My Favorite Murder
|My Favorite Murder|
|Updates||Weekly on Thursdays, minisodes on Mondays|
|No. of episodes||(list of episodes)|
|Original release||January 13, 2016– present|
My Favorite Murder is a weekly true crime comedy podcast hosted by American comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. The first episode was released in January 2016. The podcast debuted as #25 on the iTunes podcast charts and peaked at #3 on April 27, 2018. Weekly episodes regularly land within iTunes' Top 10 Comedy Podcast chart. The podcast has 19 million monthly downloads.
Praise for the show notes how it normalizes an interest in true crime among listeners who previously considered themselves morbid or odd, discussing the sense of isolation and compartmentalization that often arises in those with outlying but healthy interests. Likewise noted is the predominance of female listeners, which is consistent with data showing true crime fans are predominantly female.
Kilgariff is best known for her work on Mr. Show and Ellen. Her stand up routine includes singing and playing guitar to original comedic songs. She is also known for her podcast Do You Need a Ride (DYNAR) with Chris Fairbanks. Hardstark co-hosted the shows Drinks With Alie and Georgia and Slumber Party with Alie and Georgia.
The show was broadcast on the Feral Audio network until September 2017, when it moved to Midroll Media. On November 28, 2018, Kilgariff and Hardstark introduced their new podcast network Exactly Right. In partnership with Stitcher, the Exactly Right podcast network broadcasts My Favorite Murder as well as Do You Need a Ride, The Purrrcast, The Fall Line, This Podcast Will Kill You and Jensen and Holes: The Murder Squad .
Kilgariff and Hardstark met at a Halloween party in 2014 where Kilgariff was describing a brutal accident she had witnessed: a drunk driver plowing into a crowd of people at the media conference and festival SXSW. Hardstark approached Kilgariff with interest and the two talked all night about various murders throughout history. In January 2016, they released their first episode of My Favorite Murder with Feral Audio. Later that year, Steven Ray Morris became the podcast's producer, his first episode being Making A Twenty-Thirderer which aired June 30th, 2016. In September 2017, the podcast left Feral Audio and signed with Midroll Media.
Format and structure
Kilgariff and Hardstark each select a single murder, true crime story, or survivor story to recount and discuss. The podcast consists mainly of dialogue between the hosts. Early episodes were thematically based; examples include cannibalism, unsolved murders, or "weird murders." The thematic concept was abandoned early in the series. Early episode titles included murder-themed puns and pop culture references, such as "Thirty Let The Bodies Hit The Four," a reference to the Drowning Pool song "Bodies;" "I 28 His Liver With Some Fava Beans and A Nice Chianti," reminiscent of a famous line from The Silence of the Lambs; and "SE7ENteen", a reference to cult-classic Se7en. However, the more recent episode titles consist of jokes based on the conversation within the episode, such as "Steven's Tuxedo" and "Service Poodle".
Kilgariff and Hardstark have both referred to the podcast as a sort of therapy to deal with their own anxieties about murder. Both hosts strive to emphasize compassion for both the victims and perpetrators of the crimes they discuss, attempting to ensure that their discussion combats common problematic themes in true crime, such as discrimination against the mentally ill, sex workers, women, LGBTQ+, and people of color.[example needed]
Full episodes are released weekly on Thursdays, ranging in length from 60–120 minutes. "Minisodes" that are dedicated solely to the topic of "hometown murders" are released Mondays and are typically 30–45 minutes long. However, "minisodes" have expanded to include not only "hometown murders," but stories of other crimes, survivals, hauntings, things hidden in walls, or anything interesting submitted by listeners.
Episodes are usually recorded in Hardstark's Los Angeles apartment. In late 2016, the duo began touring with a live version of the show, and these are recorded and aired later as they are edited. At times, the hosts interact with the show's audio engineer Steven Ray Morris about the topics at hand. He is occasionally referred to as “the voice of Tina Belcher.”
The hosts usually end each episode with their catch phrase, "Stay sexy and don't get murdered." Hardstark then asks her cat, "Elvis, want a cookie?", and Elvis meows into the microphone as the episode ends.
Reactions and response
My Favorite Murder quickly gained a large fan following, including a Facebook group with over 200,000 members as of April 2018[update], and a Facebook fan page with more than 171,000 followers as of February 2018[update]. My Favorite Murder was swiftly syndicated beyond the original Feral Audio site to such places as Google Play Music and iTunes. Media reaction to the program has been largely positive, with the phenomenon of the podcast's rapid popularity documented in many outside sources such as BuzzFeed, Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, HuffPost, and Bustle. Fans of the show, who refer to themselves as "Murderinos," frequently create merchandise with quotes from the latest episode, including the show's sign-off catchphrase, "Stay Sexy, Don't Get Murdered," "Fuck politeness," and "You're in a cult; call your dad" (a reference to an early episode regarding Scientology and the disappearance of Shelly Miscavige). Many of the show's profits from donations or direct sale of goods are donated to local police departments to fund examination of the backlog of untested rape kits. In addition to their massive success with their recorded podcast, the hosts have done several live shows internationally that follow the same format of the podcast. Some of their live shows are made available to listeners in place of a new show that week.
As of October 5, 2016, My Favorite Murder was #10 on the overall iTunes podcast charts and #1 in the comedy category and has around 450,000 downloads per episode, and millions of downloads each month.
On February 21, 2017, The Atlantic published the article titled "How a True-Crime Podcast Became a Mental-Health Support Group" which discusses the "Murderino" community built around taking care of yourself, and how stories of murders have come to help listeners exorcise their fears.
The show has faced some criticism, notably with regard to their treatment of topics relating to marginalized groups (such as sex workers, people of color, and the LGBTQ community) and factual inaccuracies. The hosts are often receptive to corrections for factual inaccuracies, by including a "corrections corner" in many of the episodes. The Facebook Group page was closed and archived following backlash regarding the volunteer moderators' response to a racist post made by a member.
Other "Murderino" Facebook groups started by fans, not the hosts, were inspired by the show to take an active role in their community. Fans have raised money for various occasions through races and other events. These events help with things like the "End the Backlog foundation," local criminal cases and promoting womens' safety.
Kilgariff and Hardstark have been performing My Favorite Murder Live shows since September 24, 2016. Some of the live shows have been recorded and released as podcast episodes.
Hosts Kilgariff and Hardstark have cowritten a book entitled Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered scheduled to be released on May 28, 2019 by Forge Books. The book is set to be a dual memoir and to also discuss true crime.
Exactly Right Podcast Network
In November 2018, Kilgariff and Hardstark launched the Exactly Right Podcast Network. In addition to producing My Favorite Murder, the network produces the therapist-hosted podcast The Fall Line; the cat discussion podcast The Purrrcast, which is hosted by My Favorite Murder producer Steven Ray Morris; the epidemiology podcast This Podcast Will Kill You; and Karen Kilgariff's other podcast Do You Need A Ride? which she co-hosts with comedian Chris Fairbanks.
In addition, they recently announced the newest podcast to be on the Exactly Right Network, The Murder Squad, which will be hosted by retired cold case investigator Paul Holes and investigative journalist Billy Jensen as they dig deep into unsolved murders, unidentified remains, and missing persons cases. Each week listeners ride shotgun as Holes and Jensen attempt to solve the crime using a variety of methods, from old-fashioned detective work to advanced technologies including familial DNA searches, social media geotargeting, and, maybe most important, the skills of their listeners who send in tips and theories, becoming active members of The Murder Squad. 
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