING.

Steve says PEOPLE SAID THAT HE
SAVED THEIR LIVES, LIKE HE WAS
NOT JUST SORT OF A FREAK SHOW.

Dan says YEAH.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcasts: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says HE WAS IMPORTANT TO THEM.
HOW DID HE SAVE LIVES?

The caption changes to "Dan Taberski, @dtaberski."

Dan says HE WOULD WAKE UP AT... I
DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT IN
PAST TENSE, BUT THIS IS THE
RICHARD I KNOW.
HE WOULD WAKE UP AT FOUR IN THE
MORNING AND CALL 20, 30, 40
PEOPLE A DAY WHO WERE ISOLATED
AND ALONE AND WHO NEEDED
EMPATHY, AND HE OFFERED THAT TO
THEM.
AND SOME OF THESE PEOPLE WERE AT
THEIR WIT'S END.
THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHERE ELSE TO
GO.
AND SOME PEOPLE NEEDED TO LOSE
50 POUNDS AND SOME PEOPLE NEEDED
TO LOSE 500.
AND HE... HE UNDERSTOOD THOSE
PEOPLE AND HE GAVE THEM EMPATHY
AND HE SAVED A LOT OF LIVES, AND
A LOT OF THAT WAS BEHIND THE
CAMERA.
A LOT OF THAT WAS OFF SCREEN.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says SOME OF THE STUFF
THAT WAS ON CAMERA WERE HIS VERY
FUNNY APPEARANCES ON THE
LETTERMAN SHOW.

Dan says YEAH, 33 TIMES.

Steve says 33 TIMES.
HE ALWAYS USED TO LOVE MAKING
DAVE SQUIRM, TO MAKE HIM FEEL AN
UNCOMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE.

Dan says FOR SURE.

Steve says WAS THAT SCHTICK OR
DID DAVE FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE
HAVING RICHARD SO CLOSE TO HIM?

Dan says I DON'T KNOW LETTERMAN.
FROM WHAT RICHARD HAS TOLD ME, I
THINK DAVID LETTERMAN PROBABLY
WAS UNCOMFORTABLE.
IT'S INTERESTING.
ON THE ONE HAND YOU LOOK AT
THOSE INTERVIEWS WITH RICHARD
AND LETTERMAN AND IT KIND OF
FEELS LIKE LETTERMAN IS MAKING
FUN OF HIM A LITTLE BIT.
ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU HAVE TO
REMEMBER THAT RICHARD SIMMONS IS
INCREDIBLY FUNNY AND MAGNETIC
AND HE OWNS A ROOM.
AND SO ON THE ONE HAND, YOU
KNOW, HE WAS A GUEST.
ON THE OTHER HAND, I WOULD
IMAGINE HE WOULD BE COMPETITION
FOR PEOPLE IN THE COMEDY
BUSINESS.

Steve says AT SOME POINT, DAN,
AFTER BEING SUCH A PUBLIC
PRESENCE, HE DISAPPEARED OUT OF SIGHT.

Dan says HE DID.

Steve says DO WE HAVE ANY
THEORIES AS TO WHY?

The caption changes to "Leaving without saying goodbye."

Dan says WELL, I MEAN, THE THEORIES I
HAD WHEN THE PODCAST STARTED ARE
VERY DIFFERENT THAN NOW.
NOW, AS FAR AS IT MAKES A
DIFFERENT WHAT I THINK...

Steve says START AT THE BEGINNING.
I MEAN, YOU STARTED THE PODCAST
IN PART BECAUSE HE...

Dan says IN FEBRUARY 2014, HE
BASICALLY STOPPED BEING RICHARD
SIMMONS.
HE STOPPED SHOWING UP TO THE
CLASS.
HE STOPPED RETURNING CALLS,
STOPPED RETURNING EMAILS.
THESE ARE ALL THINGS HE WOULD DO
REGULARLY.
THIS ISN'T SOMEBODY JUST
DECIDING HE DIDN'T WANT TO BE
FAMOUS ANYMORE.
IT WAS SOMEBODY WHO STOPPED
EVERYTHING ON A DIME.
THE PEOPLE WHO HAD TAKEN THAT
PLACE, SOME HE HAD KNOWN FOR
DECADES.
HE CUT OFF ALL COMMUNICATION,
INCREDIBLY ABRUPTLY, INCREDIBLY
WORRYING TO EVERYBODY WHO KNEW
AND LOVE HIM.
AGAIN, BESIDES HIS CELEBRITY.

Steve says AND YOUR PODCAST
SERIES SORT OF TRIES TO TRACK
WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.

Dan says YES.

Steve says WHAT WERE SOME OF
THE RUMOURS THAT YOU EXPLORED?

Dan says YOU KNOW, THE BIG QUESTION
WAS, ARE YOU OKAY?
AND SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT HE
WAS DEPRESSED.
SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT HE WAS
HAVING ISSUES WITH HIS KNEES AND
THAT WOULDN'T LET HIM EXERCISE
ANYMORE.
THE GIST WAS BASICALLY TO USE
THE QUESTION OF, ARE YOU OKAY
AND TRYING TO UNDERSTAND WHY
SOMEBODY LIKE THAT WOULD STOP
BEING THAT PERSON AS A WAY TO
EXPLORE HIS LIFE AND THE IMPACT
HE HAD AND HELPING PEOPLE TO
RECONTEXTUALIZE WHO HE IS.
HE CHANGED FITNESS FOREVER AND
CONTINUES TO DO SO.

Steve says HOW OLD A GUY WOULD
HE BE NOW?

Dan says I THINK HE'S 69, 70.

Steve says ONE OF HIS FRIENDS
NAMED BELLI PUT IT COLOURFULLY.
I'M NOT SURE I CAN USE THAT
LANGUAGE ON THIS PROGRAM BUT HE
Dan says RICHARD DOESN'T OWE ANYBODY
ANY EXPLANATION FOR WHY HE'S
DISAPPEARED.
DO YOU AGREE?

Dan says I DO.
I DO.
PARTICULARLY BECAUSE OF THE WORD OWE.
RICHARD SIMMONS DOES OWE ANYBODY ANYTHING.
IF ANYTHING, WE OWE HIM.
HE SPENT 40 YEARS BEING THE MOST
EMPATHETIC PERSON ON THE PLANET.
AND IT'S WORTH ASKING WHY
SOMEBODY LIKE THAT, SOMEBODY SO
GIVING AND SO OPEN, WHO IS
SHARING EVERY PART OF HIS LIFE
WITH NOT JUST, YOU KNOW, FANS,
BUT ALSO WITH HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE
THAT HE WAS HELPING ON A
PERSONAL LEVEL, HE SHARED SO
MUCH WITH THEM.
AND WHEN SOMEBODY STOPS DOING
THAT, IT'S WORTH ASKING WHY.

Steve says I DID READ IN THE
NEW YORK TIMES SEVERAL MONTHS
AGO A QUOTE FROM HIM SAYING,
LOOK IT, I'M FINE.
I JUST DON'T WANT TO TALK TO YOU
ANYMORE, AND THANK YOU AND
GOOD-BYE.

Dan says YEAH.

Steve says AND WE SHOULD JUST
ACCEPT THAT?

Dan says I DO NOW AND I... THAT WAS
AFTER, YOU KNOW... IT'S
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THE
AMOUNT OF... THE AMOUNT OF
CONCERN THAT THE PEOPLE IN HIS
LIFE HAD, TO THE POINT WHERE
THEY WERE TRYING TO KNOCK ON HIS
DOOR AND SAY WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
WE'VE BEEN FRIENDS FOR TWO
DECADES.
JUST TELL US YOU'RE OKAY.
AND AFTER DOING THIS PODCAST AND
HEARING FROM SO MANY PEOPLE WHO
LOVE HIM, I BELIEVE IT.
I BELIEVE HE'S AS OKAY AS HE
WANTS TO BE.
OF COURSE HE OWES NOBODY
ANYTHING AND IT'S HIS LIFE TO LIVE.

Steve says SINCE YOU MENTIONED
THE PODCAST, LET'S GO THERE NEXT.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE OBVIOUSLY
CONCERNED WHEN HE DISAPPEARED
FROM SIGHT AND STOPPED BEING
RICHARD SIMMONS INC., IF YOU LIKE.
YOU DECIDED TO PURSUE THAT
QUESTION THROUGH THE FORM OF A
PODCAST.
WHERE DID YOU GET THAT IDEA?

The caption changes to "From podcast to phenomenon."

Dan says ORIGINALLY IT WAS A
DOCUMENTARY I STARTED SHOOTING.
IT WAS BASICALLY I WAS WORKING
ON THIS PROJECT WITH HIM.
HE DISAPPEARED.
I JUST DECIDED THAT I WOULD... I
KIND OF COULDN'T LET IT GO AFTER
A YEAR OF NOT KNOWING WHAT WAS
GOING ON.
SO I STARTED TO SHOOT IT.
ULTIMATELY I TEAMED UP WITH SOME
PEOPLE WHO DECIDED THAT A
PODCAST WOULD BE A BETTER
FORMAT, AND I'M SUPER GLAD I
DID.
PODCASTS ARE AMAZING.
THEY'RE INTIMATE.
THEY ALLOW FOR SORT OF MORE OF A
CONVERSATION THAN A DOCUMENTARY
WOULD HAVE.

Steve says HOW DID YOU REACH
OUT TO HIM IN AN EFFORT TO GET
HIM TO PARTICIPATE?

Dan says THROUGH HIS PUBLICIST,
THROUGH HIS MANAGER.
AGAIN, HIS MANAGER HAS, AGAIN,
KNOWN HIM FOR 40 YEARS.
THESE ARE PEOPLE... THESE ARE
THE CLOSEST PEOPLE IN HIS LIFE.
YOU KNOW, I REACHED OUT TO HIM.
I HAVE HIS EMAIL, I HAVE HIS
PHONE NUMBER.
WE WERE FRIENDS.

Steve says WHAT TYPE OF
RESPONSE DID YOU GET?

Dan says FROM HIM, NOTHING.
FROM THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM, VERY LITTLE.
UNTIL THE PODCAST TOOK OFF AND
THEN THEY STARTED TO TAKE MORE
NOTICE AND THE CONVERSATION
BECAME LARGER.

Steve says DID YOU THINK THAT
YOUR FRIENDSHIP WITH HIM WOULD
ALLOW YOU TO SORT OF CRACK
THROUGH THAT BARRIER WHERE
OTHERS COULD NOT?
AND GET HIM TO PARTICIPATE?

Dan says I WASN'T SURE IF HE WOULD
PARTICIPATE.
I KNEW THAT MY KNOWING HIM AND
KNOWING THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM
MADE ME UNDERSTAND THE DEPTH TO
WHICH THIS WAS CONFOUNDING, WHAT
HAD HAPPENED.
IT MADE ME UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S
NOT JUST... IT'S NOT JUST GEORGE
CLOONEY DECIDING TO TAKE A
COUPLE YEARS OFF AND HANG OUT BY
LAKE COMO.
THAT IT WAS... YOU JUST CAN'T
OVERSTATE THE CONCERN THAT
PEOPLE HAD.
AND KNOWING HIM AND KNOWING THE
PEOPLE AROUND HIM AND BEING A
PART OF THAT WORLD, YOU KNOW,
EVEN THE LITTLE BIT THAT I WAS,
IT GAVE ME A WAY TO TALK TO
PEOPLE WHEN I FELT IT WASN'T
LIKE TMZ, PARACHUTING IN TRYING
TO GOSSIP ABOUT SOMEBODY.

Steve says THAT'S WHAT I WANT
TO FOLLOW UP ON.
THIS MAY BE A BIT OF A CHIPPY
QUESTION, SO HANG IN THERE.
YES, A LOT OF LOVE FOR HIM.
YOU AS A DOCUMENTARIAN WOULD
WANT TO PEEL THAT CURTAIN BACK
AND TRY TO EXPLORE WHAT IS
OBVIOUSLY A FASCINATING TOPIC OF
A LOT OF CONCERN TO A LOT OF
PEOPLE.
DID YOU AT ANY POINT IN YOUR
PODCAST SERIES, THOUGH, THINK,
I'M KIND OF INVADING THIS GUY'S
PRIVACY HERE AND I'M PRYING INTO
HIS PRIVATE LIFE AND I FEEL A
LITTLE NOT GOOD ABOUT IT?

Dan says WE WENT INTO THIS WITH OUR
EYES WIDE OPEN.
WE SPENT A COUPLE YEARS PURSUING
THIS BEFORE WE DID IT.
AND SO WE HAD ASKED THESE
QUESTIONS OVER AND OVER AND WE
WERE COMFORTABLE AND I AM
COMFORTABLE WITH HOW IT TURNED
OUT.
I WILL SAY THAT A LOT OF THINGS
THAT PEOPLE THINK MAY HAVE BEEN
INVASIVE IN TERMS OF KNOCKING ON
HIS DOOR... I THINK PART OF THE
PODCAST FORMAT AND PART OF WHAT
WE DECIDED TO DO WAS TO SHOW YOU
THAT PROCESS.
TO SHOW YOU, I'M GOING TO KNOCK
ON THE DOOR RIGHT NOW.
WHEREAS JOURNALISTS WILL CAMP
OUT IN FRONT OF SOMEBODY'S HOUSE
FOR DAYS AND CALL ENDLESSLY.
BUT YOU DON'T GET TO SEE THAT
PART OF THE PROCESS.
SO YOU DON'T REALIZE HOW
INVASIVE THAT'S BEING.
I WORKED FOR NBC NEWS FOR A FEW
YEARS AND WE DID THINGS THERE AS
JOURNALISTS, AND RIGHTFULLY SO,
THAT WERE WAY MORE INVASIVE IN
ANYTHING WE DID IN TERMS OF
TALKING TO RICHARD SIMMONS.

Steve says DO YOU KNOW IF HE'S
HEARD ALL EPISODES OF THE PODCAST?

Dan says I DON'T.

Steve says WOULDN'T YOU LOVE TO
KNOW THAT?

Dan says I WOULD.
I SUSPECT... I HAD BREAKFAST
WITH HIS MANAGER A FEW WEEKS
AGO, AND HE'S NOT EVEN SURE.
HE SUSPECTS THAT HE'S HEARD
PARTS OF IT BUT NOT ALL OF IT.

Steve says LISTEN, I DON'T KNOW
THIS FOR SURE BUT MY HUNCH IS
THERE ARE VERY FEW PEOPLE WHO
PUT ON PODCASTS TO MAKE A LOT OF
MONEY OFF THEM.
BUT YOUR THING REALLY TOOK OFF.
THIS BECAME A PHENOMENON.

Dan says YEAH.

Steve says DID YOU GET STINKIN'
RICH OFF OF IT?

Dan says OH, IF THAT WERE THE CASE.
NO, NOT AT ALL.
IT'S JUST NOT HOW THESE THINGS
WORKED.
IT CERTAINLY ISN'T HOW IT WORKED
FOR ME.
NOBODY EXPECTED THIS TO HAPPEN.
AND WE DIDN'T REALLY DO IT IN A
WAY THAT WAS SUPER MONETIZABLE,
IF THAT'S EVEN A WORD.

Steve says THAT'S A NEW
EXPRESSION, BUT I GET YOU.

Dan says CAN YOU'RE WELCOME TO USE IT
ANYTIME.
WE DECIDED OFF THE BAT, YOU
KNOW, WHEN SOMETHING... IT
BECAME HUGE QUICKLY.
PEOPLE REALLY CARED ABOUT RICHARD.

Steve says HOW MANY DOWNLOADS?
GIVE US A SENSE.

Dan says MILLIONS.

Steve says MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
HEARD THIS.

Dan says OH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH.
IT BECAME HUGE VERY QUICKLY
BECAUSE I THINK PEOPLE WERE
TOUCHED BY HIM AND HIS STORY.
BUT WE MADE A DECISION IN THE
BEGINNING, BEFORE IT STARTED,
AND WE KEPT TO IT, THAT WE
WEREN'T GOING TO MAKE THIS AN
ENDLESS SEARCH.
THIS WASN'T ABOUT HUNTING DOWN
THE MAN.
THE MYSTERY IS A WAY OF TALKING
ABOUT RICHARD'S STORY.
SIX EPISODES IS WHAT WE
COMMITTED TO DO AND SIX EPISODES
IS WHAT WE STOPPED AT.
I'M SURE THE PEOPLE WHO, YOU
KNOW, WANTED TO MAKE MORE MONEY
ON THIS WOULD LOVE THERE TO HAVE
BEEN MORE EPISODES.
BUT THAT'S JUST NOT WHAT WE
INTENDED TO DO AND I'M GLAD WE
STUCK TO IT.

Steve says HERE IS SARAH
LARSON, STAFF WRITER FOR THE NEW
YORKER, WRITING LAST SPRING...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Unintended consequences." The quote reads "'Missing Richard Simmons',' like 'Serial' and the documentary 'Making a murderer,' has raises serious questions about the ethics of deep-dive entertainment journalism that investigates current real-life mysteries. When millions of people tune in to shows that expose the minutiae of real lives of real people in something like real time, the subjects' day-to day lives can change dramatically, and forever, through no intention of their own. 'Simmons' caught a bit of heat, but the genre is burgeoning, and will continue to."
Quoted from Sarah Larson, The New Yorker. March 21, 2017.

Steve says DID YOU, IN THE
COURSE OF DOING THIS, REALIZE
THAT YOU ARE, IN EFFECT, I DON'T
KNOW ABOUT CREATING BUT YOU ARE
CERTAINLY ONE OF THE SIGNATURE
EXAMPLES OF THIS NEW KIND OF
GENRE OF PODCAST.
WERE YOU AWARE OF THAT WHEN YOU
WERE DOING IT?

Dan says NO... NOT WHEN WE STARTED.
IMMEDIATELY IT BECAME CLEAR.

Steve says YOU ARE NOW, THOUGH.

Dan says I AM NOW.
LOOK, I THINK... I THINK... YOU
KNOW, OUR PODCAST, AND I'M NOT
COMPARING MYSELF TO S-TOWN, BUT
S-TOWN IS INCREDIBLE.
THESE AREN'T JUST... THE TERM...
I KNOW SARAH LARSON.
SHE IS GREAT.
SHE DOES GREAT WORK IN TERMS OF
TALKING ABOUT PODCASTING AND
MAKING THAT GENRE OF MEDIA MORE
POPULAR.
BUT ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALISM,
THE FACT THAT HE IS A CELEBRITY
IS THE SMALLEST PART OF THIS
STORY FOR ME.
AND SO I THINK WHAT WE DID
DIFFERENTLY WAS TREAT RICHARD
SIMMONS SERIOUSLY, AND WHERE
PEOPLE HADN'T BEEN DOING THAT
FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS.
AND I'M SUPER PROUD OF THAT.

Steve says HERE'S THE THING,
DAN.
SERIAL CAUGHT LIGHTNING IN A
BOTTLE THE SAME WAY YOUR PROGRAM
DID.
THEY TRIED TO FOLLOW UP ON IT.
AND, YOU KNOW, I HEARD IT WAS
GOOD.
I ALSO HEARD IT WASN'T AS GOOD.

Dan says OH, GOOD.

Steve says IT WAS GOOD.
BUT IT DIDN'T CAPTURE LIGHTNING
IN A BOTTLE LIKE... THE SEQUEL
WAS NOT AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL.

Dan says YES.
I INTEND TO FOLLOW PROUDLY IN THAT.

Steve says THAT WAS WHAT MY
NEXT QUESTION WAS GOING TO BE.
HOW DO YOU FOLLOW UP ON THIS?

Dan says YOU DON'T.
I'M DOING ANOTHER PODCAST, A
PODCAST SERIES.
IT'S AMBITIOUS.
IT WILL COME OUT NEXT YEAR.

Steve says WHAT IS IT?

Dan says I CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW.

Steve says OH, C'MON.

The caption changes to "Escaping the spotlight."

Dan says NO, I REALLY CAN'T.
BUT IT WILL BE AN ANTHOLOGY
PODCAST THAT WILL HAVE
ADVENTURES IN THE CULTURE.
NOT ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALISM BUT
SORT OF REALLY WRESTLING WITH
QUESTIONS LIKE WE ASKED HERE.
AND, AGAIN, WE ASKED DIFFICULT
QUESTIONS.
WHAT DO WE OWE PEOPLE?
HOW DO YOU END A RELATIONSHIP
GRACEFULLY?
WHAT IS EMPATHY?
WHAT IS THE COST OF TOO MUCH
EMPATHY?
WE ARE ASKING HARD QUESTIONS.
AND SO IF PEOPLE LIKE SARAH AND
ANYBODY ELSE WANT TO ASK ME HARD
QUESTIONS IN RETURN, THAT'S FAIR
GAME.
AND THAT'S THE THING ABOUT
PODCASTS, IS IT'S DEFINITELY
MORE OF A CONVERSATION.
YOU'RE MAKING IT AND PEOPLE ARE
TALKING ABOUT IT AND THEN YOU'RE
MAKING THE NEXT EPISODE.
AND THAT CONVERSATION IS PART OF
IT.
AND SO I'M HAPPY TO HAVE IT.

Steve says AT SOME POINT DID
YOU NOT JUST WANT TO BANG THE
DOOR DOWN OF HIS HOUSE AND SAY,
"DAMN IT, RICHARD, WE NEED TO KNOW"?

Dan says NO.
ISN'T THAT FUNNY?
AS IT NEARED ITS END, I REALIZED
THAT HE WASN'T GOING... THAT HE
WAS GOING TO STICK TO HIS GUNS.
AND I KNEW FROM HIS
REPRESENTATIVES BEFORE WE EVEN
STARTED THAT HE WASN'T SICK.
THAT'S NOT WHAT THIS WAS.

Steve says THERE WERE RUMOURS
THAT HE WAS DEATHLY ILL.

Dan says YEAH.
I ASKED HIM MANAGEMENT, YOU
KNOW, FROM THE BEGINNING.
IF THIS IS SOMETHING REALLY
GRIM, YOU NEED TO TELL ME TO
STOP AND I WILL.
AND THEY SAID, NO, HE'S FINE.
KNOWING THAT THAT WASN'T THE
CASE, YOU KNOW, IT FELT OKAY TO
PURSUE IT.

Steve says YOU KNOW THAT IF HE
EVER DOES DECIDE TO MAKE A
COMEBACK OR PUBLISH A BOOK OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT, YOU HAVE
HELPED HIM INORDINATELY TO
CREATE AWARENESS AND INTEREST IN
HIS LIFE STORY.
HE KIND OF OWES YOU IN SOME
RESPECTS.

Dan says YEAH, RIGHT.

Steve says I KNOW YOU DON'T
WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT.
BUT LET'S BE HONEST.
YOU'VE PUT HIM... YOU'VE PUT HIM
OUT THERE IN A WAY THAT HE MIGHT
NOT OTHERWISE BE.

Dan says IF I DID ANYTHING, IT WAS TO
REMIND PEOPLE THAT HE'S
INCREDIBLE AND THAT PEOPLE LIKE
HIM, IT'S NOT ABOUT CELEBRITY,
IT'S ABOUT HAVING AN ENORMOUS
CAPACITY FOR EMPATHY AND SAVING
LIVES, AND IF I REMINDED PEOPLE
OF THAT, AMEN.
AND I HOPE HE GOES AND DOES
WHATEVER HE WANTS WITH IT OR
NOTHING WITH IT.
WHATEVER HE WANTS TO DO.

Steve says THE NAME OF THE
PODCAST ONCE AGAIN IS "MISSING
RICHARD SIMMONS."
WHICH WE ALL KIND OF STILL ARE,
AREN'T WE?

Dan says ALWAYS.

The caption changes to "Producer: Colin Ellis, @ColinEllis81."

Steve says WE ALWAYS ARE.
THAT'S DAN TABERSKI, FILMMAKER,
PODCASTER HOST, AND WE THANK
YOU, DAN, VERY MUCH FOR VISITING
US AT TVO TONIGHT.

Dan says OH, MY PLEASURE.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Watch: Searching for Richard Simmons