You may know Wesam Keesh from a number of his roles, including his current work as hacker “Malachi” Mintock on NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime. The actor’s onscreen credits run deep, but when Casting Networks virtually sat down with him, it was his role as creator and host of the podcast Wesam’s World that was on the table. Keesh took time out to provide a window into the person behind the show, which draws in 33,000 listeners each week. Keep reading for insights into his wide range of interests, as well as some of his memorable guests, such as Regé-Jean Page.
Can you share the “origin story” of how you started Wesam’s World?
I previously had a podcast called Actors Anonymous, which ran for a little more than one hundred episodes. The idea behind it was to create some community and fellowship for actors who were working, not working, etc. I would always have my guests on it talk about their struggles — rather than their successes — because I thought that was far more interesting. We covered a lot of good things during the show’s run, and then a little after the hundredth episode, I got really busy with acting and put podcasting to the side. A couple of years later, a friend of mine at the time was doing a morning show at Idobi Radio and recommended that I start doing a podcast again. I considered picking back up with Actors Anonymous because I liked the niche it covered, but I also remembered how some of the conversations on it would range from acting to ghost stories to everything in between. So, this time around, I didn’t want to confine things to just one topic. I came up with the idea to do a show that was more or less a window into my world. That includes acting, gardening, science, athleticism, flat-earthers, misinformation, or anything else that interests me.
And Wesam’s World was born! So, where do you find your guests and the specific topics you cover?
As a listener of other podcasts, I’ve realized that even if I’m not educated on what someone’s talking about, it’s still fascinating to me if the people are passionate about their topic. I also love listening to shows that feature a group of friends together, just making fun of each other and laughing and having a good time. So, as far as the topics on Wesam’s World, they depend on the guests and the mood I’m in that day. Last year, for example, I got to talk with a member of the team that landed the Mars rover, which just blew my mind. And then there was the time I had on a good friend who was on For the People with me, Jasmin Savoy Brown. Her episode was especially enjoyable because we like to roast each other. Fun fact — I created a Wikipedia page for a fake salt company I made up that I said she owned, and it was actually referenced in an article on her. [Laughs] It makes my heart warm just to think about it.
[Laughs] That prank shows some serious dedication. And I also saw you did an episode with another For the People alumnus, Regé-Jean Page, before he was the Duke on Bridgerton.
A lot of the cast from For the People were kind enough to come on the podcast when it was first starting off, and that talk with Regé was absolutely wonderful. He’s an extremely articulate, educated man with a great perspective on life — his episode is one of my favorites.
Thanks for sharing that insight, and I would love to hear a bit about the tech side of things. I’d wager we have some readers interested in starting their own podcasts.
Absolutely. So, the tech side of creating a podcast is going to be bumpy at the beginning. You will spend a long time figuring out how to capture high-quality audio, how to edit it, etc. Unexpected problems will pop up, which I just want to add so that people know they are not alone in that when they are first starting out. Plus, there are a lot of YouTube videos that can help beginning podcasters with troubleshooting. I’ll say that at this point, I know the best quality of my own work will come from having all my focus and mental bandwidth invested in speaking with the guests because the style of Wesam’s World is less of an interview and more of a long-form conversation. I feel that’s the optimal way to draw out from the person some of the things that are best and most intimate. So, I got a producer, explained to him my quality standards, and we worked out a deal together. He’s a great guy named Peyton Grufik and has been with the podcast for a while now. Then as Wesam’s World continued to grow, I brought on another producer named Alexzandra Gorski, who also handles all the branding and social media. We got an intern, as well, to help with things like greeting the guests when they come on the show. It has been awesome to see the production value grow to this level.
Before we wrapped, Keesh shared about reaching the 200th-episode milestone, marked by a special “guys’ night” edition. “I work really hard and have a lot of things I need to do, like helping care for my parents,” he noted. “So, the ‘guys’ night’ episode is really a chance to de-stress with close friends and play around, such as with the ‘no laughing game’ from Gaki no Tsukai.” Those interested in listening to it — as well as the podcast, in general — can find Wesam’s World on Idobi, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube. The podcast also has a presence on Instagram and Twitter, where you can find its host, as well. Keesh has active personal pages on both platforms as @WesamKeesh.
This interview has been edited and condensed.