Dennis Quaid talks dogs, his new pet podcast, and making 'movies for your ears'
Dennis Quaid has a pet podcast. Yes, really.
The purrfect new series, titled The Pet Show, releases two new episodes a week and features celebrity guests who love pets, plus the latest in pet care, pet style, pet media, and pet influencers. The podcast launched July 14 and is hosted by Quaid and writer Jimmy Jellinek.
Here, Quaid — along with his miniature bulldog, Peaches! — gives EW the lowdown on The Pet Show, puppy love, and the exciting new aural endeavors he has coming up through the podcast production company he co-founded, Audio Up.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In addition to The Pet Show, you have The Dennissance, a one-on-one interview podcast, and you have some scripted podcasts in the works as well. What made you want to venture into podcasts?
DENNIS QUAID: Well, all those things that you mentioned are all a part of Audio Up that my partner Jared Gutstadt and I started over the last two years. We did a music podcast, which was the first podcast to ever launch a record, called Bear and a Banjo, with T Bone Burnett and Bob Dylan. It was the No. 2 music podcast of last year. After that, we decided to build our own podcast network, sort of like a movie studio, and make our own productions, bring in partners, and make podcasts across all genres. We want to be the YouTube of podcasts. It's a very exciting time for podcasts right now.
So why specifically did you want to do a pet show, and why now?
With Audio Up, we want to do podcasts across all genres, and I'm a big animal lover myself. I've done a bunch of movies with animals, and since I was a kid I always loved animal shows, period. And Jimmy [Jellinek], he does a really good job with it. We just wanted to offer a place to go for pets, from advice to stories to veterinary things. It's just a place for people to go, and it's entertainment at the same time.
We can't talk about The Pet Show without talking about pets. Is Peaches your only pet?
Yeah, currently. It's just easier to travel with one, and she's probably the easiest dog I've ever had. [Speaking to the dog] Right, Peaches?
How does Peaches feel about the podcast?
Well, she has ears but I don't think she quite gets the concept. [Laughs] We're working on that. She does watch TV, though.
What is it about pets that just makes them so special to us, do you think?
Pets have emotions and pets know a lot more than we give them credit for, I think. They're intuitive to our emotional state, and they always seem to be there. They don't judge. [To the dog] Do you Peaches? Do you judge? [Peaches barks] And they're always there for us. They're our companions. It's a very ancient relationship. It goes back to the time that man came out of the caves. And I think it's actually dogs who probably taught us to hunt, not the other way around. You'd hunt for dinner, right Peaches? [Peaches barks]
You're only a few of episodes into The Pet Show, but already you've covered a myriad of topics. How do you choose the subject of the episodes?
Well, it's basically all our stories from our lives about our pets, other people's pets. There's a wealth of subjects that you can choose from out there about pets because YouTube has got their cute pet videos, or whatever, and pet tricks. Just in general, if people need to take care of their pets, we have advice on that, or training your pet, we've got advice on that. And then our own stories. We want to come out with a show that's in dog language, so they can understand themselves. [Laughs] You know, dogs have the mentality — I find it fascinating myself — they have about the basic understanding of a 2-year-old human. So they have quite a few words they understand; I forgot the exact number, but I think maybe it's well over 100 words that are in their vocabulary. And their understanding of things also very much reflects that of a 2-year-old.
Definitely. With my dog, I swear sometimes she knows exactly what I'm saying, and sometimes she chooses to ignore me.
Yeah, just like a 2-year-old. [Laughs]
The podcast teases having celebrity pet owners on the show. Who are the celebrities with pets that you really want to talk to?
Oh, well, just about every celebrity I know has a pet. That's for sure. And there's a whole bunch of pets out there, including horses. Tammy Tucker has about five dogs and about 14 horses and she's had so many other animals in her life, and she's a real animal advocate. I'd love to have her on the show.
In the future, what are some pet topics you want to dive into more?
I'd like to get into animal training more. I'd love to get the trainer from A Dog's Purpose to talk about her experience and maybe pass that on to some of our listeners. When you're a kid, you want to train your dogs to do tricks and stuff like that. And I think you can do that over a podcast as well.
I'm sure the plan was always to do the show in 2020, but it could not have come at a better time. The world could use more pet-related content right now.
Yeah we don't want to talk about COVID. [Laughs] It turns out there was a scare at first that dogs could be passing COVID to their owners, but thank God it didn't turn out to be that way. But yeah, we were planning on launching on April 2 of 2020 or April 1, actually, it was April Fool's Day. And  turned out to be a really great time to be getting into the podcast business because all the movie studios, television production, and all that went dark. And you can socially distance and make podcasts at the same time, so there were a lot of people wanting to invest in podcasts. We were able to raise $5 million during the month of April. I don't know if anybody in the United States was able to do that for anything.
What other kinds of podcasts are in the works?
We have great partners: Primary Wave, Warner Bros. Records, and MGM Studios, which is wonderful. We have access to [MGM's] scripts and library going back to 1930, so we're positioned to really produce content. One of the other things besides The Pet Show that we're doing is we're going to bring back the old radio plays that you see in movies sometimes, where they would do basically movies for your ears and the family would all gather around and listen to the radio. It was either a serial or a script. And we came up with an idea called Scripts From the Drawer. I have a script that never got produced, which is basically a music script, and Billy Bob Thornton has another script about this guy, [cave explorer] Floyd Collins, who was probably the third biggest radio story of the early 20th century. And we're going to cast [the scripts] and do them as like movies for your ears.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.