“We barely get any time on this planet. Do not spend it pleasing other people. Fuck politeness. Live life exactly how you want to live it so you can love the life you make for yourself.”
TITLE & AUTHOR: Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff, Georgia Hardstark
GENRE: Memoir, Humor, True Crime, Nonfiction
PUBLISHED : May 28th 2019, by Forge Books
MY RATING: 5/5
The highly anticipated first book by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the voices behind the #1 hit podcast My Favorite Murder!
Sharing never-before-heard stories ranging from their struggles with depression, eating disorders, and addiction, Karen and Georgia irreverently recount their biggest mistakes and deepest fears, reflecting on the formative life events that shaped them into two of the most followed voices in the nation.
In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy and unapologetic frankness.
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered is a very particular book which you’ve probably never heard of if you’re not a listener of the My Favorite Murder podcast. BUT! If you’re even slightly interested in true crime, memoirs, funny stories or therapy and anxiety advice, then stay awhile and listen! I might even convince you to start listening to MFM, who knows. 😉
So, comedy and true crime? Weird combination, right? I though so too, until a couple of months, when I started listening to My Favorite Murder. It’s a true crime podcast hosted by two women – Karen Kilgariff, who’s a comedian, and Georgia Hardstark, who’s known for her cooking shows, and is hilarious. Both of them are in show business, and have no real affiliation with crime stuff, except they’re both true crime junkies, like me. So, in 2016, they decided to start a podcast, in which they cover both known, and lesser known cases of murder, missing persons, serial killers, etc.
If you’re a true crime fan, like me, you know reading or listening to these cases can be creepy as fuck, especially at night, but somehow, we always research this stuff at night, am I right? So, the humor in MFM pretty much removes that fear! I think it’s a great way to tell these freaky stories, and it’s not that they’re introducing a dose of humor specifically to lessen the terror, it’s just the way they normally talk. They are good friends, so they discuss all kinds of things from their life, and then each of them tells a crime story, and with each friendship comes an inside joke or five. And in this friendship, you, the listener, are the third friend.
To clarify – they don’t make fun of the victims, ever. They are very respectful, both towards victims and the listeners of MFM, but when it comes to killers and other nutjobs, they’re unrestrained. There’s a lot of jokes, a lot of cursing, a lot of accent attempts by Karen, and Georgia’s cat, Elvis, meows at the end of every episode. It’s hilarious. So, if you’re already a listener, you’ll know the book I’m about to talk about, and if you’re not, I’m hoping I convinced you to listen to a couple of episodes? Because if you don’t, I don’t think you should read this book, because you won’t get some stuff, that’s all. For example – all chapters are named after their podcast catchphrases, like “You’re in a cult, call your dad”, “Sweet baby angel”, “Fuck politeness” etc. On to the review!
Now, knowing what the podcast is about, you know what the book is about, right? No. It’s not exactly about true crime, it’s more of a joint memoir, filled with funny stories and close encounters with danger or even murder. They do mention a couple of cases from their podcast, and that’s perfectly entwined with their own stories. Karen and Georgia are great storytellers, and this book is amazingly funny and light. But it’s not just about the humor! Regular listeners will know, but both Karen and Georgia are just plain damaged people, like you and me. Anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol issues are a fairly common topic on MFM, and so it’s the case in the book. The girls convey some great tips and advice they’ve either gotten from their own therapists, or it’s just the stuff they’ve learned in life. They are definitely not professionals fit to give this kind of advice, but they are friends, or that’s the way I perceive them, and how couldn’t I? I’m listening their stories every single day.
I found myself in so many of their stories, even though we are worlds (Literal and metaphorical) and years apart, and I can honestly say I’ve found a few helpful tips, and of course it always helps to know you’re not alone in your shit. So I’d recommend this great book to anyone who loves real, scary and funny stories, and anyone struggling with the issues I mentioned, but you should listen to a couple of podcast episodes first, just to know what you’re getting into. I’ll list some bits and quotes I pulled from the book, so you can judge for yourselves if this is your thing or not.
“Fuck politeness. Fuck the way we were socialized. Fuck the expectation that we always put other people’s needs first.”
“It was the point in my life when I realized that dudes who talk about their “crazy ex-girlfriend” are full of shit. What they’re really talking about is someone they hurt and didn’t leave the way they found. These guys put their ex-girlfriends in a position that makes them do things so extreme and out of character that they seem crazy.”
“For girls, junior high is a daily dystopian nightmare of apocalyptic emotional warfare. Kill or be killed. Gossip or be gossiped about. Figure out some way to be popular or prepare to have your body roasted on a spit on the side of the road. This metaphor is not an exaggeration.”
“Why does everyone think whistling indicates relaxation? It’s literally one of the weirdest things you can do in public without breaking the law.”
“I’m not a shitty person, which really is the point of life in my eyes: “Don’t be a dick and do good things.” That’s my other motto. It has the word dick in it.”
Karen Kilgariff is an American writer, comedian, singer, author, actress, television producer, and podcast host. She began her career as a stand up comedian in the early 1990s and later became a television actress, most notably as a cast member on Mr. Show.Since 2016 she has co-hosted the true crime comedy podcast My Favorite Murder along with Georgia Hardstark.
Georgia Hardstark is an American television host and podcast personality. She is the co-host of the true crime – comedy podcast My Favorite Murder along with comedian Karen Kilgariff. In 2018, Hardstark and Kilgariff co-founded the Exactly Right podcast network. Hardstark’s credits include a Cooking Channel series co-starring Alie Ward, Drinks with Alie and Georgia, Unique Sweets, and the web series Classy Ladies with Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark. They also cast the travel series Tripping Out with Alie and Georgia and Food’s Greatest Hits.