Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered: There's Nothing Quite Like a Live Podcast Show!

Friday, February 9, 2018

I still don't consider myself a podcast person, which is a little bit ridiculous because I listen to a lot of podcasts. The organization I work for also produces two podcasts (check out On the Other Hand & Stories We Tell, if you're interested!), so... yeah, I spend a lot of time thinking about, listening to, & even promoting podcasts.

Though Serial was my gateway podcast, my longtime favorite is My Favorite Murder. A few months ago, my friend Lilly & I made the drive to Detroit to see the show live & in person, assuming Los Angeles-based hosts Georgia Hardstark & Karen Kilgariff would never make it to the likes of the CLE. Shortly after that show, they announced a new tour schedule - which included a Cleveland date!

Lilly & I grabbed tickets within an hour of them going on sale, but unfortunately, the best seats were still pretty far back - though much, much better than our Detroit seats, which were in the nosebleeds! We snagged four tickets, inviting our friends Christina & Mary to join us, & on Friday, Feb. 2nd, we set out on our live podcast adventure night.

If you're not familiar with My Favorite Murder, here's the gist: It's a comedy podcast about murder. 

Yeah, yeah, that sounds weird & disrespectful & macabre, & maybe it is, but it's also pretty brilliant. MFM has made it socially acceptable to admit that you're obsessed with true crime, that you're a Nervous Nellie who reads about the worst cases in human history because, you know, you're terrified of the world. It's a coping mechanism, OK? Karen & Georgia are hilarious & chatty & relatable, so although they're talking about the dregs of humanity, they're also a lot of fun to listen to.

They've amassed a cult following. Listeners refer to themselves as "murderinos" & are active in a murdery Facebook group & revel in a bunch of weird inside jokes from the show (if hundreds of thousands of listeners qualify as "inside"). Their live shows sell out quickly, & tickets resell for hundreds of dollars above face value. Attendees often create their own shirts, signs, & even MFM-related crafts, which they sometimes even share with Karen & Georgia.

My friends dressed normally for the show, but I took to Zazzle to create the "It's never a mannequin" sweatshirt you see above. We didn't pay for the VIP package to meet the hosts, so one really saw my masterpiece aside from us - but hey, it was fun! Local bakery Brewnuts sent these special (& undoubtedly delicious) donuts backstage:

Great, right?

The Detroit show was only about an hour long, cut & dry, but the Cleveland show... oh, the Cleveland show. Karen started off by telling a story took more than an hour in itself, the story of Ed Edwards, a little-known serial killer from the Akron area who is suspected of being behind a number of famous murders - including the Zodiac killings. Crazy, right? After listening to his story, I added a book about him to my to-read list: It's Me: Edward Wayne Edwards, the Serial Killer You Never Heard Of. Georgia followed up with the Kirtland cult killings, another one I'd never heard about.

As Karen & Georgia said at the start of the show, Cleveland - & Ohio on the whole - seems to be a freaking gold mine of murder stories. That's of course not a good thing, don't get me wrong - but they sure did have a lot of material to choose from!

At the end of each show, Karen & Georgia pull a murderino onstage to tell a "hometown murder" story, something local. I had both hands raised in an attempt to tell the story of a super-crazy killing that happened in my hometown when I was a teenager, but those faraway tickets came back to bite me; I was too far back to be chosen. The girl they picked, Carly, talked about the murder of Diane Stroud, a local mother found dead in her garage; her husband, a former police officer, was charged with her death. (To Carly's credit, she didn't name names. I just Googled it later to learn more.)

By the end of the night, the show had run nearly two hours long. It was a great night - but next time MFM makes it to the CLE, you'd better believe I'm getting those close-up seats so I can try to tell my own hometown story!

Are you a murderino? Have you ever been to a live taping of a podcast? 

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