Over the last year, a pop-culture comedy podcast called ‘The Read’ has garnered the kind of cult following that D-list celebrities and reality show contestants would chew off their left arms off for.
In what seemed like no time at all, ‘The Read’ made it to #3 overall in iTunes’ “New and Noteworthy” section, and peaked at #1 in the comedy section. When iTunes celebrated 100 million podcast subscribers, “The Read” was featured on a page of podcasts that helped get iTunes there.
In short: This show is hilarious, and its listeners are completely addicted.
This is the kind of stuff that goes down on The Read:
In a recent episode, a guest on podcast told a story about Drake (yes, that Drake). He’d been at a strip club in Atlanta and invited the dancers back to his hotel room. Instead of getting a private show, though, Drake gave one. He started playing music for his guests and telling them what he thought about it. The strippers, thinking they were going to get paid, got totally frustrated and left.
As you can imagine, Kid Fury and Crissle immediately lost it.
“I bet Drake got a pair of Uggs,” Crissle between guffaws.
The episode was uploaded to audio streaming site SoundCloud tw weeks ago. Since then, it’s been played over 76,000 times. And then there’s iTunes, where they have about 80,000 subscribers.
‘The Read’ breaks down in three segments. First, Kid Fury picks pop culture stories for the duo to discuss. Then Crissle brings out listener letters with questions for them to answer. Lastly, Kid Fury and Crissle “read” someone or something.
Let me explain: “A read” is the ultimate :let-me-tell-you-what.” It’s what you do when you’re so fed up with someone or something you just have to express everything you think about that person or thing — it can be mean, it can be hilarious, but above all it has to be honest.
“Reading,” as they say, “is fundamental.” It’s a form of venting that has roots deep in the black gay community. But like a lot of liberating forms of expression, it has spread to the wider gay community, and the heterosexual black community as well. The release is like religion.
Crissle and Kid Fury moved to NYC, where they are based, only last year. Kid Fury approached Crissle with the project already having a big following on social media for doing no-holds-barred commentary videos on anything from pop culture gossip to “Five Ways Not To Get Catfished.“
Remember “S**t White Girls Say…” Kid Fury is the star of “S**t Black Gays Say” (highly recommended).
Crissle was social media-savvy too, but in moving NYC, her intention was not to break out as a cult internet star.
“I moved here to get out of Oklahoma,” she told Business Insider in a phone interview. “I had an online presence but not nearly enough to sustain something like this.”
Kid Fury hails from Miami.
Neither of them expected their podcast to catch on so fast, but it’s become so huge, they’re are about to do their 4th live show in Houston, Tex. next month. The 500-person event is completely sold out.
“The first live show that we did was almost like a prototype,” said Kid Fury. “I just feel like there’s so much more we could have done with it.”
Crissle said: “hearing the reaction from the crowd” was the strangest part of the live experience. In the studio there’s no laughing, no yelling, no reacting. The tempo is different.
They’ll get their chance to get used to it. Requests are piling up for “The Read” live in Los Angeles, Miami and more.
And it’s because of the fans. Crissle and Kid Fury have an ad agency that handles their sponsors, but they don’t really advertise their show. From the beginning the fans gave the show legs by sharing the podcast. They talked about it, and they engaged with it by writing in and asking questions about dating, sexuality, race, and family drama.
In response, Crissle and Kid Fury, both gay, have shared a lot about being outsiders at some points of their lives. On top of being entertaining, they’ve become two relatable friends to listeners, who are able to get together and do a hilarious one-hour podcast in one take. No rehearsals.
“I lived a regular life until January when Kid Fury asked me to host a podcast with him,” said Crissle. Now she’s so busy juggling media appearances, listener e-mails and business meetings, she may have to quit her day job.
“Sometimes I think: ‘Oh my God I want to strangle everyone in Harlem right now’ because no one will shut up,” he said. “When you’re in lullaby land getting ready for work in the morning, I’m on the internet doing something stupid.”
Whatever it is, Fury, it’s working.
Check out The Read on iTunes here.
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