Girl Talk: The Read

by Molly Thomas

Penetrating the world of comedy can be a pretty daunting prospect but podcasts are an excellent place to start. Every week Molly Thomas will take you through the best the genre has to offer in lady-centric entertainment with the requisite chutzpah that comes from beginning articles with ‘penetrating’.

Drawing by Emma, image courtesy of The Read.

Week 3: The Read, #21: Luna and Serena

This episode of The Read is probably the funniest hour you’ll listen to all week, but don’t let the hilarity distract you from how vitally important this podcast is. If the JV Club‘s first week was like a sleepover, and last week’s Wham Bam Pow was the kind of conversation you’re starting to have with your friends now that you’re all considering the ramifications of the media you consume, The Read is the kind of gossip fest you have over dinner and wine, complete with Beyoncé and Shonda Rhimes stanning.

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Based in New York (and featuring plenty of complaints about the MTA), The Read is hosted by Kid Fury (the rare non-annoying YouTube personality) and his close friend Crissle West (a writer who actually has a job outside podcasting, which is pretty much unicorn-status amongst internet-famous people). They both have the comedic timing of old veterans, the pop-culture knowledge people our age actually have at their fingertips, and a generous non-bullshit stance. Both black, queer, and originally from the South, this podcast is probably the closest thing we’ve got in 2013-14 to a diverse “young people in the big city” show.

This episode inspired me to write “don’t be a hater your whole life” on my notebook, and it is my major cheer-up episode. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve listened to it at least ten times and the whole thing is familiar to me, but Crissle saying “look at God” is one of those things that never fails to crack me up. The discussion about Sailor Moon (which gives the episode its name) is incredible and makes me want a sitcom written by these two (even though they’d probably have to excise a good deal of their profanities).

The entertainment news section is one of the incentives to listening to this show on a weekly basis, but I find they always hold up on later rehearings. In the first fifteen minutes alone, we have Crissle’s country saying of the week, Fury’s clear disgust at her not knowing who Bjork is, Crissle’s terrible accent work, a very heated reaction to Chris Brown’s legal troubles, and their suggestions for royal baby names.

The questions section of the show usually involves Fury and Crissle reluctantly providing advice for reader problems such as Beyoncé tickets, nudes, and incest. The reader letters are kind of like Catfish: compelling and terrible, and the best part is seeing them react. The eponymous “reads” are also extremely entertaining; previous issues have featured the topic of touching black women’s hair, respectability politics, and periods. The one Crissle delivers in this episode is probably one of my lesser favourites, because certain comments could be considered body-shaming.

There are plenty of podcasts in the world with thirtysomething white dude comedians talking about how hard it is to date people who aren’t comedians. Trust me, I know. I listen to a lot of them. It’s yet another example of how lazy the mainstream media and entertainment industry are about representation. Despite that, there are plenty of podcasts combatting that homogeny; sometimes you just have to look for them. So look at The Read, in which Fury and Crissle discuss things they actually care about. Episodes have touched on blackface; the Trayvon Martin verdict; Beyoncé’s hair; the stigma surrounding mental illness; and, regardless of how much they put him out, their hope for Chris Brown to get his life back on track .

Overall, this show is just so enjoyable to listen to. I want my media to provide me with opportunities to listen to grown people talking passionately about Sailor Moon. Listening to Kid Fury saying “don’t come for Sailor Moon,” I’m reminded of all the conversations I’ve had with my friends about the fictional characters I’m far too invested in. Ultimately, Fury and Crissle feel like real people, with real problems and real interests. The Read is my submission for voice of our generation, cusswords and all.

Molly Thomas is a 20-year-old law student whose major ambitions in life are to serve on the High Court and/or marry Jason Mantzoukas. She is @jerkola everywhere on the internet and a jerk everywhere in real life.

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