December 30, 2013

Late-night talk show a Maine-made hit

Dan Cashman hosts the locally produced program that airs in all three of the state’s markets – a rarity.

By Ray Routhier
Staff Writer

BREWER — Dan Cashman was sitting behind a desk telling the newly crowned Miss Maine USA how she should act when she meets Miss USA pageant owner Donald Trump and sees his famously toupee-like head of hair.

click image to enlarge

Dan Cashman hosts “The Nite Show With Danny Cashman,” during a taping Dec. 11 in front of a live audience at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer.

Photos by Michael C. York/Special to the Press Herald


“The Nite Show with Danny Cashman” is filmed monthly before an audience at Next Generation Theatre, 39 Center St., Brewer. Three shows are prerecorded at a time, during a period of about three hours. Admission is free, but a donation of $5 is suggested. Plus food and refreshments are sold. It’s a chance to see how a TV show is recorded, in this case, by 20 or so students from the New England School of Communications in Bangor.

The next taping is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Jan. 29. For tickets to the show, and information on upcoming episodes, go to


WPXT (Ch. 51) in Portland, 10 p.m. Saturdays

WABI (Ch. 5) in Bangor, 11:30 p.m. Saturdays

WAGM (Ch. 8) in Presque Isle, midnight Saturdays

A special version of the show will air at 11:35 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, live from downtown Bangor on WABI and streamed live on

“When you see him, you should say, ‘What in holy hell is on your head?’ ” said Cashman to Samantha Dahlborg. “OK, now we’ll practice. I’ll be The Donald.”

Cashman, who started a public relations firm in Bangor after serving as assistant press secretary to former Gov. John Baldacci, puckered his lips and contorted his face until the essence of Trump emerged. Dahlborg, wearing her tiara and sash, shouted out the line Cashman had given her. The 100 or more people crowded into a taping of “The Nite Show With Danny Cashman” roared with laughter.

A few days later Cashman dispassionately dissected the Trump bit’s origins. He knew Miss Maine USA was coming on, he knew the Miss USA pageant is owned by Trump, and he knew because he’s a student of comedy that “Donald Trump is just funny.”

For three years Cashman has been organizing and hosting Maine’s only statewide, late-night TV talk show, very much in the mold of “Late Night With David Letterman” or “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.”

“The Nite Show With Danny Cashman” includes a live band, a crew of 20 or more students from the New England School of Communications in Bangor, and a core of eight or so staff members whom he can actually pay, thanks to advertising he sells for the show.

Cashman, 35, has managed to get his locally produced Saturday night show on the air in all three of Maine’s TV markets – Portland, Bangor and Presque Isle – something that very rarely, if ever, happens. In fact, local shows beyond sports and news are extremely rare these days.

Cashman has also attracted guests you wouldn’t expect on a Maine TV show, like Marc Summers, former host of the 1980s kids game show “Double Dare,” original MTV veejay Nina Blackwood, and Eddie Brill, the comedian who warms up the Letterman studio audience in New York City every night.

Station managers, guests and viewers all agree that the “The Nite Show” is not your typical local TV show.

“I did his show, and the remarkable thing to me was that he’s damn good at it,” said Summers. “I hope someday somebody picks that show up.”


At the Dec. 11 taping of “The Nite Show,” a capacity crowd of 100 people filled the Next Generation Theatre – a children’s theater attached to a consignment store – by 6 p.m. The crowd was settling in to watch three half-hour shows to be recorded over the next three hours.

Cashman had come right from his office, carrying spare shirts (so he looks different on every show), a bag full of cue cards he had written himself, a sock puppet Santa, and a prop composed of a shirt with a Boston cream doughnut smeared onto it.

Seven cameras, massive banks of audio and video mixing boards and more than 20 students were squeezed into the theater.

As Cashman prepared at his onstage desk, some of the regulars showed up to watch the taping. One was David Forbes Brown, a writer and musician who drives the hour or more from Bass Harbor every month for tapings.

After he had come to the shows for a while, Cashman asked him to be in on his ideas email list. Before each taping, Cashman jots down a dozen possible topics for his monologue, things in the news mostly, and emails them to a wide variety of people, looking for suggestions on which ones should be joke fodder.

(Continued on page 2)

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