Karen Kilgariff

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Karen Kilgariff
Born (1970-05-11) May 11, 1970 (age 50)
Petaluma, California, U.S.
Years active1990–present
Notable works and rolesMy Favorite Murder Podcast Co-Host, Co-founder of Exactly Right Podcast Network

Karen Kilgariff (born May 11, 1970 in Petaluma, California) is an American writer, comedian, singer, author, actress, television producer, and podcast host. She began her career as a stand up comedian in the early 1990s and later became a television actress, most notably as a cast member on Mr. Show. She has written for many comedy television shows, including being the head writer on The Rosie Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Pete Holmes Show.[1][2]

Since 2016 she has co-hosted the true crime comedy podcast My Favorite Murder along with Georgia Hardstark.[3] In 2018, she and Hardstark co-founded the podcast network Exactly Right.[4][5] Along with Hardstark, Kilgariff wrote the non-fiction book Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered, which was released on May 28, 2019.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

Karen Kilgariff grew up outside Petaluma, California with her mother, Patricia (née Knight) who died in 2016, father Jim, and an older sister. Both of Karen's parents worked; her father was a San Francisco firefighter and her mother was a psychiatric nurse.[8] She attended St. Vincent de Paul High School in Petaluma.[9]


Stand up and acting[edit]

Karen Kilgariff started out as a stand-up comedian in Sacramento in the 1990s. She went on to land comedy roles on television, including being a cast member on seasons 3 and 4 of Mr. Show.[10] She would later appear in the 2015 reboot, W/ Bob & David, as well.[11] She played the role of Jean Pettengill for five episodes of The Book Group in 2003.

In 2015, Kilgariff teamed up with Drennon Davis to record a live album of comedy songs titled I Don't Care, I Like It.[12]

Writing career[edit]

In 2003 Kilgariff was hired by Ellen DeGeneres to help write for her comedy special, Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now. Kilgariff later toured with DeGeneres as her opening act.[13] Kilgariff was then named head writer for the day time talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which launched in September 2003.[14] She occasionally appeared on screen in sketches and other segments. She was also part of a comic duo (with Mary Lynn Rajskub) called Girls Guitar Club.

Kilgariff served as the head writer for The Rosie Show, which aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She later served as the head writer for The Pete Holmes Show, which aired on TBS.[15]

She also wrote for and starred in truTV's Talk Show: The Game Show and produced Making History on FOX Broadcasting Company.

Kilgariff wrote four episodes for FX’s comedy-drama Baskets between 2017 and 2019. [16]

Podcast hosting[edit]

In 2014, Kilgariff started a podcast with comedian Chris Fairbanks called Do You Need A Ride?.[17] The podcast originally took place entirely in a car, where Karen and Chris would speak to their guest while driving around. However, citing safety concerns, they now occasionally record at the Exactly Right Studios. In 2016, Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark started the true crime podcast My Favorite Murder,[18] in which they discuss various infamous murders and serial killers. Since its inception, the podcast has garnered a large fan base,[18] totaling over 19 million listeners.[5] They have also toured the United States and internationally performing My Favorite Murder live shows. In 2018 she and Hardstark co-founded the podcast network Exactly Right, which now produces their podcast along with four others. In April 2019, the network's first original podcast Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad debuted at number one. [5]

In 2019, Kilgariff and Hardstark published Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered, a joint memoir.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Kilgariff does not drink alcohol, and has been open about her past struggles with abuse of amphetamines and diet pills. In an interview with Marc Maron for his WTF podcast, she said she stopped using drugs and alcohol completely after she began having seizures, fearing her drug use had been the cause. Karen now lives in Studio City, California with her two dogs, Frank and George. [3] Kilgariff married at age 32 and is now divorced.[20]


In 2014, Kilgariff recorded a musical comedy album Live at the Bootleg.[21] [22]

Singer / Songwriter
Year Album Song
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg I Want to Win
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Solid 9
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Password
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Chelsea Guitars
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Look at Your Phone
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Business Situation
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg AOK
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Gimme Mine
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Jesus Walks
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Golly Gee
2014 Karen Kilgariff - Live at the Bootleg Drink My Way Through Christmas


  1. ^ Rife, Katie (February 20, 2018). "Karen Kilgariff has profound thoughts about self-acceptance—and ranch dressing". AV Club. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  2. ^ Gorman, Steve (November 10, 2007). "Union rebukes Ellen DeGeneres over writers strike". Reuters. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Maron, Marc (April 10, 2014). "Episode 487 — Karen Kilgariff" (audio podcast). WTF Podcast. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  4. ^ MCDONELL-PARRY, AMELIA (November 28, 2018). "'My Favorite Murder' Hosts Launch Podcast Network". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Quah, Nicholas (August 15, 2018). "My Favorite Murder's Creators Are Launching a Podcast Network". Vulture. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  6. ^ Penn, Farrah (August 7, 2018). "The Hosts Of "My Favorite Murder" Are Writing A Book That Will Be Released Next Year". BuzzFeed. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Nelson, Hillary (September 27, 2018). "My Favorite Murder Hosts Share Sneak Peek of Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered Memoir". Vulture. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Hawgood, Alex (May 19, 2018). "Grisly Murders and Serial Killers? Ooh, Tell Me More". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "Petaluma Argus-Courier Article September 3, 1986".
  10. ^ Berkowitz, Joe (January 28, 2011). "Mrs. Show: The Women Behind a Comedy Classic". Vulture Magazine. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Adams, Sam (November 12, 2015). "Reviews of Netflix's 'Mr. Show' Reunion 'W/ Bob & David'". Indie Wire. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  12. ^ https://www.vulture.com/2015/11/drennon-davis-and-karen-kilgariffs-comedy-music-album-i-dont-care-i-like-it-is-out-today.html
  13. ^ Ellen DeGeneres (October 28, 2003). The Funny Thing Is.... Simon and Schuster. pp. 111–. ISBN 978-0-7432-5366-6.
  14. ^ Molyneaux, Libby. "Karen Kilgariff: Comedy Pick of the Week". LA Weekly. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  15. ^ "The Pete Holmes Show on Twitter".
  16. ^ "Karen Kilgariff Writing Credits".
  17. ^ "Do You Need A Ride?".
  18. ^ a b "My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark".
  19. ^ "Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered | Karen Kilgariff | Macmillan". US Macmillan. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  20. ^ "Until I Lose Interest ep28".
  21. ^ "In 'Bootleg,' Kilgariff Sets Her Comic Commentary To Music" on NPR
  22. ^ Bartolone, Tony (March 4, 2014). "Karen Kilgariff Live at the Bootleg". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 15, 2018.

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