I will admit that I was never a podcast person. The thought of listening to random folks prattle on about things that interested them that could be something I would be interested in as well didn't appeal to me. I was also never a big fan of self-proclaimed experts on anything. Further, I was intimidated by the format. Being a dedicated punk rock and Hip Hop head who had already transitioned from cassette tapes and compact discs to digital music files in my lifetime, I was skeptical. What did they mean I could listen to people talk on every topic imaginable by streaming something directly from iTunes to my phone/iPod/Laptop?


She asked me if I was a Murderino

By the time I became seriously interested in exploring this wacky new world of podcasts (not being new anymore, as I was in my early thirties before I began seriously considering it), I had no idea where to begin. There were so many shows and topics to choose from, how did anyone know where to start? I love TED talks as much as the next gal, but I only have so much room in my brain for new and extended bits of enlightenment and intellectualism. Plus, I can stream those on the old Roku any time I want. Everything about all of this changed for me in July of 2017 during a casual conversation with a friend about invisible illnesses / chronic pain. My friend lives with Multiple Sclerosis and at the time I was in month one of what would become a nine-month stint of debilitating and crippling chronic pain, the source for which had not yet been fully determined.

We were exchanging a dialogue about the stupid things people say to those of us dealing with any type of invisible illness or ailment. We were joking about justifiable workplace homicide and the everyday office space accoutrements that could be used as weapons toward, say, the person who makes a comment while you're crying in pain about how they thought you were doing so much better, all judgy and snobby-like.

She said that she needed to do research on Murderpedia on the subject, and I posed the question, "Is it weird that I love murder crime stories?" I went on to say, "Like, real life crimes. It can be a case I've heard of or never knew anything about." My friend replied, "Hell no." Then she asked me if I was a Murderino. I'd never heard/read this word before and indicated as much.

She freaked out, telling me all about this podcast that I needed to listen to: "My Favorite Murder" (MFM) hosted by two female comics, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. It still took me several weeks to get around to really listening to it. I had no idea what I was in for, or that this podcast would be a main component of me maintaining my sanity through the next several months of Hell on Earth.

Karen and Georgia kept me laughing

It didn't take long for my initial listening experience to become a full-on, several weeks-long listening binge. I found myself listening to the old episodes as often as I could, whenever I was conscious. I pretty much lived on the couch from June 2017 to February 2018, so you'd think I had plenty of time to catch up and listen to every episode ever made, but I wasn't always conscious for more than a few hours each day.

The medications that I was taking for the pain I was in were non-narcotic but sedating and disorienting nevertheless. In fact, in February 2018 I landed in the hospital with serotonin syndrome, followed by three weeks of Hellish withdrawals from everything, including 3,600mg of Gabapentin each day, 120mg of Cymbalta each day, 15mg of Mobic everyday, 20mg of Prozac daily, and 4mg daily of tizanidine, a muscle relaxer.

The pain I was experiencing was other-worldly, as I had four herniated/bulging discs in my lumbar spine, arthritis in my spinal column, compression of my spinal cord, and chronic sciatica that would reach all the way to my toes. At times my left leg would tingle like it had fallen asleep for hours at a time.

There were a few instances where I lost feeling in my leg and foot entirely, with my leg falling limp out from under me mid-stride. It was a scary time, made scarier because none of the specialists and surgeons I was seeing thought that I was really in all that pain. Some treated me as though I was just lazy and didn't want to work and some treated me as though I just wanted drugs. My primary care doctor acted as though his hands were tied and he was helpless. He stated that he believed I was in pain but didn't feel he could speak out against the specialists who said that my MRI scans and X-Rays didn't justify the pain that I was in.

To say I was depressed was an understatement, I was downright suicidal.

Pain does weird things to a person's mind and personality. It's hard to feel motivated to get out of bed every day when you don't see an end to pain in sight and all you have to look forward to is the couch. It took until January 2018 to be diagnosed with Piriformis Syndrome. When I started listening to MFM I started laughing, a whole lot. The size of the community of listeners helped me to feel more normal, as well, and joining the Facebook Group with the rest of the Murderinos opened my life up socially, significantly, in a way that couldn't otherwise be achieved while existing entirely on the couch. Murderino, by the way, is a title a listener bestowed upon themselves and other listeners, and it just sort of stuck.

Every loyal fan seemingly identifies with the moniker.

What makes murder so damned appealing?

I had been interested in true crime and murder since I was a kid. I'm not really sure why, but if I had to guess I would say it is likely connected to two components of my personal history: The fact that I grew up in one of the most violent cities in the country (Flint, Michigan) and that my middle-school boyfriend's father killed his mother and then himself, in front of the kids, one night after most people would have been in bed. Those types of things tend to stick with a person, and I've always been fascinated by what we call the human condition. What makes people do the crazy stuff that they do? How do I avoid that?

The appeal of this particular podcast goes way beyond curiosity, though. According to the iTunes Charts, MFM debuted at No. 25 on the US chart, just weeks after it originally aired. The highest chart position listed by iTunes for the show in the US is No. 6.

The raw humanity of the podcast is what keeps me coming back, and I think a lot of other listeners as well. Karen and Georgia are open about their histories with drug and alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression, strained family relationships, family health crises, and the list goes on. They are open and honest about all of these things, but most importantly, they have a sense of humor about it all. Never have I felt while listening like they were preaching, lecturing, or woe-is-me(ing,) rather, they are simply practicing the subtle art of being human and unapologetically just doing their best.

This is not, they admit, the podcast to come to if you love research and all of the facts. They don't do a lot of research, and sometimes they get their facts completely wrong, which is why there is an unofficial segment of the show called Corrections Corner, also approached with a heaping load of humor. A common theme among fans and listeners, as well as with the hosts themselves, is rampant anxiety and a need to control...everything.

The hosts, as well as we listeners, pore over article after article, page after Murderpedia page, to learn more about what killers do, what they act like, what predicates them turning into murders, the personal and family histories of murders, etc. all to avoid being murdered.

Protected, as much as we can be, from being seriously harmed, kidnapped, or raped. Knowing that the show is hosted by two female comics, it should be no surprise that there is a great deal of humor woven throughout the fabric of it all, including during the telling of the murder stories themselves. So much so that the audience participates by creating inspirational-quote-mimicking memes with ad-lib lines from nearly every episode. Fan art can be found on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even on some of the official merchandise for the podcast. Even Georgia's cat, Elvis, is in on the fun. Of course, one of my personal favorite elements is Georgia and Karen ending every episode with a simple and astute, "Stay sexy, and don't get murdered."

I shall do my best, ladies, and thanks for the laughs.