True crime is undoubtedly one of the most popular podcast genres that has emerged over the past decade and is often a way for listeners to understand danger and criminal human behaviour without actually putting themselves at risk. Documentary and investigative series such as Crime Junkie and Serial have captured imaginations and helped popularise the genre – but it’s not all grisly murders and murky motives. In recent years, the genre has produced more light-hearted true-crime shows – shows like Drunk Women Solving Crime.
This week on the PodPod podcast, the Drunk Women Solving Crime co-hosts Hannah George, Catie Wilkins and Taylor Glenn join PodPod presenter Rhianna Dhillon and PodPod editor Adam Shepherd to talk about how they merge true crime and comedy, making careful choices when it comes to not choosing certain sensitive investigations, why women tend to make up the majority of the podcast’s audience demographic, and how many drinks they actually get through.
Make sure you’re being sensitive
“I'd say in general, the darker the case, the older it will be,” said Glenn. “So we'll go back hundreds of years for some of the cases that we do because then it's sort of safer ground to be making jokes that might veer into the darker side of things.
“We're very careful about how we choose the cases, there are certain cases that we wouldn't touch that involve child abuse and that sort of area where we know this isn't for us.”
Work with what you know
“I’ve listened to quite a few [true-crime podcasts] and I really love the kind of deep dive that some have, because the thing is we are not journalists, we're not historians, we're comedians and writers first and foremost,” said George. “If I was looking at doing an eight-hour-long part about one true crime, I wouldn't know where to start and I'd need a lot of money because it would take me months and months and months.
“For us, the true crime is about half an hour of the podcast, and sometimes that’s only really 20 minutes of material, of actual content. That’s what’s quite interesting about the way we do it… the stories can be quite short.”
Find your niche in an overly saturated market
“I think actually if the market gets more niche, that's quite interesting because then you're gonna end up with a subgenre of just loads of the fraud and invoice categories,” said Wilkins. “I bet there'd be some really interesting beats in that story, and the choices that were made and stuff, so actually, I quite like the idea that the way to deal with a saturated market is to make it even more niche and diversified.”
“That’s the thing with podcasts as well, isn't it?” added George. “There is an audience there for pretty much everything; regardless of how niche it is, you'll hopefully always find your audience for things, so maybe it will go that way.
“That's what I like about our format because we’re one of the few true-crime shows that are formatted in a particular way, and I think when we came up with this idea, we were surprised that it hadn’t been done before because it felt so obvious when we started playing.”