By now you've probably heard of the podcast My Favorite Murder. The first episode was released in January 2016 after Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark met at a party and bonded over their mutual fascination with true crime. They started recording their podcast in Georgia's apartment and people started listening. A lot of people. So many people that My Favorite Murder jumped to the #1 spot on the iTunes comedy podcast rankings.
I was late to the game, starting at Episode 1 just last year after being told many times by several close friends that I needed to listen. By then Karen and Georgia had already recorded over 100 full-length episodes and 50 minisodes, so I had a lot of catching up to do. That wasn't too difficult, though. I was hooked. Like, binging eight episodes a day hooked.
At first, I thought it was the subject matter that piqued my interest - I’ve had a fascination with true crime ever since the third grade when my friend told me the entire plot of The Silence of the Lambs while we sat on the seesaw at recess. Years later I'd spend hours reading the Wikipedia pages of serial killers with my coworker after we'd had a similar bonding experience over true crime. But I've listened to several other podcasts on the same subject matter and there's something special about My Favorite Murder -- Karen and Georgia.
They speak so openly about their own experiences with anxiety, alcoholism, and the mistakes they've made and learned from, you feel like you know them. Some listeners have even said they gained the courage to finally see a therapist after hearing Karen and Georgia share their own positive experiences.
When it comes to discussing murder, they don't claim to be experts and they recommend seeking out a different podcast if you're looking for 100% accuracy and statistics. They're two friends talking as we all do. Sitting on Georgia's couch (cats Elvis and Mimi nearby) they take turns sharing stories, going on tangents and adding hilarious anecdotes. They use humor as a coping mechanism because the world is dark enough as it is. They talk about women who have been stalked, women who have been taken with seemingly no motive, women who have simply been too polite out of fear of being rude, all of whom have been murdered.
We've all been in those situations before. Opening a locked door for a stranger when we know we shouldn't have, thinking twice before calling an Uber for ourselves when we're traveling solo, not listening to our gut when we know it's always right. Karen and Georgia have made talking about murder normal; not as a way to sensationalize it, but as a means to learn and survive. Because the truth is, any of those women from their stories could just as easily have been us.
Many women have written to Karen and Georgia about their own experiences helping others out after being motivated by their podcast. One woman noticed a man crouching behind another woman's car outside a convenience store. She went back inside to accompany the woman to her car so she wouldn't have to walk alone. Another woman saw a man intimidating an intoxicated woman in a public women’s restroom and without hesitation jumped on his back and yelled for the security guard to come in and help. What Karen and Georgia started is much more than a podcast - it's a movement. One where we're encouraged to talk about our worst fears instead of hiding them. Where we look out for one another even if we’ve never met. Where we step in if something doesn't feel right, even if we're wrong. Where we say "fuck politeness" (my favorite quote of theirs) and don't worry about coming off as rude or cold or a bitch because our gut says this is a bad situation.
Karen and Georgia have empowered so many women and created a bond across the globe. Murderinos, a term first used by a member on the My Favorite Murder Facebook group, are everywhere, organizing meetups and forming friendships over their less conventional mutual interest. My Favorite Murder has gained such a huge following that they perform sold out live shows all over the place. They sometimes post recordings from their live shows as episodes, and even though you can't see them, the energy from the crowd is overwhelming.
At the end of every show, Karen and Georgia say "stay sexy and don't get murdered." Hearing thousands of women chant that in unison honestly makes me tear up every time. There’s a power to it. A unity. It fills me with hope for the future and it's something I'm proud to be a part of.