How two California girls are bringing sexy [murders] back with their popular comedy podcast ‘My Favorite Murder.’ Plus: 4 tips to not get murdered!
What’s your favorite murder? Is that a weird question? Are you freaked out? I can explain. Let’s back up a little bit.
Rewind to early 2016, when friends Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark gave us the gift we never knew we needed: a true-crime podcast focused on murder…that’s categorized as a comedy. They weren’t the first duo to venture into true-crime podcasting, but their charm and (usually inappropriate) humor have earned them worldwide recognition in a short two years’ time. Fast-forward to present day, and the duo have a website, badass fan art, and live-show tour.
You may be wondering, “What kind of people start a true-crime podcast and have the audacity to label it comedy?” Well, let’s meet the California natives.
Introducing Karen and Georgia
Full disclosure: I looked up their bios on Wikipedia. For someone currently pursuing a PhD, this is pretty much a cardinal sin, but much of Karen and Georgia’s “research” comes from sites like Wikipedia and Reddit, so in a way I’m paying homage to their craft. As stated in the show: “Some people really dig in and read books and stuff. As I like to say it, we’re not trying to be 48 Hours. We just want to retell you a 48 Hours we saw that we liked.”
Both Kilgariff and Hardstark have California roots and an affinity for showbiz. Karen is a writer, actor and producer with credits on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Georgia’s writing, acting and producing credits lean toward the food-centric side and include cohosting the cocktail show Drinks with Alie and Georgia on the Cooking Channel. Really, I can’t help but wonder if Chopped: My Favorite Murder edition will ever be a real thing.
The Appeal of My Favorite Murder
So we know a little bit about the duo. What makes their podcast so special?
Both Karen and Georgia have used the podcast as a platform to open up to listeners, disclosing struggles including addiction and anxiety. They come off as genuine while their conversations spontaneously unravel, branching off into rants about the rape kit backlog epidemic or the lack of harsh prison sentences for serious offenders. The podcasters have no filter when voicing their opinions on murderers or their own worries, including a fear of being murdered. In fact, the hosts believe talking about murder actually decreases their likelihood of being murdered. (And if that doesn’t work, they’ve also pled to any listeners with a penchant for killing to not target them.)
The Making of a Murderino
Cool things happen when you launch a successful comedy podcast about murder. For one, you get a brazen fan base with a badass moniker: Murderinos. Fans of My Favorite Murder wear the name with pride, even putting their own spin on the murder-themed fandom to foster community on- and offline. The podcast’s Facebook group (which was referred to solely as “the Facebook page” for the first handful of episodes) has nearly 200,000 followers at the time of this writing. However, my personal favorite offshoot is the Facebook weight-loss group cleverly called Murdering Our BMI.
Murderinos are a talented bunch, and many combine their artistic talents with their love of the podcast, using quotes from the podcast to create prints, cross-stitches and protest signs, to name a few. One Murderino tweeted this sign from the women’s march. Great minds think alike, as another fan shared this photo. Order your preferred My Favorite Murder phrase on a keychain, or in cross-stitch from one of many Etsy shops, like Sarcastitch.
Head over to the My Favorite Murder website to see more of the MFM fandom’s unique tributes to the podcasters.
Bonus: How to Not Get Murdered
Now to the important stuff. This isn’t the traditional advice you may have been given on how not to get murdered, like avoiding sleazy dudes, not hitchhiking (it’s 2018 — get a Lyft) and not getting into a car with strangers, although K&G touch on all that. Instead they’ve bestowed upon us some (definitely not) foolproof suggestions on how to kill it at life, AKA to “Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered,” the show’s now-famous tagline. Incidentally, they also make great quotes for Murderino swag.
1. Stay out of the forest
“Get a job. Buy your own shit. Stay out of the forest,” says Karen. Hate to break it to you, outdoor lovers, but the forest is not a place you want to be spending your free time, especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest (like what Starbucks is to basic people, but with blood). You may miss out on a ’gramworthy shot, but that’s a small price to pay for your life. Be smart; stay indoors. But if you do, make sure you “Lock you’re f—ing door,” as Karen and Georgia say.
2. Avoid cults
“This isn’t a positive cult. This isn’t like Sephora.” Arguably the most obvious piece of advice on the list, it’s worth noting nonetheless. Evil-cult membership typically includes your choice of a mass suicide, all-inclusive commune living and/or a zealous leader who may want to marry your children (looking at you, Warren Jeffs). Save yourself the hassle; stay away from cults. But if you do find yourself in a cult, follow Karen and Georgia’s advice: “You’re in a cult. Call your dad.”
3. Toxic masculinity: A Party Foul
Womp-womp. Karen said it best at a live show in Chicago. Whether it’s John Wayne Gacy’s father figure beating his son for enjoying non-masculine activities like cooking, or 2018’s Golden Globe–winning men failing to stand up for their female counterparts, “toxic masculinity ruins the party again.”
4. F— politeness
This one especially goes out to all the ladies who’ve ever felt obligated to help someone to avoid seeming rude, despite their tingling spidey senses. Did you know Ted Bundy lured many women to their deaths by faking an injury or disability? Enough with the emotional labor and pleasantries. Go with your gut. Be rude if you have to. Giving politeness the finger may have already inspired one Murderino to save another woman’s life. And if all else fails, “Pepper spray first; apologize later.”
The show isn’t without its critics, but decide for yourself: Are you a Murderino?
You can listen to Karen and Georgia talk about murder on their podcast. Send them your hometown murders, check out their live tours, or buy some merch. Tweet them at @KarenKilgariff and @GHardstark. Who knows? It may just save a life (check out Minisode 52 to learn how a homicide detective helped solve a cold case thanks to a story she heard on MFM).