Podcasts aren’t a 2018 phenomenon, nor are toxic fandoms. But 2018 really did seem to be the year of insufferable podcast fan. Don’t believe me? Let’s go.
The Socialist Bro
Between Chapo Trap House and the questionably titled Cum Town, the Socialist Bro fan is, at least to this list-writer, the defining podcast fan of 2018. Perhaps 2017 belonged to the “Murderino” (more on that soon), but 2018 was the year of men explaining Marxism to me through the prism of some in-joke from a podcast that makes $110k a month in Patreon pledges.
The West Wing Expert
Earlier this year, comedy writer Michelle Spies ran her own fantasy league-style bracket of the worst fandoms across any genre. Some of the hottest contenders were fans of the podcast Pod Save America — the political show hosted by “it boys of podcasting” and former Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor and Jon Lovett, and Dan Pfeiffer.
Of course, an overview of the week’s political happenings from a team of experts is, in theory a great concept! But the show’s fans often tend to be know-it-all nerds who, through listening to the pod, have bestowed upon themselves their own expert status. These are the kind of people who reply “You should be ashamed of yourself, Sir” to Donald Trump’s tweets.
Yep, the die-hard fan base of cult hit (their official buy-in fan club is called “The Fan Cult”) My Favourite Murder still managed to behave in a way that secures them a spot on this illustrious list.
The Murderinos, and the podcast itself, frequently divide opinion. It’s been widely praised as a catharsis to real-life trauma; a place, for women especially, to freely obsess. But, for me, flooding the comment section of the live-streamed hearing of the alleged Golden State Killer and gleefully posting “hometown murders” in the 280,000-strong Facebook group shows there’s a way you can laugh about tragedy, and a way you can be incredibly insensitive about people’s deaths.
The Educated MRA
Spending hours listening to their Lord and Saviour Jordan Peterson, these camel-chino-button-up-shirt sexists will calmly espouse the virtues of the separation of the genders while encouraging you to check out Dr Peterson’s YouTube channel.
On the less m’lady end of the MRA spectrum there is Joe Rogan and his show, The Joe Rogan Experience. While not all necessarily men’s rights activist, the fans of this reactionary’s podcast still possess the delightful stench of Eau de Toxić Maśculínity.
The Live Show Attention Seeker
As podcast hosts (rightfully) look for ways to monetise their work, live recordings of episodes have become a staple for many. I wish this weren’t true, as live performances I’ve both listened to and attended have been marred by fans wishing they were part of the show, calling out at innapropriate times and trying to insert themselves at any opportunity.
My Favourite Murder has asked fans nicely before to not do it, as it throws them off, while comedy podcast The Dollop, hosted by seasoned stand-up comedians, shut them down on the spot. Start your own damn podcast or move on from this kind of behaviour (preferably the latter).