Family

When Your Dad Is Mike Pesca, Host of the Gist Podcast

Featuring Emmett Pesca, age 9, grade four.

Emmett Pesca
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Mike Pesca.

In this series, kids (and not-exactly-kids-anymore) review how well their parents balance life and work. To nominate a potential subject, ideally between the ages of 5 and 17, email humaninterest@slate.com.

Emmett Pesca is 9 years old and in the fourth grade.

Rachelle Hampton: If you had to explain what your dad did to someone who’s never listened to the Gist, how would you explain it?

Emmett Pesca: He invented this podcast that talks about sports and other stuff.

Have you ever listened to the Gist?

Well I have, but only some episodes.

What do you think makes your dad good at his job?

He has a good sense of humor, and he practices a lot. And he’s smart. The podcast has a good name, the Gist. It’s funny sometimes. It talks a lot about all different topics.

What do you think is cool about your dad’s job?

Because it’s really fun being famous and everyone knows who you are because you made a podcast and sometimes on the subway you come in and you talk to someone about a new video game and someone sitting across from you says, “Um, are you Mike Pesca?”

Does your dad get recognized a lot??

Yeah, by the voice.

Can you tell me more about that?

Well, that one time we were on the subway, about to get off to go to my school, and then someone sitting down said, “Are you Mike Pesca?” And my dad’s like, “Yeah.” “Oh, I love your podcast, I listen to it.” “Nice to meet you, what’s your name?” Then they shook hands and then we got off and they were like, “Bye!” “Bye!”

What do you think is your dad’s favorite part of his job?

Making the jokes.

Do you think anything stresses him out about his job?

I don’t really think anything ever stresses him out about his job. I think he just likes it.

Does your dad talk about work a lot at home?

Yeah. He normally tells me what he did on his podcast and we talk about that.

Do you think your dad’s personality is different at home versus on his podcast?

Yes. At home he’s much more relaxed. On the podcast he’s much more like, “And this day, this day blah blah blah.” And his voice is lower. Just a little.

Do you think your dad’s job is cooler than your friends’ parents’ job?

Well, he’s the coolest out of my family, even though my mom’s boyfriend is a chef. And then my mom and my dad’s girlfriend are both architects.

So why is your dad’s job the coolest out of the family?

Because he gets to be, like, famous. Although my mom makes the most money, it’s still cool.

And your mom’s an architect too?

Yeah. [Editor’s note: Emmett’s mom actually runs a real estate PR company.] She just moved offices. Her job is like third or fourth coolest.

What do you think your mom likes most about her job?

I don’t know. I didn’t bother to ask her.

That’s fair. I don’t think I ever bothered to ask my parents that either.

It’s not that fun. That’s why.

OK, so what does a typical day look like for your parents?

For my dad, he takes me to school, then he comes to the office, and then he works and works and works and then he comes home, normally makes dinner, and then that’s it. Sometimes on the weekend, we watch movies, yada yada. We just finished Major League. I liked it a lot.

My dad and I do this game where we try to guess people’s names. We just go like, “Judy? Samantha? James? Bobert?”

Is he on his phone a lot when you’re together?

Yes. Even with the podcast he’ll be like, “Hold on, I have to check something, important stuff.” Sometimes I have to ask him a question and I have to wait and I forget.

Does your dad ever talk to you about social media or Twitter?

Well sometimes he’ll say, “Sad! Fake news!” Or “Guess what Donald Trump posted? Pumpkin heads are eating trees.” Or something like, “Billy goats are shooting bows and arrows off their mountains.”

How do you think your dad makes his show?

Well, he types up some stuff, memorizes what he’s supposed to do, practices it a couple of times, writes it down in his computer, and then does it in the office.

What do you do when you’re visiting the office while he’s recording?

I play around. Sometimes I go into the podcasting headquarters where they see everything, and I turn the volume up, I dim the lights a little.

So you get to mess with the controls a little?

Not “mess,” if I messed with it then it might end up in French or something and nobody would be able to understand it, so I’m not allowed to mess with it.

I have a question for you.

Yeah?

What do the other people who work here do?

Some people are editors who make other people’s writing sound a lot better. Some are writers. Most of the people over there produce podcasts. This is the video team. The editor in chief sits back there. 

What’s harder, doing what my dad does, or being a professional baseball player?

Hard to say! What was it like at home when your dad was writing his book?

He said he had been working on it for like two years but he never told me until the day he made it! I’d ask, “Oh, what are you working on?” And he’d say, “Oh, nothing much.” And then he randomly said, “I’m finally done with my book.” And I was like, “Wait, you had a book?” Then he had a book party.

Did you get to go?

Obviously.

Would you ever want to write a book?

No, I don’t enjoy writing that much. Maybe a comic book but probably not. And if I did write a book, it would definitely be nonfiction.

Would you ever want to do a podcast one day?

Maybe, probably not.

Why?

Because it’s just talking. Like, say, if it’s an extreme podcast about doing cool stunts, it would be like, “Now I’m going to jump off this 500-foot cliff” … but you can’t really watch it.