It seems like every queer party I go to in L.A. I end up having at least one conversation about true crime. Whether we’re talking about the bizarre murder that happened in the town we grew up in, our favorite segment of a podcast, or the latest episode of the newest HBO true crime documentary, gays can’t get enough of the stuff.
True Crime Obsessed is definitely the podcast that most accurately recreates those IRL conversations, and that’s exactly why I love it. Hosted by Gillian Pensavalle and gay comedian Patrick Hinds, the podcast features the two friends talking about true crime documentaries they’ve watched and their hilarious reactions to them.
The podcast has hundreds of thousands of downloads per month and is selling out live shows wherever they go. And they do all of that while mercilessly hating on the criminals who commit these violent crimes, laughing when they can, and giving trigger warnings when topics get to dark. Out spoke with Hinds about the podcast, his favorite documentary, and how to stay sane when talking about horrible crimes.
How did you first get into true crime?
I think it started with being a middle school nerd who was obsessed with Bigfoot and the Bermuda Triangle. I actually had a crazy ghost sighting when I was a little kid, but that’s another story for another time. Oh and UFOs. I was definitely also obsessed with UFOs. It seems like a pretty straight line from that sort of stuff to true crime, no?
Your podcast sounds exactly like the conversations I have all my queer friends about true crime, why do you think queer people are so attracted to true crime as a genre?
One of the reasons I wanted to make a true crime podcast was because, at the time we started making True Crime Obsessed, I wasn’t hearing any other LGBTQ+ folks hosting shows in the true crime podcasting space — which was crazy because I just knew there was a large LGBTQ+ audience out there listening. I truly think that has to do with the fact that we are a community that, tragically, knows what it’s like to live with a certain fear of violence. I think we understand these stories on a certain level because they reflect stories from within our own community.
Speaking of your large queer and trans audience, I really love how you use trigger warnings or skip over especially bad parts of some of these stories, especially when about sexual violence or crimes against children. How did you decide to start doing that?
We get a lot of feedback from our listeners, which we love, and this was something that the listeners really wanted. Also, I’m a father, so anything involving kids is really tough for me. But we are very aware that some of the stuff we cover is really dark and at the end of the day, we want our listeners to enjoy the experience of listening to our show, so we always want to be up front when something truly disturbing is coming up. Usually we’ll talk about it in as few words as possible and move on and then find something silly to say to bring us all out of the dark.
I also love the garbage bell. Can you tell me how that came about?
One of the best parts about our podcast is how truly in touch Gillian, my co-host, is with her feelings. And sometimes she gets mad, you guys! Back in the beginning episodes, she’d sometimes pound the table or threaten to flip the table completely. And then one day, I remember saying, “We need to get you a bell or something for you to smash when you get really mad.” Then one day I was at Staples and saw this $3 concierge bell and thought, “That’s the one!” Ever since the bell made her debut, she’s been a part of the family. We even take her on the road with us when we tour and people are always glad to meet her
What’s not necessarily your favorite documentary you’ve watched for the show, but the wildest?
No question: Abducted in Plain Sight. That movie is so well-made and it’s just completely bonkers. It tells the story of Jan Broberg who — as a 13-year-old — was kidnapped twice by the same person. And that’s just the beginning of the bonkers-ness of that story. Her mom had an affair with her kidnapper and her dad had at least two sexual encounters with him. The whole thing is nuts. Gillian and I were screaming the whole time. I’m still not over it.
Are there any upcoming docs you’re excited about covering or other things coming up for the podcast?
We have a lot over very exciting stuff in the hopper that we can’t announce yet. But we just finished our 12-show tour of the U.S. and Canada, and we’re in the process of putting together our tour for 2020 — including our live Pride show in San Francisco on Pride weekend. We debuted our Pride show in NYC this year — we did it on the actual 50th Anniversary of Stonewall and we covered a documentary about the riot. It was really special. Our live shows are always wild and are one of the most fun things we get to do.
You can download True Crime Obsessed on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you get podcasts.