Dan Cashman’s Favorite Maine Place

The Nite Show host loves to escape to Camp Natarswi, where no one is on YouTube or TikTok.

Camp Natarswi, on Lower Togue Pond, in Baxter State Park
Photograph by Amanda Shelmerdine
Old Town. “I was always on my bike, and it felt like I knew everybody in town.”
Rockport’s Samoset Resort. “The breakwater walk, the harbor views. I’m not a golfer, but when I’m there, I feel like I want to golf.”
“I think Jimmy Kimmel is the closest to what I grew up watching. He’s got that silly and smart combined. If we’re talking about trying to have fun on television, I think Jimmy Fallon just embodies that.”
By Brian Kevin
From our April 2022 issue

Today, precocious teens who fancy themselves the next Fallon or Colbert have tools in their pockets to make a homegrown talk show: HD video, Zoom for interviews, an audience waiting on YouTube or TikTok. When Dan Cashman and his friends premiered The Nite Show with Danny Cashman on Bangor’s WB affiliate in April 1997, they had none of this. “I actually don’t think it would have gone well if we had,” says the 43-year-old Cashman, whose late-night homage celebrates its silver anniversary this month. “In 1997, all you had was TV, maybe 50 channels, and if people were flipping around, they might stumble upon our show and say, ‘Hey, what is this?’”

What it is, these days, is a half-hour show filmed at Husson University’s Gracie Theatre, in Bangor: a monologue and sketches, a house band and musical guests, interviews with everyone from Maine news anchors and politicos to national figures like Al Franken and the late Ed Asner. The guest list, like the production values, has come a long way since Cashman was 19 and thrilled to land the manager of Bangor’s minor-league baseball team. “We have a budget to fly in guests now, which 25 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed,” he says. “Back then, my budget was some cash inside a Cool Whip container.”

Cashman has a wry streak — Letterman was his first love — but his humor trends earnest and screwball. He seemingly picked up none of the raunch of Don Imus, on whose radio show he interned in the early 2000s, during The Nite Show’s first hiatus. Or more than a smidge of the cynicism you’d expect from someone who worked in politics, which is how he spent much of a second hiatus, as assistant press secretary to Governor John Baldacci. He’s been back on the air nonstop since 2010, carried by several Maine network affiliates and juggling a day job as a PR director at a Bangor communications firm.

Come summer, he can’t wait to visit a place where nobody has YouTube or TikTok: Camp Natarswi, on Lower Togue Pond, in Baxter State Park. Run by the Girl Scouts of America, it’s where Cashman has spent a few memorable “Me and My Dad” weekends with the older of his two daughters. “I want to pinch myself the whole time I’m there,” he says. “You get to kayak with the most incredible view of Katahdin in front of you, and I just feel so fortunate to get to enjoy it — because, you know, I’m not a Girl Scout.”

Headshot by Whittling Fog Photography