The Very Strong Case for Murder at the Holidays
The holiday season is upon us. The smell of pine and cinnamon wafts to and fro, families gather around the table, and feelings of murderous rage fill the air like a thousand unique and angry snowflakes, each fuelled by their own agenda; be it greed, sociopathy, or the always-unfortunate combination of long unspoken grievances and alcohol.
Okay, I know that to some, that seems a kind of a macabre take on the holiday season, but I'm a huge film noir/true crime buff and I've been on a binge for the last several months, and I'm not even a little bit ashamed of it. I know that I'm not alone. There are a lot of us out there. For me, I kind of didn't have a choice - It's genetic. My mother's mother used to be an absolute voracious consumer of true crime, and even had one of those old-school police blotters in her house that seemed to always be on. That gene got passed-down to my mother, who loves a good tale of death and deceit, and herself listens to several different police radio feeds on her iPod while she's cleaning the house. Mom however eschews the often small-potatoes crimes of our local town for the feeds from larger cities like Chicago where there's always something going on. She's got game, my mom; she can pick a fresh murder story out of a newspaper simply by holding it between her hands and feeling its weight.
My sister and I have both inherited the gene as well, although admittedly I was late to the party. My sister lives just a few blocks from my mother, so it's easy enough for her to trade murderous tales with our mom. I really only embraced my legacy in the last two years, after my sister suggested we go to one of the live podcast shows of My Favorite Murder (MFM) while I was home visiting (more on that in a minute). If you're not familiar with the MFM podcast and are a fan of the genre, get familiar with it. It is the heroin of podcasts; you'll be instantly addicted, and what's even better, unlike heroin, the whole thing is free, not just the first hit.
So while you may shake your head at my blasphemic subversion of the traditional tenets of the holiday season, bear in mind that there are more of us out there than you could ever know. In fact, at your next holiday party, have a look around. Most likely, one or more of your friends, relatives or colleagues is one of us. She's in the cult. She's a Murderino. And just on the off chance you find yourself needing a gift for said cult member, well....here ya go.
On the MFM podcast website, the official description of the podcast begins thusly.
"My Favorite Murder is the hit true crime comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Since its inception in early 2016, the show has broken download records and sparked an enthusiastic, interactive "Murderino" fan base who came out in droves this spring for the sold-out nationwide tour."Having seen the podcast live as a member of said fan base, I can vouch not only for the enthusiasm of the audience, but also the unique and strongly feminist undercurrent of this show. Kilgariff and Hardstark are both hysterically gifted comediennes, and the show has an uncensored, conversational way about it that feels like a sleepover where we all get together, drink a bunch of wine, and bitch about men - and also how difficult it is to find dresses with pockets. But during the podcast, instead of complaining about men not wanting to clean up the cat puke, Kilgariff and Hardstarck launch into these accounts of real crimes in which men kill their entire families or each other (or whomever happened to be delivering the mail that day) in really horrible ways. Sure, it's not always men (don't you dare "not all men" me), but....well, yeah. There's a smattering of women featured in these tales of true crime, but by and large, most of the more accomplished killers in history have been men. And that right there is in and of itself a bonding exercise for the audience, as well as an acknowledged (albeit unspoken) element of the show that is so pertinent to life in the Me Too era. This is a place where the violence of "not always" men can be discussed, laid bare, and spoken about in any way that we see fit without anyone interrupting us, telling us we are being unfair, trying to discredit us, or trying in some other way to shout over the top of our stories.
The predominantly female audience, which for the show I attended filled the entire Northrup Auditorium in Minneapolis so quickly they had to add another show the following night, is a very unique collective of super-smart, funny, strong modern women from all ages and all walks of life (and yes there were also some super-brave, ultra-secure men there too), and you instantly feel like you are among friends. I can't remember the last time I felt like I was in such a supportive and fun environment while pontificating the finer points of murder. I really can't recommend it enough. If you are reading the snark on this blog on the regular and I have not yet scared you off, you will like this podcast, and so will your (probably already a Murderino) friend/coworker/relative, for whom you need to get a secret Santa gift for the office party.
These Murderino things are available in both the US and the UK, or you can also visit the podcast's shop on their official website to see all the swag. Just follow the links, stay sexy, and don't get murdered!