The Untold Truth Of My Favorite Murder

In recent years, the true-crime genre has dominated TV shows and podcasts, and many tune in to feed their morbid curiosity or act as armchair detectives to try and solve cold cases. The fascination with true crime has been more socially acceptable thanks to these shows, and now you can talk about grisly murders without having to worry about someone labeling you as "weird" or "psychotic."

There are many reasons why true crime is so popular among fans, one of them being that it's a great topic for conversation. As criminologist Oriana Binik points out, people want to feel strong emotions and consuming entertainment from the true crime genre is the perfect gateway (via BBC). People can feel outraged, empathize with victims, or speculate and debate as a group. This is, perhaps, one of the reasons why podcasts, such as "My Favorite Murder," have millions of listeners that are brought together by their common love for the macabre.

The birth of "My Favorite Murder"

The two hosts of "My Favorite Murder" were brought together by their fascination with true crime. Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark attended a common friend's Halloween party in 2015, and it was there that they found out they love talking about the topic. Karen recalls that moment and said, "I met someone who... didn't want me to shut up about murder," per Forbes. At the party, Karen was talking about a gory car accident that she saw years ago when she noticed that everyone was "bummed out by it."

There was someone, however, who seemed fascinated by her story of the accident — Georgia. According to Karen, per Entertainment Weekly, Georgia reached out to her across the group and said, "Tell me everything." So, the two went on to talk about their common interest. "I think Karen and I talked all night about crazy murders," Georgia said.

Hardstark and Kilgariff then launched the "My Favorite Murder" podcast in January 2016.

The podcast's format

What sets apart "My Favorite Murder" from other podcasts and true crime shows is the hosts' comedic comments throughout their storytelling. That's not to say they don't take the murders lightly, though. The format of the podcast tosses all formality aside so it sounds just like two friends having a fun and intimate conversation that just so happens to be about murders. "I know that we are respectful. And I think us not trying to take an expert track, just being like, 'Found this on Wikipedia!' or whatever it is, it's welcoming to people," Karen said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Each week, Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff each tell a true crime story, covering popular cases to the not-so-known ones. They also share their opinions on the matter and sometimes even delve into their own life experiences, whether it be about true crime or not. They also have "minisodes" wherein they read stories sent in by listeners regarding their hometown murders or other interesting and macabre happenings.

"My Favorite Murder" and its continued success

Since the launch of "My Favorite Murder," it has climbed up the podcast charts and has managed to retain its success. Per Forbes, the podcast boasts 35 million downloads a month. Karen and Georgia have also branched out to do live shows in different states as well as other countries. It pays well to talk about murder too, as the duo held the second spot in Forbes' list of highest-earning podcasters with $15 million.

Their podcast was so successful that Georgia and Karen eventually decided to start their own podcast network in 2018 called Exactly Right. Their roster of podcasts does not only focus on crime; in fact, it's quite diverse with titles such as "Parent Footprint," "I Said No Gifts!," "Lady to Lady," and "The Purrrcast!" among others. In a press release, Georgia and Karen shared their vision for the network, per The Comics Comic, "With Exactly Right, we want to provide a platform for bold, creative voices to bring to life provocative, entertaining, and relatable stories for our fans."

Murderinos unite

"My Favorite Murder" fans call themselves "murderinos" — someone who is obsessed with true crime. The podcast has built a solid fanbase, and Facebook groups have been popping all over and unifying murderinos in different locations. In fact, the community has grown into something more as members try to support each other and help one another in different ways. Murderinos post their small businesses and see other members immediately support their endeavor without question.

As one murderino shared with San Antonio Current, she was struggling financially, and instead of asking for help from her friends and family, she opted to post in her local murderino group to offer cleaning services to earn some money. She got four jobs from the group and even said that one trusted her enough to give her address without first meeting. The groups also have discussions on mental health issues, a topic that Georgia and Karen often discuss in their podcast. "I feel like we get each other without actually knowing each other," a fan said.

Words to live by

Karen and Georgia not only discuss murders in their podcast, but they also leave listeners with words of advice to avoid, well, getting murdered. Every episode, the duo signs off with the phrase, "Stay sexy, and don't get murdered" (that's SSDGM for murderinos). They've also shared other tips, such as "pepper spray first and apologize later," and "f**k politeness." Many fans take these words to heart, and one woman even said that it may have saved her life.

Hannah Sydney Thees, a murderino, was taking her dog out on a walk while she was heavily pregnant when a man tackled her and attempted to sexually assault her, per Yahoo. She said listening to "My Favorite Murder" prepared her for such a situation and she fought off her attacker by poking his eyes and punching him, all the while thinking "stay sexy and don't get murdered."

Another murderino, Anita Mena, said that she lives by Karen and Georgia's words and recalled a time when she was playing with her child at an empty park and a man decided to sit near them. That's when she decided to leave the park. "The podcast hasn't made me scared of people, but now I have a heightened sense of awareness," she said (via San Antonio Current).