What do Taylor Gill, Emily Keller, and Emily Volkmann have in common? Well, not only are they long-time best friends but, they also have one of the funniest podcasts around. Worst Friends Forever is a fun show that reminds me of a hysterical slumber party with lots and lots of alcohol. The three girls talk about everything from Gilmore Girls to the latest books they’ve read. And the best part? You can listen to it weekly every Thursday on iTunes and Stitcher. I recently spoke with the three ladies about the creation of the show, their friendship and more. Follow the girls on twitter at @WFFPodcast and on their website worstfriendsforeverpodcast.com
Tell everyone about your podcast?
Taylor Gill: It’s three super long-time best friends who drink and talk in-depth about one topic per episode. The topics vary widely with a general “pop culture” theme: new movies, TV shows, books, public figures, etc., but we also frequently delve into broader issues big or small that are currently of interest to us, such as modern love or cyber bullying or travel. It’s got a very strong feminist slant to it, as that’s something that’s very important to all of us, is very informal, and alternates between seriousness and extreme silliness many times within any given episode.
Emily Keller: Our podcast is basically the conversations we used to have at sleepovers and when we were out for girl’s nights. We each make a drink and then we sit down to talk about a different topic each week. A TV show we just watched, a movie we saw or even an article we read in the paper. Mostly it’s just a lot of fun.
Emily Volkmann: We’re three best friends who get drunk and talk about everything from pop culture to modern romance.
Whose idea was it to do the show?
Taylor: This is actually a pretty funny story. We all started listening to a podcast together (Gilmore Guys) and texting about it a lot. We soon started saying things like “Hey, we’re kind of funny like these guys,” and “If we just recorded our normal conversations they might actually make a great podcast.” It started off as a joke, but none of us knew if the others were actually serious or not, and finally one day someone admitted that they would really do this if the others would, and our podcast began! We spent a lot of time figuring out what the show would be about and drilling down the details, but it’s been a complete group effort the entire time, which I really love.
Emily K: I think it was me or the other Emily? We all started listening to the Gilmore Guys podcast and kind of thought “We could do this.” It started as kind of a joke that went on for a while before we started saying “How much are you guys kidding? Because I’m not kidding.” Next thing you know we were brainstorming ideas and titles in a google doc.
Emily V: I think it ended up being all of our ideas. It began as a joke after we started listening to other podcasts, and then at some point the idea actually caught on and we thought, “We can do this.”
Since you all are spread out all over, how do you find the time to do the show?
Taylor: Our podcast is something that is incredibly important to all of us, so we definitely make it a priority. It’s been particularly difficult recently as one of us moved to a new place to start a new job with irregular hours, but we just love the show so much that we can always find a few hours to talk with our best friends about super interesting topics!
Emily K: We all Skype together and use a call recorder. Usually, Emily gets the short straw of having to get a little drunk earlier in the day because she’s in the Pacific time zone while Taylor and I are in the East. (laughs).
Emily V: This can actually be tricky. I’m on the west coast and Emily and Taylor are out east. We typically record two episodes in each session, so we start talking around 4 PM my time and we go for hours (which is pretty great). I also recently moved and I didn’t have internet for a while, so before I left we banked some episodes. Since we don’t really do anything chronologically, we’re able to be flexible with our topics and release order.
How often do you tape shows or do you do them live?
Taylor: We try to record every other week and record two at once, so shows can come out weekly. Because we record over Skype with unreliable internet connections, editing is usually a necessity for us, so live shows would be pretty difficult. Whenever we are all in the same place, for example, home for the holidays, we try to record a lot of shows together to bank a few. The longest we went without recording was 24 days when one of us was moving to a new place, and it was actually really difficult for me to go that long without having an interesting, in-depth conversation with my best friends! (laughs). I’ve really gotten used to doing our shows and they’re a definite comfort I look forward to.
Emily K: We record two episodes at a time every two weeks, then release them weekly.
Emily V: We usually tape two shows every other week.
Favorite topics so far to talk to about?
Taylor: I’ve found that the most interesting and enjoyable topics we’ve discussed are the more serious ones. I really enjoy when we can reflect on society, such as our discussions about Monica Lewinsky and cyber bullying, the ups and downs of being a teenager, and our fears big and small. I’ve also enjoyed talking about TV shows or books that are funny and fun but also allow us to reflect in a meaningful way on society and life in general, such as Master of None, Grace and Frankie, and the books written by our favorite women Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling. My co-hosts are incredibly smart women and I love hearing their opinions on these super interesting, relevant, and thought-provoking topics.
Emily K: I love topics we don’t agree on. (laughs). We all get along and usually agree on things, but every once and awhile a debate flairs up. We did the Steve Jobs movie and Taylor and I got into it a little. Or one time we basically got into a fight about which was a better book: 1984 or Brave New World.
Emily V: I really like our serious episodes because I think we tend to have a really interesting dialogue. The three of us have such similar interests and vastly different personalities.
Least favorite things to talk about?
Taylor: Probably love and relationships. I really appreciate when our podcast gets serious and sincere, but it can be tough to discuss personal things that I’ve never mentioned to my best friends before, let alone the hundreds of strangers who are our listeners.
Emily K: I think anything where we just have too much to think about. We did an episode on stand-up comedy that could have gone on forever…I think the broader the topic, the more stressed I get.
Emily V: I don’t know yet… I’ve enjoyed everything so far. We’ve vetoed a few things, though.
If you ladies could have a dream guest on your show, who would you have and why?
Taylor: For me it would be Amy Poehler. She is so talented and passionate and funny. She represents everything that is important to me and everything I aspire to be, as well as everything we try to convey in our podcast.
Emily K: Mindy Kaling because she is my dream best friend. (laughs). She would totally be the worst with us. We’ve done two episodes where she was featured–one on each of her books.
Emily V: We’ll take who we can get! That said, we’re all obsessed with Amy Poehler.
You ladies on the Worst Friends Forever site, have lists! How often do those show up on the show?
Taylor: My interest in the List App was very short-lived, so I don’t spend time on it anymore Emily K. is really into it, though, and she will occasionally reference a list. The things we talk about on the podcast are so tied into the interests and passions of our daily lives that there is a huge amount of overlap between the podcast and all of our social media presences.
Emily K: We don’t really use lists on the show–except we have one episode where we listed/ranking every male character of Gilmore Girls.
Emily V: I think we’re done a couple lists on the show. We ranked the men of “Gilmore Girls” and we talked about our top 10 favorite “West Wing” episodes.
Any funny stories during taping?
Taylor: Oh my gosh, so many. One of my favorites is from an episode when we were talking about Jurassic World. I told a story from when all three of us went to Disney World together four years previously and went on the Jurassic Park ride. We basically had a really funny miscommunication, but they didn’t realize it, and they only found out about it as I was telling this story on the podcast four years later. They laughed so hard, it took us a while to recover. I love any time there is a really genuinely funny revelation that we capture on the podcast because that allows listeners to really get a glimpse into our friendship. Another funny story was when we were all together for the holidays, and at any given time, at least, one of us just could not stop laughing about the silliest things, because we were so happy to finally be together again…and also the drinking. It took about 20 minutes and at least, five different attempts to start the podcast until we got something we could actually release. A final funny story is when Emily K. revealed to Emily V. that they had tickets to the musical Hamilton, which they are both totally obsessed with. We had been lying to her for days just so we could announce it on the podcast, and her reaction was great. We keep almost all of the silliness and funniness in the podcast, as that’s the vibe we’re going for.
Emily K: Emily always has to pee. Taylor always interrupts the start of an episode. Also this (laughs).
Emily V: Sometimes the internet works against us and causes weird glitches. And sometimes we get too drunk… (laughs).
Any advice that you want to give for budding podcasters?
Taylor: Just go for it! We were so nervous starting out that no one would be interested in what we have to say, but if you just be yourself, you’ll have a great time no matter what, and you’ll find a listener base that really likes you! Other things that have helped us to be successful are a real commitment, prioritization, and regularity. We’re serious about our podcast, and I think people respond well to that.
Emily K: If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right! You definitely have to be your own number one fan. If you don’t enjoy it, there is no reason for anyone else will.
Emily V: I love interacting with listeners. There are a few people who listen to the podcast who have a lot of really helpful feedback and insights. But also, have fun! I love this podcast so much because it forces the three of us to talk regularly.