Queens podcasters celebrate 15 years on the air
BY TAMMY SCILEPPI
If you’re a comedy nerd and a podcast
junkie, then you’re probably hooked on
Queens’ funniest dynamic duo, Keith
and The Girl (KATG), who have recorded
one of the longest-running podcasts in
history from their Astoria studio, since
launching back in 2005.
Having the most podcast episodes
ever released, Keith Malley and Chemda
became famous for their valuable contributions
to the popular movement, and
now, these podcast pioneers are celebrating
their 15th anniversary.
“Our show is important to us, and
that affects the listeners and guests,”
Malley explained. “We don’t have to book
popular guests on the show. We are not
forced into speaking about any subjects,
and we don’t have to watch our language
for anyone. So, anyone we have on the
show, every subject that comes up, and
all the conversations that arise, are because
we are genuinely interested in the
guest and the topics.”
Years later, the former lovers are still
dishing and laughing about a variety of
interesting topics, while sharing almost
every detail of their personal lives — no
matter how intimate or awkward — with
their growing audience, and loyal fans
just can’t get enough. And no topic is off
limits: from rocky relationships, sex and
abortion to comedy stuff, politics and the
news of the day.
Past guests include Marc Maron,
Doug Stanhope, Gilbert Gottfried,
Phoebe Robinson, Ilana Glazer, Adam
Conover, Franchesca Ramsey, Kevin
McDonald, Eugene Mirman, Tom Scharpling,
Hannibal Buress, Andrew W.K.
and many others. Recent comedians include
Kevin Allison, Ophira Eisenberg
and Shuli Egar.
QNS caught up with KATG, who
recently moved to a new studio in LIC,
to find out what makes them tick. One
thing is clear: Hilarity is an important
ingredient in their secret sauce. And
here’s a fun fact: Some of their groupies
have been getting KATG tattoos!
QNS: So, why did you decide to
Chemda: I didn’t decide. I said “no” to
Keith when he asked me to be his co-host.
He was already openly speaking about
his life in his un-official blog. He was at
ease with being open about taboo topics.
But once we started podcasting, sharing
my life became intoxicating. Speaking
about my life openly was such a change
from my secretive, old-school Middle
Eastern background. It was relieving.
QNS: Why has KATG made waves
in the world of podcasting?
Chemda: We love being the place that
people can share real stories that are told
with emotion, openness and humor. We
have been told that our audience, for example,
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learned more about the LGBTQIA
community through our guests and my
relationship with an ex who came out as
transgender on Keith and The Girl. When
I spoke openly about my football-sized tumor
and open-heart surgery from diagnosis
to recovery, people wrote in about
it, helping them go through their own
diagnoses and their family members’
illnesses. When we talk about why we
both have rocky relationships with our
families and that that’s OK; people said
it helped them see their family for who
they truly are, which helped them know
better how to interact with them.
Keith: And guests have mentioned
they got a bigger response after being on
our show than from their late-night set.
They seem to like the conversation in
our studio where we can laugh at serious
situations but also not shy away from serious
thoughts. Some have spoken about
their traumas for the first time in their
lives while on the show.
QNS: What does the show mean to
Chemda: Keith always says that if he
wins the lotto he wouldn’t do anything,
including podcasting. But every time
we take some time off, he accumulates
thoughts and stories that he seems to
NEED to release on the show. I think it’s
therapeutic for him. It certainly is for
me. Because of the show, we keep getting
a better sense of ourselves individually.
That’s always fun. Share some highlights
Keith: We love our New Yorkers, and
we love people with a full worldview that
are constantly evolving. We also love the
comedy veterans/legends when they get
open about topics no one else seems to
be talking about. Like when we talked to
(millionaire) Gilbert Gottfried about all
the ways he finds to get free food, drink,
anything. Is he more excited about the
item or that he’s getting away with something?
Spoiler: It’s so that he gets away
with something. And then we find out
why. That these established names are
willing to get personal and otherwise taboo
is literal music to our ears.
Listen to KATG on your favorite podcast
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