Kyle Gest – Interviews with Interesting People #1 – by Sean Michael Hayes

Kyle-Gest-1After listening to the frightening true story Kyle Gest told on a podcast called Risk (WARNING: it will give you nightmares), I wanted to know more about him. He is the creator of The Lapse, an award winning podcast, which produces amazing short, true stories (like the one he made about me called, Depression Quest). There is no better way of getting to know someone than by asking them questions, and I am excited Kyle is the first first in an ongoing series on I am calling, Interviews with Interesting People


What made you want to create The Lapse?

I started The Lapse Storytelling Podcast because I’d been known, frankly, as a magnet for disaster. When I’d wonder what my life would look like on paper, it took this oddly narrative shape. Most people don’t see their life as a story. And it’s hard, right? It’s tough to see outside yourself. Point out a stranger in a crowd and I guarantee they’ve got one… they just might struggle to tell it. By using my own talent for narration, I found I could bridge the lapse (get it?) between memory and storyteller.

What influences you? 

The Lapse has influences in sound-rich podcasts like Radiolab and Snap Judgement. I don’t think anyone can be a storyteller without a least citing This American Life and The Moth. It’s funny though, for as often as we’re mentioned alongside Snap, my first listen was months after I’d launched The Lapse.

Who is your favorite story teller?

I might be biased, but my favourite storyteller is the man who taught me, Ryan Knighton. I was fortunate enough to study under him for my degree. He’s an incredible storyteller, and a wonderful contradiction of himself. What’s not to love about a blind, heavily-tattooed screenwriter?

Why do you think Vancouver is a hotbed for creative talent?

Vancouver’s got a wealth of creative people, but there’s nothing about it that screams “Vancouver: The City of Storytelling.” I mean, if you put it up against NYC, LA, or heck, even Seattle… it looks kind of empty. That’s what I think makes The Lapse unique. A lot of our storytellers would never call themselves such, but you’d never, ever know by listening.

If you could have any guest come on your show and tell a story who would it be?

There’s a local poet to Vancouver, guy by the name of Shane Kocyzan. I will say upfront that I am not a slam poetry guy, but Shane defies that. He’s an amazing storyteller. I’d love to do a collaboration with him some time. Or if we’re living fantasy, hey! Let’s get Ira Glass on The Lapse.


Why do you think story telling is an important skill today?

As a tool, storytelling is like alcohol. It’s a social lubricant… albeit probably a more stable one. It’s amazing, actually. I find whenever I can slide a really great story into a conversation, I’ve made a friend that day. There’s an honesty to it that jumps right over those social barriers and gets to the good stuff: who the hell am I talking to?

What makes a good story?

There’s a lot that goes into making a story tick, but it’s the “you” that makes it worth listening to. By “you,” I mean being a willingness to be open with who you are. I think people appreciate a little vulnerability. It’s a rare thing to hear from a stranger.

What did you think of Sean’s story “Depression Quest”?

Clearly, Sean is at his absolute rock bottom when this story takes place. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate his willingness to take us there. When you listen the episode, you’ll hear it. He’s not proud of his past, but he’s smart enough to know it’s made him who he is today. That’s the mark of any great storyteller.

Everyone relax, they’ve got 24 hour security.

Will there be a second/follow up version to Seans story?

Sean’s got more stories in him and, in fact, we’ve got ’em on tape. We’ll see how it shakes out, but I’d be surprised if this is the last we’ve heard.

What’s next for The Lapse?

If you can believe it, The Lapse has a story featuring Jenna Jameson of all people. It’s about her and yet… not about her. I’m really excited about this one. The first season of The Lapse is scheduled to end in February. Depending on our fundraising, we’ll see if we can’t swing season 2.

Anyone you want to thank?

I owe a huge thanks to all our storytellers for being nothing short of incredible, through and through. A shoutout to my two former professors, Ryan Knighton and Murray Stiller, who taught me much of what I know. Cheers, Sean!


Have a story you think would be a good fit for The Lapse, click here to contact Kyle now. Thanks to Kyle and everyone at The Lapse, you guys rule!  Do you want to be notified the next time I interview and interesting person? click here.  Have an idea about someone I should interview? send me a message.

Author: canadianhayes

Author of #FiveWeeksintheAmazon, global nomad and generally interesting human.

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