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Like all good comedy duos, Amy Goodmurphy and Ryan Steele met in a bar. Goodmurphy was consuming and Steele was pouring … though perhaps not fast enough for her liking.
“I asked her if she wanted another beer and she said, ‘Yeah, I wanted one five minutes ago when this one was f***ing empty,’ ” said Steele. “And I was like, ‘Holy s***, this girl’s funny. So I bought her a Kokanee.”
“If this makes it to print, can you at least change it to an import beer?” Goodmurphy asked.
The two have been making each other laugh ever since, and eventually formed The Ryan & Amy Show to bring others in on the joke. For the last year, the queer sketch comedy duo has been hosting Poor Lil Thing, a podcast that celebrates everything embarrassing. Each episode garners between 20-25,000 listens per episode and the show has been featured on the Apple podcasts homepage in the categories Comedy — New and Wild and Witty. If that’s not enough, Poor Lil Thing has charted in Croatia, Italy and Ireland.
And yes, the podcast is an indirect result of the pandemic.
“The first thing anyone says when the subject of podcasts comes up is that everyone and their mother has one,” Goodmurphy said.
“Ryan had been wanting us to do one for years and I’d always said no. I say things and take them back every five seconds. I was a little bit worried about what that would look like and what we would talk about.”
One thing that convinced her was having “heavy control of our editing.” And indeed, you won’t hear any hemming, hawing or “uhms” on Poor Lil Thing.
Theirs is no fly-by-night podcast, either.
“We’ve had friends do podcasts that came and went in a month or two,” Steele said. “They realized how much work it was and were like, ‘OK, bye.’ But already this year we’ve done 46, I believe. I feel good that we’ve been consistent.”
“At the very least, we haven’t given up,” Goodmurphy added.
Still, a podcast where the hosts tell embarrassing stories about themselves is not exactly ground-breaking. What makes Poor Lil Thing different, Goodmurphy and Steele say, is their willingness to plumb the depths, as it were, and their celebrity guests.
“Our embarrassing stories are f***ing evergreen,” Goodmurphy said, using language you won’t hear in the Hallmark movie she’s currently in, The Holiday Sitter.
“I mean, we thought about that, too, like we’re going to run out of stories. But we never run out. And that encourages our listeners and people in our lives to share their stories as well. And it’s not just about crapping your pants.” Pause. “I mean, there’s a lot of that. But it turns out that we’re very relatable to a lot of people.”
Guests have included comedian Cameron Esposito, SNL writer Rosebud Baker, RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Brooke Lynn Hytes, queer TikTok celebrity Darcy Michael and actress Mena Suvari.
“As a guest, they must tell an embarrassing story,” Goodmurphy said. “You hear these people in a vulnerable, interesting way, like Mena Suvari talked about almost lighting a hotel room on fire. That was quite fun. And the way she told it was so lovely.”
Guests scheduled for the New Year include actor Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls, Cake Wars) and French drag queen Nicky Doll (10th in Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race).
Perhaps even more enticing to listeners than the cringe element and guests is the chemistry between the hosts.
“Someone messaged me the other day to say that they enjoy our banter the most,” Steele said.
“They just want to listen to us and about everything that’s going on in our lives. We finish each other’s sentences, you can tell we’re best friends. They’re on the ride with us now.”
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