Welcome To Night Vale: Cecil Baldwin Interview

Night Vale is small desert town in America where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful and the supernatural becomes the everyday. For three years now the Welcome To Night Vale podcast has been keeping us up-to-date with the all the happenings in the town and become an unlikely cult hit in the process.

With new episodes twice-monthly, the Welcome To Night Vale podcast series, created by Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor, is a regular visitor to the upper reaches of US top podcast charts. The series is set in the community radio station where radio host Cecil Palmer – voiced by Cecil Baldwin – talks us through the day’s events such as glowing clouds that rain dead animals, hooded figures in the out-of-bounds dog park or perhaps something even more gruesome like the summer reading program. 

On 20 October the Welcome To Night Vale book is released internationally. It tells the tale of Jackie the Pawn shop owner, Diane Crayton and her shapeshifting teenage son, Josh. The accompanying audiobook is also narrated by Cecil Baldwin

Baldwin has been with the show since the very beginning. He has gained a cult fan following (loads of who like to create Cecil artwork – here’s a good example), makes regular appearances with the New York Neo-Futurists avant-garde theatre group and has recently made a cameo on Disney’s Gravity Falls as Tad Strange.

The Night Vale team have been touring the UK and Ireland with its live show “The Investigators” (see the remaining dates here). MCM Buzz caught up with the man who stole the voice, thoughts and memories of Cecil Baldwin: Cecil Baldwin.

How is your UK tour going?
“It’s been great! I had some lovely quality time in London and Edinburgh to relax before the tour started, as once we are performing, our travel schedule makes it difficult to actually get out and see the beautiful towns we visit. The audiences have been very friendly and enthusiastic about the show and I’m looking forward to the rest of the tour.”

When did you begin to realise that Night Vale was becoming popular?
“My friend told me that people were posting art of me online, but she was confused as it didn’t really look anything like me. And it turned out to be fans creating their own images of what they thought ‘Cecil’ looked like… That was almost three years ago and still love to see what our fans create while listening to the show.”

welcome to night vale coverDo you think that Night Vale has transitioned well from audio to literature?
“Certainly. There has always been a literary element to the show even though it was always informed by my portrayal of the main character. So it only made sense that the world of Night Vale would be expanded into a novel.”

Have you had any reaction from the LGBT community for the show’s representation of a gay relationship?
“Absolutely, it’s a big part of the show’s plot, and a big part of what I personally connect to in the character. Having so many LGBT fans contact me to tell me how much the show means to them always reminds me that we are not just entertaining people, but making a profound impact on them as well.”

Do you still get taken back by how strange and otherworldly the Night Vale episodes can be?
“The world we live in is strange enough… Night Vale almost seems normal to me at this point.”

With your most notable roles being in Night Vale, Gravity Falls and the New York Neo-Futurists, are you purposely building up a reputation as a supernatural character actor or has that happened naturally?
“I think it has just happened naturally. You never quite know what aspects of your art or career people will hold onto. I’m just fortunate that these are all projects I love and have fun doing.”

The character of Cecil Palmer has been depicted in many ways by fans – do you have a favourite style?
“I don’t really delve too deep into what this character may or may not look like, as it has very little impact on how he interacts with the townspeople of Night Vale. I’m usually more connected to his actions and emotions in any given situation or episode.”

How was the experience of appearing on Gravity Falls?
“It was so exciting! I was absolutely flattered and surprised when I was asked to be on the show. It was a great experience.”

Will we see more of Tad Strange?
“I certainly hope so!”

Any future projects in the works you can tell us about?
“I’m preparing to host Shipwreck in New York, which is an erotic fan-fiction competition that started in San Francisco; also I’ll be sitting in as a guest on NPR’s Ask Me Another, so I’m very excited about that. And I begin filming a small role on the web series The Outs as well… All very cool stuff!”


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