As a life-long fan of professional wrestling and horror movies, I always felt like the odd-girl out in my peer groups. As I got older, my tastes grew even further away from what was expected, and a sense of isolation began bubbling bigger and bigger. Luckily, the horror and film community took to the internet like a duck to water and I found kindred spirits rather quickly, and I found a family through the community surrounding the We Watch Wrestling podcast hosted by comedians Matt McCarthy, Tom Sibley, and Vince Averill. But I still felt like I was missing something in my life, and then…it happened.
On one episode, Vince Averill casually mentioned that his wife Georgia Hardstark and comedian/writer Karen Kilgariff had started a podcast called My Favorite Murder; a show focused on serial killers and, well, murder. After one episode I knew that these were women after my own heart. My Favorite Murder or simply MFM to us “murderinos” is a bi-weekly podcast that gives an honest and comedic look at the fascinating world of true crime. Mega-murders like JonBenet Ramsey, serial killers like Henry Lee Lucas, and pop culture staples like “The Night Stalker” are covered, in addition to minisodes featuring listeners’ “Hometown Murders;” lesser-known murders as told in the words of those whose hometowns were rocked by the carnage. The podcast quickly grew to something of a phenomenon, ranking in the top 10 on the overall iTunes podcast chart and #1 in the comedy category. This isn’t just an educational true crime show with spot-on commentary; My Favorite Murder has started a revolution.
On the surface, it’s easy to sell MFM as yet another true crime podcast, (Thanks, Serial.). but it’s the dynamic combination of Hardstark and Kilgariff aka “Hard Kill” that skyrocketed this podcast as quickly as it did. While offering witty commentary on many of the murders discussed, (“Toxic masculinity ruins the party again”) it’s their frank approach towards mental illness, substance abuse, sociological/environmental factors, and their own personal lives that have truly resonated with a generation. The My Favorite Murder facebook group currently boasts over 122,000 members, and the audience is overwhelmingly female-dominated.
Much like horror films, discussions of murder and true-crime are still somewhat taboo to put down on your list of interests on a personality profile. And yet there are hundreds of thousands of people, predominately women, that are thirsting for a new episode every week. Etsy shops have EXPLODED with MFM-themed apparel and gifts, and women everywhere are feeling more empowered than ever to “stay sexy, and don’t get murdered.” One episode even tackled a story shared on the group’s facebook page about one murderino informing a stranger on the street that a man was hiding behind her car. The powerful inspiration from this podcast very well could have saved this woman’s life.
— Mr. F (@bad_girl_rising) January 23, 2017
Margaret Atwood coined the iconic phrase, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” The female fascination with the macabre is well-documented, with fellow true-crime podcast Sword & Scale boasting a 70% fanbase, but it’s the casual and intimate feeling provided by Karen & Georgia that make audiences feel not only included, but safe. MFM allows this female audience a safe environment to process their very real fears, sprinkled with the perfectly timed comedic relief from Hard Kill.
I’ve written before about the therapeutic nature of horror films and MFM is doing the same thing for real life horror. Through the words of Karen & Georgia, hundreds of thousands of women have found a way to take back the way we discuss these (often female) victims of disturbing crimes, and challenge the way we discuss violence against women. As a horror fanatic, a true crime junkie, and a surivor of both cancer and violent sexual assault, there isn’t much I can say that will ever encompass how much this weekly dose of unprofessional exposure therapy has changed my life, and many like me. Sure, there are other true-crime/comedy podcasts that exist (I’m looking at you, Last Podcast on the Left), but the perspective of Karen and Georgia bring something entirely new to the table that other true-crime podcasts have been unable to do before…speak from heart of someone that lives every single day with the very real fear of becoming a victim, and offering a change in perspective to prevent that from ever happening.
*All photos: My Favorite Murder promo