During the 2018 winter holidays, I finished season five of Someone Knows Something, a brilliant Canadian-made true-crime, murder mystery podcast and was craving something a little more on the light, funny side of the podcast spectrum
As if my phone was listening to my thoughts, while scrolling through Twitter one afternoon, I read a tweet that mentioned I Hate It But I Love It (IHIBILI), a podcast about the pop culture many of us may equally love and hate. It’s hosted by Toronto writers and pop culture aficionados Jocelyn Geddie and Kat Angus.
The first IHIBILI episode I listened to was number 15, “Riverdale“, and it had me cackling throughout my commute to work. The comments about character Cheryl Blossom, played by actor Madelaine Petsch, brought hysterical tears to my eyes. Thankfully, there is episode 70, “Riverdale (Season 2),” to confirm the show is made of material that solely exists for Jocelyn and Kat to analyze and laugh at. I could barely stand up while listening to their Riverdale commentary and I knew I had to reach out to IHIBILI to inquire about an interview for A Quarter Young.
I’m excited to share the below Q&A with IHIBILI hosts Jocelyn and Kat, where we discuss the highs and lows of creating content, learning how to manage (self-made or projected) expectations and other challenges presented throughout the IHIBILI journey, as well as the strategies they have so far used to increase listenership and maintain positive, impactful audience engagement.
Don’t scroll down too quickly, friends! Before the end of our chat, Jocelyn and Kat share some of their favourite content produced by folks within their networks.
Get the scoop now:
1. When did IHIBILI launch into the airwaves?
Jocelyn: IHIBILI launched on February 19, 2017. We released our first three episodes (“The OA,” “Love Actually,” and “Cloverfield“) simultaneously as part of The From Superheroes Network, and have released an episode a week ever since. You should check out the other amazing podcasts from From Superheroes: Talk From Superheroes, hosted by Andrew Ivimey and Diana McCallum, and The Villain Was Right, hosted by Craig Fay and Rebecca Reeds.
Kat: We recorded the first six episodes in one weekend, which was remarkably arrogant of us, but I think we were all pleasantly surprised at what a good time we had. If you listen to the first six episodes now, you can definitely hear that we’re still figuring out our dynamic and what we want the podcast to be, but you can also tell that we just love talking to each other.
2. From where does the inspiration for IHIBILI stem?
Jocelyn: It’s definitely Kat’s idea, but it originally stemmed from a Facebook post! We had separately watched The OA, a show we both love purely and sincerely, and simultaneously understand to be the most banana-boats nonsense that’s ever graced a streaming service. We got to discussing these mixed feelings on a Facebook post of mine — specifically, our mixed feelings about Emory Cohen’s performance, and how Kat hated him in Smash, loved him in Brooklyn and was mixed on him in The OA.
Kat: I think Jocelyn was the one who casually said something like, “Someone should really make a podcast about the pop culture you love and hate simultaneously,” but I immediately realized what a brilliant idea for a podcast that was. So I messaged Jocelyn to ask if she’d be interested in doing that podcast with me, and one of the luckiest moments of my life is when she said yes.
Jocelyn: I’m giving all credit to Kat — but a tip of the hat also goes to Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, The OA’s executive producers, without whom we may never have become friends and launched a creative business venture. (We cannot WAIT for the second season to come out. I truly hope they make The OA forever).
Kat: (Me too. It’s going to be horrendous.)
3. How did audiences initially perceive and react to IHIBILI? How has (or hasn’t) this changed, today?
Jocelyn: I’m happy (and am hopefully not tempting fate, *knock wood*) to say that audiences have responded well since the beginning! We have grown a small but loyal audience and hope to keep expanding it.
Kat: Yeah, right off the bat people seemed to like our show. It’s really great when we get tweets, emails or other messages from people who have found IHIBILI and love listening to it as much as we love making it.
4. Both of you are writers and fluent in pop culture. Have you had the chance to work together prior to collaborating on IHIBILI?
Jocelyn: We’ve discussed this on the show, but we actually met and became friends entirely through the podcast! We had mutual friends, but had otherwise never really hung out until we decided to give the podcast a go. Our chemistry and friendship has been a total surprise and delight and one of the great gifts of doing IHIBILI.
Kat: Neither of us can remember how we became Facebook friends, if we weren’t actually friends in real life first, but it’s true that we were little more than vague acquaintances until IHIBILI. We discovered, after we became friends, that we’d both always had friend crushes on each other, but were too shy to say anything about it. It seems ridiculous now. The week before we recorded our first episodes, we finally went out for drinks and realized that we got along incredibly well — and then all of our mutual friends were like, “How were you two not friends already?!”
5. Does IHIBILI mark the first time you have worked on a podcast?
Jocelyn: First time for me!
Kat: I’d briefly done a terrible, badly-produced podcast about television in my first job as an entertainment reporter. A coworker and I just sat in a conference room and talked about the TV we watched that week, while I recorded it on my laptop microphone (!!!), and I sort of edited it later on. It was brutal and it will not shock you to know that we had barely any listeners.
6. What are a few of your favourite tactics to use when brainstorming content ideas and planning the IHIBILI content calendar?
Jocelyn: Conversation! The content of our show has to be fairly specific, in that it has to be something both of us feel strongly about, and in a way where we feel confident we can spend approximately 90-minutes parsing our feelings about it. The best way to ensure we’re doing that is by talking with one another about what we want to do and why we want to do it. Occasionally we’ll time our episodes to coincide with pop culture events (e.g., we did an episode on “Spice World” around its 20th anniversary), but first and foremost, we do stuff that we feel passionately about.
Kat: We try to have a broad definition of what, “hate and love,” means so that we’ll have a wide selection to talk about. While there are definitely movies and TV shows we love and hate at the same time, sometimes it’ll be something we used to love but now hate, or one of us hates it and the other one loves it or it’s something the general public loves that we hate, etc.
7. How do you select the pieces of pop culture that you will discuss and analyze?
Jocelyn: We keep a detailed Google calendar that lists upcoming episodes and populate it every time we have an idea for a show. We are very similar in many ways, but have very different tastes. So we check in with each other regularly and are always free to veto material we don’t want to do, either because we haven’t seen it or because we don’t want to talk about it.
Kat: If one of us has some truly strong feelings either way about a topic, we have no problem talking it out, but I don’t think we’ve had any contentious arguments about what to talk about. I think the closest we came was when Jocelyn thought I wanted to discuss the remake of a film, when I wanted to talk about the original.
Jocelyn: We also welcome suggestions from listeners — but if you’re interested in pitching us an idea, please note that we do not accept suggestions for TV shows. We rewatch everything we discuss on the show, and the amount of preparation it requires to either rewatch an entire TV show, or to research it so we can speak to a single episode in an informed manner, doesn’t always fit with our busy schedules.
Kat: It’s not that we never do TV shows, it’s just that we’re the ones who know which TV shows we’re qualified to talk about.
8. What piece of pop culture. has been the most entertaining and interesting for you to discuss on the podcast?
Jocelyn: We’ve had a lot of discussions I love. I think my favourite episodes of the show are the ones where we have (or had, at one point) a genuine fondness for the movie or show and are trying to reconcile that with what we objectively know to be that product’s flaws — “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Garden State,” “Moulin Rouge.” But there are also plenty of episodes that devolve into sheer goofiness and I LOVE those too — “The Rock” and “Face/Off ” are both great examples.
Kat: Any episode that involves Jocelyn telling an embarrassing story from her past is a good one in my book, but I’m probably biased, (though I urge everyone to listen to the start of our “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life” episode just to hear all of us cry-laugh over her story about an ex-boyfriend). Jocelyn definitely listed some good ones, but I have to also say our “Black Mirror“ episode is fantastic, especially for the song that Jocelyn makes up at the end of it called, “Knife Bot.”
9. Has there been a particularly tough episode to get through?
Jocelyn: The toughest for me was the “Home Alone” episode. I really hate that movie for reasons that are very subjective and very silly, and trying not to shit all over a Christmas classic that is beloved by many was a tall order (because I truly and sincerely have nothing nice to say about it). In general, the most challenging episodes are the ones where one of us genuinely loves a film or TV show and the other one doesn’t. As much as IHIBILI is about being critical, I think we’re both aware that we’re talking about things that our audience might genuinely love, and you don’t want to dismiss something entirely because it might be important to someone who’s listening and is excited to hear you take on something that is dear to them. Similarly, as pals and co-hosts, we want to support each other and offer a, “yes and,” energy. And finally, as a TV writer (and hopeful one day film writer), I’m mindful that being too negative is not a good look and not something I’d want done to me (Kat, please never pick one of my films for IHIBILI). It’s sometimes challenging to dig deep and find criticisms that feel grounded and reasonable, while also being funny, especially when the movie is Home Alone and it burns your heart like a million hot pokers BECAUSE IT IS BAD.
Kat: Jocelyn’s reasons for hating Home Alone are valid (I love the movie, but I understand why she doesn’t). Yet, I still love that episode because I initially chose it as revenge for her making me watch Speed Racer several months before, and you can slowly hear my creeping horror and regret as I discover why she hates Home Alone. But also, god, I can’t believe I watched all of Speed Racer. That movie is long and terrible.
10. Each episode of IHIBILI runs for approximately an hour. How long are the full, unedited conversations?
Jocelyn: Typically, what you see (hear?) is what you get! We like for the show to have a casual, conversational feeling, like you’re grabbing a beer with a friend to discuss the movie you just watched. Our generous and patient producers Andrew and Diana will cut out any flubs, errors or occasional laughing fits, but otherwise, the conversation we have is the conversation that gets presented.
Kat: Yeah, the recordings usually require very few edits, surprisingly — or not surprisingly, because you can still hear all of my “ums” and “uhs.” But Jocelyn and I have a chemistry that I really enjoy and I think we’re both good at keeping the conversation flowing.
11. You’ll often encourage listeners to email you after an episode with feedback, thoughts and ideas for future content. Have you ever received negative commentary? If yes, what were your next steps?
Jocelyn: Absolutely! While we have been fortunate not to receive a lot of negative commentary, I think it’s part for the course for any content creator. In terms of next steps, it really depends on the criticism we’ve received. If it’s a difference of opinion (e.g., someone telling us they don’t like our theme song), we acknowledge it and move on. If we’ve made a mistake or have screwed up a fact, we apologize and make an effort to correct! In general, I think we try to remain open and receptive. For the most part, criticism is shared with good intentions, and you can turn a small blunder into a huge one by denying you’ve made a mistake and lashing out instead of examining the situation and seeing how you can improve.
Kat: In our early episodes especially, I think we made several blunders that people pointed out to us — even months later, for some. At first, I think we thought this was a fun, silly project for the two of us and we didn’t need to worry about things like, you know, research. We definitely do our best to address our screwups, whether it’s on the show or directly to the listener who contacted us.
12. IHIBILI has a very casual, easy to follow flow. The episodes are conversational, yet very detailed and filled with specific examples. What does the lead up to recording day look like, in terms of preparation and streamlining discussion points?
Jocelyn: It really depends on what we’re covering in that week’s episode. As I mentioned earlier, we rewatch everything we discuss on the podcast. If it’s a movie, that’ll take a few hours — if it’s a TV show, it could take weeks or months. We do supplementary research, as well, to pull together information and bolster our arguments, and finally, we also need to put together ideas to discuss in our weekly,“What We’re Loving And Hating” section. It’s work, but fortunately, it’s very fun work.
Kat: If we want to do a TV show, we definitely bring it up in conversation first and then put it on the schedule for far in the future to give ourselves enough time to watch it. When it’s a movie, we generally watch it (usually separately) the week before recording, take some notes, and then do research about the production.
13. To put a number on it: How many hours does it take to complete one episode?
Jocelyn: Depending on the show, anywhere between five and 200 (I’m roughly estimating that from the number of Supernatural episodes we had to watch!).
Kat: Oh, yeah, I think the “Supernatural” episode made us realize that our episodes about TV shows could not nearly be as frequent as we thought they could be, and that we had to be a lot more selective. But for a film, usually about two-hours to watch the movie, half-an-hour to an hour of research and then another hour to 90-minutes to record.
14. What have you found to be the most effective way to advertise new content?
Jocelyn: Twitter, Facebook, purchasing ad space, guesting on other shows and especially word of mouth. That’s my favourite, as it feels nice to know that people have been recommending our shows to others.
Kat: We’ve bought two ads on other podcasts — one on Extra Hot Great, which gave us a really good boost, and then another one on My Brother, My Brother, and Me. We were one of the last business jumbotrons they did before they stopped doing those altogether, so that was lucky. Usually, when people hear us or hear about us on other podcasts, that’s when we see a jump in listenership.
15. You’ve surpassed the 100-episode mark. What about your curating and production processes have changed since you started with IHIBILI?
Jocelyn: Things are pretty much consistent — though, I would say that Kat is excellent about approaching higher profile guests and organizing getting them on the show! Kat is an organizational genius, in general, and I am very, very grateful to her for everything she does.
Kat: I’m sure my parents would be SHOCKED to hear anyone describe me as an organizational genius, but I will take it. While I’m really good at creating spreadsheets and keeping track of scheduling, Jocelyn is very good at responding to listeners when I have no idea what to say. I do definitely reply to listeners sometimes, but Jocelyn has a gift for wording things perfectly.
16. Podcasts are a hot topic. How do you ensure IHIBILI stays relevant and continues to appeal to new listeners?
Jocelyn: My time in comedy has taught me that there are no new ideas under the sun, and the only way to truly appeal to an audience is to be truthful to yourself and to your creative vision. I think we’re mostly interested in pursuing our voice and our vision, and I think that appeals to others! I also think we’re at a point in time where people are tired of flippancy. There has been a trend towards parody, self-awareness and snide comedy, and I think that feels hollow and unsatisfying for many people — the pendulum seems to be moving towards “authenticity,” such as it is. Fortunately, I think our show demands sincerity. We have to have genuine and STRONG opinions, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to talk about the movies and TV shows we do! I think people connect to our dorky, sincere, unbridled and BIG emotions about whatever we’re discussing.
Kat: I don’t think I would like doing a podcast where I had to hate on a movie or TV show all the time — not just because there are many very excellent and funny podcasts that already do that, (How Did This Get Made? and We Hate Movies are two of my favourites), but I have always enjoyed gushing about the pop culture I love, even when I know it’s flawed. I feel really grateful and lucky to have found a podcast partner in Jocelyn, because I think we both bring so many similarities and differences to IHIBILI and it makes for a great show.
17. Are there any words of wisdom you might share with up and coming podcast producers and hosts?
Jocelyn: GET GOOD SOUND DESIGN! Nothing will sink your podcast faster than if it sounds like it’s recorded in a tin can.
Kat: I cannot emphasize Jocelyn’s point enough. Sound design matters. We’re really lucky that our friends had already created their own studio and let us rent their equipment and expertise, but if we hadn’t done that and had just tried to do IHIBILI with whatever cheap microphone we had lying around, I don’t think our show would have attracted nearly as many listeners. It’s worth it to get good microphones and noise cancelling equipment. Also, even though we don’t do a ton of editing to our episodes, it’s valuable to go through and try to tighten up the audio where you can — or even find someone to be a second set of ears to tell you what you should keep and what you should cut.
Jocelyn: And do what interests you, but also do what’s sustainable. In a perfect world, you’re going to be recording lots and lots of episodes, so you need to find something that’s interesting for you to do possibly hundreds of times, and be sure that it’s work you’re willing to take on. For example, I LOVE IHIBILI, but it’s still a lot of work to watch and rewatch tons and tons of content on top of our busy schedules. But we love movies and TV, so ultimately, it’s all worthwhile! As a different example, you might think it’s a great idea to do a podcast where you re-read all of Agatha Christie’s books, but if you don’t actually love Agatha Christie or have time to read all those books, you’ve taken on way more than you can chew. It sounds really obvious, but a lot of people have told me about their podcasts and it’s been immediately clear to me that they’re not going to be able to sustain interest in doing that 10 times, let alone indefinitely.
Kat: And if your idea for a podcast involves having a different guest on every week, think about if you really want to hustle for guests constantly. We have occasional guests when we want to, so we don’t have any pressure to do that, but I know that I would hate having to find different people to be on for every single episode.
18. IHIBILI isn’t the only project you’re working on. What other exciting opportunities does 2019 have in store for you?
Jocelyn: I am hard at work on some exciting projects that I will hopefully be able to talk about at a later date!
Kat: I’m a senior writer for BuzzFeed, so I make all of those lists and quizzes that you do when you’re goofing off at work. I’m really lucky to have a job I love, working with people I adore.
19. How do you manage your time and energy, while tackling these important ventures and creative activities?
Jocelyn: I have to be pretty disciplined with how I manage my time. Schedules, day planners, etc. I also tend to be pretty strict with myself in getting sleep, because I’m an emotional zombie who weeps at the drop of a hat if I don’t. In terms of managing a bunch of different projects, you just have to devote a little bit of time every day to each one, moving whichever is currently the highest priority to the top of the queue. I also really love to be extremely busy, so whenever I’m not working on something, I’m panicking about not being extremely busy. It’s a fun life!
Kat: Jocelyn is such a hard worker that I’m always in awe of how much she has on her plate, and that she actually gets it all done. I am a perpetual, “good at ideas, bad at execution,” person, which is why I’m so happy that IHIBILI has been as successful as it has been. I’m newly into bullet journaling (I know, I know) to try to keep myself focused and productive, but I also know I have to keep things as simple and pressure-less as possible, or else I’ll burn out quickly. I don’t have anything in my journal other than a monthly calendar, a habit tracker and a daily to-do list.
20. Everyone has a different creative process, each with many highs and lows. How would you describe yours?
Jocelyn: I think about the BoJack Horseman quote a lot: “You gotta do it every day! That’s the hard part.” As you move into having a creative career, you learn that the romantic notion that you’re going to sit down and dash out a perfect manuscript everyone will immediately love and you’ll never have to touch again is total bullshit. Writing is like sculpting, except you’re building something out of nothing — you have to do a little bit every day, and it feels awkward and difficult and not at ALL what you’d imagined it would look like or FEEL like to be a writer — and then gradually, you mold and shape that piece into what you want it to be. You just have to push through the awkwardness and fear that it’s never gonna turn out.
Kat: I’m a perfectionist, but not the Type A kind that pop culture often depicts — I’m more of the, “if it’s not going to be perfect and I’m not going to be the best, then I’m not going to bother,” kind of perfectionist. That means that I have a lot of projects I’ve started but ultimately gave up on because perfection wasn’t sustainable for me. It’s only within the last year or so that I’ve been working on that unhelpful mindset. I’m trying to change my mindset to, “hey, you did something, you made progress and it’s not the best, but it’s better than quitting.” Let me tell you, it’s hard to quiet the, “if you’re not the best, you might as well quit,” voice when it’s been the one running the show for 35-years.
21. When you experience lows in the process, what steps do you take to recharge and refocus?
Jocelyn: It’s easy to burn out when you are constantly generating content — after a while, if all you’re doing is writing, it starts to feel like you’re taking pictures of camera. Stepping away from the work is important — you need time to rest and time away so you can gain a new perspective on what you’re doing. I’m a big believer in filling the well by reading, cooking, playing video games, walking — whatever it takes to fill your brain with new things that inspire and excite you. Also, for whatever reason, every good idea I’ve ever had has come to me in the bath. Take that for what you will.
Kat: Not to be the, “therapy!!!” person, but…for real, therapy changed my life. I’m an incredibly anxious person, and through therapy, I was able to figure out ways to combat my unhelpful thought processes when I start spiralling, and how to work towards my goals without burning myself out. Instead of thinking of all the things I have to do, I just focus on the things I have to do today. I don’t have a to-do list, I have a today list.
22. As writers, do you have any go-to columns and/or newsletters by folks within your network that keep you comedically informed?
Jocelyn: My partner is a comedian so I guess I go to him! Jon Blair (you can find him on Twitter at @okjonblair).
I have many newsletters that I love. The BuzzFeed News newsletter is written by my colleague Elamin Abdelmahmoud and it’s just excellent, and can be subscribed to at https://www.buzzfeed.com/newsletters.
My friend Anne T. Donahue, the author of a great book of essays titled Nobody Cares and the host of podcast Nobody Cares (except for me), has a newsletter called That’s What She Said and I love receiving it in my inbox — you can subscribe at https://tinyletter.com/annetdonahue.
And basically I’m addicted to other people’s drama, so if there’s an advice column online, I probably read it, and there are too many to mention.
23. Do you have anything else to add?
Jocelyn: Thanks for interviewing us!
Kat: This was fun!
Thank you, Jocelyn and Kat, for answering our questions and for sharing your hilariously insightful pop culture perspectives with us.
One of my favourite aspects of IHIBILI is that I don’t have to listen to episodes in a consecutive order and that I’ve learned to think about some of my favourite/least favourite movies and TV shows in a new way, with a satirical and critical mind — something of which I need to do more!
Readers, IHIBILI is entirely free of charge to listeners and there are a number of ways you can support Jocelyn, Kat and the podcast team. If you haven’t already done so, log onto iTunes, Apple Podcasts or your preferred podcast provider and rate, review and subscribe.
Follow IHIBILI on Twitter (@hatelovepodcast), join their Facebook page (facebook.com/ihibili) or visit their website (hatelovepodcast.com). IHIBILI also has a Patreon (patreon.com/ihibili), where listeners can access additional perks if they choose to contribute financially. For example, Kat and Jocelyn produce a semi-monthly newsletter, Emails From F**kville Island, and a Patreon-only podcast Dispatches from F**kville Island, both of which you can get access to by giving to the podcast. It’s important to note that monetary contributions are put towards advancements in the design and quality of IHIBILI.
The feature photo and IHIBILI logo are by Cubbyhole Studio.