When Heather McKinney and Christie Wallace found out the podcast they co-host, Sinisterhood, cracked iTunes' top 10 list for U.S. Comedy Podcasts, they assumed something must be wrong. After seeing how many times Sinisterhood had been downloaded in such a short period, Wallace went so far as to reach out to the website host to report a possible issue. It wasn’t until the next morning that the Dallas-based comedians realized the user activity had propelled their true crime/horror/comedy podcast to be listed next to the likes of Joe Rogan, Anna Faris and other podcast royalty.
“My initial reaction was tears springing from my eyes uncontrollably,” Wallace says. “It was amazing validation that people really enjoy what we're doing. We love researching the topics and recording together. It's incredible to know others are enjoying it as much as we do.”
A Karen Kilgariff-devoted Instagram account called @myfavoritekarenkilgariff had taken a liking to Sinisterhood, and when the account promoted the podcast to its 108K followers, the devotees of Kilgariff and her true crime/comedy podcast, My Favorite Murder, started pressing the download button.
Now with its 26th episode just completed, Sinisterhood explores topics ranging from conspiracy theories, true crime and the paranormal. Each topic is carefully researched before recording, such as the recent two-part episode discussing the assassination of JFK; and with the knowledge of both McKinney, a practicing lawyer, and Wallace armed with a psychology degree, they discuss and comedically riff about the subject.
Sinisterhood is a welcome addition for My Favorite Murder fans, as they both exist in the same space of making light of dark and sometimes morbid topics. It’s a difficult balancing act, but the appetite for true crime-related entertainment is ravenous, with two of the top consistently performing podcasts, My Favorite Murder and Last Podcast On The Left, standing as proof there’s a successful formula in mixing comedy and bloodshed.
McKinney is a fan of both My Favorite Murder and Last Podcast On the Left, and sees Sinisterhood as a good fit between the two styles each show offers.
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“I think that’s why we’ve found an audience because we’re halfway between,” McKinney says. “My Favorite Murder is not super researched, but it’s really fun and it’s like talking to your girlfriend, and Last Podcast is super researched, but it can be a little bit — not like shock jockey because they’re kind guys. I have no qualms with them at all, but women can be a little off-put that you’re kind of in the locker room. So I think we’re a good happy medium.”
The goal for McKinney and Wallace is to make Sinisterhood a full-time occupation where they can work on the show and also be afforded the time to develop supplementary projects, such as writing books about the topics they research. The research is time-consuming to fit into their planned weekly release schedule, so being able to focus more on those aspects from a financially secure place would be ideal. If their progress continues at this rapid pace, their path to the finish line might be much shorter than expected. Along with the extra downloads they’re receiving, they’re already one of the first acts to be booked for the Dallas Comedy Festival hosted by Dallas Comedy House.
For now though, McKinney and Wallace are focused on the work of making each episode as informative and funny as possible. While they look forward to seeing what the future holds, they believe hard work has to be put in now to be a success.
“Every week we will always find the time to record,” McKinney says. “It doesn’t matter what our schedules are, we set it up. Like I went out of town and I was gone for multiple days in a row when we would normally record. We just went back to back Tuesday, Wednesday, and we were just like, ‘You know what? We gotta do it. It sucks. We’re gonna be tired, but we don’t want to miss one.’ Back to the grind. Do the thing every day.”