Fad Camp: Tackling serious conversations through comedy

The IPA-winning podcasters talk diets, discourse and direct feedback

Podcasting can be a great way to address complex or challenging topics, and for many people across the world, the issue of diet and weight loss is a deeply personal one. That’s why the creators of Fad Camp, Conor Dowling and Grace Mulvey, decided to tackle the subject with a healthy dose of humour, as well as through sharing their own personal experiences of fad diets and bizarre weight-loss regimes. 

This week, Rhianna Dhillon and Reem Makari spoke to Mulvey and Dowling about how the show came to be, their reaction to winning Best Entertainment Podcast at this year’s Irish Podcast Awards, and how they adapted the show for live audiences, as well as how they handle research in such a thorny area.

Key takeaways

Maintain a healthy skepticism

“It is that thing, like, don't believe everything you see on TV or don't believe everything you read, but we do take the word of so many sources; I have definitely committed to memory as fact so many things I've seen just on Instagram, and I would hate people to listen to our show and take it as dogma, like this is the absolute fact.” 

“In the same way that we kind of try to call bullshit on a lot of things that are sold to us as fact or sold to us as normal things to have in your life, I would love, at the very least, for people to hear our show and go, Oh, hadn't thought of things that way and I will continue to question things.”

Remember to mix up your live shows

“Live podcasting is still very in its infancy. And I think a lot of podcasts are still finding out what that actually means… My Therapist Ghosted Me, I know that their shows are big shows and they do a DJ set - and that makes sense for the type of show it is. When we were talking about it, we were like, OK. You don't want to just do an episode, you want to add some bits in that can make it interesting for the people who are there. 

“We have a good audio intro. We were like, let's do a visual one. So for the people that are there, we basically put a bunch of clips together that would be like a very famous quote of Oprah talking about bread in a Weight Watchers episode - very funny diet clips. And then we did bits in the show where we got our producer Darren to try out crazy diet exercise equipment, like a neck harness which is meant to add muscles to your neck - honestly, it looks like some sort of sex weapon - but we were just like, how do we make this a live show?”

Resources aren’t everything

“Not to sound too corny, but I would hope that other podcasters who are truly indie podcasters who are starting in their bedrooms over Zoom - essentially like we did - will hear about that win and go, oh, wow, it's possible. Because I think it's very easy to look at a lot of the really amazing podcasts that are out there, that have things like budgets and staffs and all of this amazing stuff that you're like, oh, well, how can I ever compete against that?”

“So that's part of, I think, why me and Grace are so proud of the achievement and so blown away by it. We're just like, really? We did that, ourselves? So I hope people would take a little bit of inspiration from that too.”



Footnotes

War reporting in the podcast age: How The Telegraph kept tabs on Ukraine

David Law: Taking The Tennis Podcast around the world

Irish Podcast Awards 2023: Best entertainment podcast

Irish Podcast Awards 2023: Best podcast network or publisher

Fad Camp podcast to host first-ever live show at Dublin Fringe Festival 2023

IPAs 2023: Inside the Irish podcast scene

This Paranormal Life: Building a global brand

Elis James: The funny thing about podcasts

When Irish ears are listening

Big fish, small sea: Irish podcasting within the wider anglo-phonic market

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