Keith and the Girl Tattoo #88

I began my journey with Keith and the Girl in 2006.  I had recently moved out of my parent’s house, bought an iPod and discovered iTunes.  I remember searching the iTunes Store and wondering, “what the hell is a podcast?”  Five years and 1500 episodes later, I sport Keith and the Girl tattoo number 88, have been proposed to at one of their live events and will be getting married on their show.

In the internet age, Keith Malley and Chemda Khalili skyrocketed to www. stardom by producing a 5-day a week comedy talk show.  KATG, as it’s known among fans, features guests from the New York comedy scene as the hosts lampoon the daily news, pop culture and taboo subjects like racism.

When I first downloaded the show, I was confused by their “comedy” moniker.  To me, KATG was centered around a hyper-masculine white guy who went on insane rants that deeply offended my sensibilities.  (Episodes entitled Reading is for Faggots, Keith and the Sand Nigger, and Titties for God confirm that the podcast is not for the faint of heart.)  I kept listening for a couple of reasons:  1.)  the show was so offensive that I had to be missing something, 2.) though Keith might have been asshole, The Girl seemed to make sense and 3.) the Thursday gossip queen, Patrice, was so funny that I shit a brick.

After about a month of listening, things started to make sense.  The show is a searing satire of our cultural climate.  Keith is an asshole, but a funny one.  And neither holds anything back.

Many fans enjoy the show because of the “NO HOLDS BARRED/TAKE NO PRISONERS” attitude.  In fact, the self-named “KATG Klan” have helped the comedy duo win multiple honors, including “People’s Choice” and “Best Mature Podcast” at the Podcast Awards and a Swedish prize that has more consonants than the million plus downloads a month the show receives.

The one-time serioso couple, a word Keith and Chemda created to describe a long-term relationship stronger than boyfriend-girlfriend but not quite a marriage, have been through a lot since creating the show– much of it on air.  They have fought, shared intimate details of their lives and even lost friends while we’ve listened and picked it apart on the popular KATG forums.

The biggest shock came in 2010 when the co-hosts announced that they were broken up, had been so for over a year and, what’s more, Chemda was dating a woman.  I was unloading the dishwasher when I heard the announcement.  I had to pause my iPod and leave the silverware untouched in its tray.  My hands grasped the counter to steady myself.

As much as other people rely on music, I have Keith and Chemda’s voice playing from my earbuds.  I came to age with and through their show.  KATG played a huge part in my transition from boy to man.  (Though, as Keith says, you don’t really become a grown up until 25, so I’m still not quite there.)  In the absence of a father, Keith dispensed of such fatherly as advice as:  if your customers are excessively rude, it is okay to give them a free milkshake.  And it’s equally okay to shit in it.

After a few seconds/minutes/hours of stunned silence, I pushed play and their voices resumed.  The reason, it turns out, for their deception was a clause in a contract they had signed for their book, What Do We Do Now?   Smart Answers to your Stupid Relationship Questions.  (Which they are currently recording as an audio book.)  They had to stay together for at least a year after the book came out, otherwise they would be taken to court.  Only a select number of people, countable on one hand, knew what happened.   After 18 months, Keith and Chemda were able to start a new chapter of their lives.

And that new chapter involves KATG VIP, a subscription-only section of their website that gives members full access into the Keith and the Girl world.  According to the site subscribers receive “every KATG in-studio episode ever created” (the 10 most recent are available for free) “constantly updated material including the What’s My Name show” (Chemda’s weekly podcast) and downloadable versions of “exclusive bonus content such as KATGtv.”   Subscriptions range from $11 to $15 a month.

All information regarding Keith and the Girl can be found at www.keithandthegirl.com.

-Benjamin Rexroad
Managing Artistic Director

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