Interview: Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean on 10 Years of the ALL KILLA NO FILLA Podcast

The tour kicks off at Glasgow's Kings Theatre on 30 March

By: Feb. 15, 2024
Interview: Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean on 10 Years of the ALL KILLA NO FILLA Podcast
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BroadwayWorld caught up with comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean to chat about their upcoming tour and celebrating ten years of the All Killa No Filla podcast.

How did the podcast come about?
Rachel: Well obviously we are standup comedians and we used to live across the road from each other in Manchester. At that sort of time, you wouldn't really get two women on the same comedy bill and it was a sort of sexist environment. It's better now than it was ten years ago.

Kiri: We cured sexism actually.

Rachel: We invented the podcast and stopped sexism. People kept saying to Kiri and I "oh you two are into the same things" as we both had material on serial killers. We're into the same stuff like taxidermy, ghosts and anything weird.

Kiri: Men with zero prospects.

Rachel: People kept saying we should meet and that just makes me go, "I'm never going to meet this person in my life and I don't want to now". Then Kiri came to a party at my house where I had to be put to bed at 10 o'clock because I was drunk and obnoxious. 

Kiri: I remember us having a conversation a decade ago going "shall we even start a podcast? It feels like everyone has a podcast". I feel like we were late to it. There were a couple of massive ones like Richard Herring, Peacock and Gamble and it felt like quite a male space yet again. We recorded an episode and I think there was something wrong with the sound which is good because I remember it being really rubbish. We redid it and then relaunched on Halloween and we've not looked back.

What's the research process and how do you choose your subject for each episode?
Rachel: We either go off a listener suggestion or I'll read a terrible 99p book on Amazon on my Kindle because that's where you find stuff you've never heard of before. We'll go away because we individually do some research and then we go through early life and first murder. Then we get together and go over it from there. 

Kiri: When it comes to picking a subject it depends what we're picking them for. We tend to just stick to serial killers on the podcast except when we do a Halloween or Christmas special when we might do a murderer or a spree killer. Sometimes its based on where we're at, I recently said "I just fancy a woman" and we've just recorded one with an arsonist which we haven't done before. Sometimes it'll come off the back of a case where its horrific attacks against children and we don't want anything like that so we'll go for what we call a palette cleanser. This is awful, I'm giving away all our secrets. We will go for what Rachel refers to as a historical romp. Something from hundreds of years ago where everyone's dead, its kind of cartoonish and not to be believed and mixed in with witchcraft. It feels not too recent.

We learned from our first episode on Jack the Ripper that doing a case where you don't know who the perpetrator is is probably the least interesting thing. We aren't in it for the body count or what they did to them. We're interested in the journey of how they got to there and their childhood and early environment. With Jack the Ripper you don't know anything about their childhood and they certainly never came to justice. It's not what we're into, reading out a list of wounds on a woman.

Do you know who you're doing for the live show and will it be the same for every date?
Kiri: It will be the same for every date and I think we have decided who we are doing. It is a murder, it's a true crime case and it's fascinating. 

Are there any live shows you're particularly excited about?
Rachel: Glasgow

Kiri: Glasgow. It sounds like we're just saying that because you have a beautiful Scottish accent. But if you look at over the years people who weren't Scottish acts that recorded their comedy specials in the Glasgow Stand. Glasgow audiences are known for being absolutely out of the gate up for it. They're so fun, they've got this dark sense of humour which is perfect for what we're doing and we're opening in this beautiful massive venue. 

Rachel: And they can sniff bullshit a mile off. If you're trying too hard or trying to ingratiate yourself towards them or be too clever they're just like "nah". 

Kiri: It's the Kings Theatre which is gorgeous. Any of these places where we're getting to do all these massive old big theatres. We've got a date in Manchester and they initially talk you through "we're only opening up the bottom bit" but they keep opening layers in Manchester. It's going to be epic. The same as the amazing Hackney Empire in London. These people have known us for ten years, they know everything about our lives. It's like walking into a room full of mates. There's something really special about hanging out with people who know you so well. 

Have you found a new audience since you started putting episodes on YouTube?
Kiri: I didn't think we would but a lot of other podcasts do a visual medium so we thought we'd see what happened. It makes it easier to share bits when you have a visual. People are saying they're enjoying a new way to consume it and listen while they're doing meal prep or DIY. I love that because when I bought my house I sanded the whole of the bottom floor of my house to the Peacock and Gamble podcast and I felt like I had mates with me the whole time. We do feel a massive connection to our audience and I'm always worried about new audiences. I just want to shut the door and keep our audience because they're perfect and I don't want any weirdos in. 

Rachel: I don't like watching podcasts at all but the thing that does annoy me is when I'm listening to a podcast and I need to know what a person or place looks like and I need to google image it. So we can show pictures.

Why do you think some people think this massive interest in true crime is a new thing?
Kiri: Because they're men and they're only just paying attention to what women are interested in. 

Rachel: I remember being about 11 and being told most consumers of true crime are women. There's so much of it and so many ways to engage with it. There are documentaries, podcasts, movies and now there's stuff online there are more groups to engage with if you want to do that. I think it feels like it's bigger whereas historically there wasn't that much out there.

Kiri: I've got a theory that when you got a new kind of media that media finds how to make it about true crime. If you look at the Gaby Petito case that played out on TikTok and so did Amber Heard and Johnny Depp's trial. All the stuff that's on Netflix as well. The printed press found out that murder was what sold newspapers. The media and true crime are intrinsically linked but the media thinks its too good for it and is like, what a mystery that the consumers like this stuff! There's a reason they're churning it out. With podcasts when everyone was feeling their way in the dark the first thing to make it big was true crime.

Why do you think All Killa is still going so strong after ten years? 
Rachel: We've evolved as people during it so you've got the evolution of people and a friendship. It's the background soap opera of us two and the way we talk to each other, how women talk to each other and that's quite refreshing. It's not like we've been put together by a production company. I think the tone is right, we are respectful and we don't try and sell stuff all the time. I feel its as much theirs as it is ours. The listeners are very involved with it. It's a very personal thing for people and we get messages saying it helped them through a hard time or they've introduced someone else to it. I think its because we are the way we are.

Kiri: I think you nailed it when you said Glasgow can smell bullshit. I think we are authentic and its an actual friendship. We talk to each other outside of the podcast and we speak to each other every day. It's not a manufactured work thing and its also not a thing that we're keeping up for the podcast. We do this because we like each other and we want to keep doing it. We're very protective over legends and we've fought back with some things like merch and with producers over pricing. We don't want our listeners to feel like cash cows.

Rachel: We don't have adverts on the podcast and there's a Patreon if people want to donate but we've never done that thing of bonus episodes if you donate. It's for everybody and we don't want to create an environment where people miss out. 

Kiri: We didn't want to paywall everything. I also think people are tuning in every episode to see what Rachel's got really aggrieved about now. Sometimes she'll message me and be like "I'll save this for the podcast".

There's over 100 episodes, do you ever get fed up of a throwaway comment being brought up for years?
Rachel: Yeah, dry bumming mate. Sick of it. 
No, I do find it quite funny though someone did shout it at me in the street once and I was with my mum. 

Kiri: We did an episode years ago about Fred and Rose West and we have quite a lot of listeners in America and Australia and I just said "do they have patios in America?' and once a month I get a message telling me they have patios in America. 

Is there anything that hasn't aged well if anyone was to go back and listen from the start? 
Kiri: Oh I'm sure. I definitely would have said prostitute ten years ago but I think the wisdom around then was that was the most respectful term you could use. Language wise we will move as things change. 

Rachel: Do you know what hasn't aged well? My relationship choices. Anyone listening to that back catalogue- Jesus Christ.

Kiri: I'm super aware now because my partner's father listens and I don't want him going back and listening to episodes of when we first got together. Christmas is awkward enough as it is. He texted my partner again last night because I'd made a remark about if he even listens and he said, "tell her I do listen and I'm compiling a dossier of evidence". 

What are you most proud of from the podcast?
Kiri: For me its the audience. The community of the Legends, there's a Facebook page and they meet up for drinks before the shows. Some of the things they've done for each other, they've helped them get jobs and rewrite CVs and helped get diagnoses for ADHD and autism. 

Rachel: It's a cult basically.

Kiri: A nice cult.

Rachel: There's loads of spin-off groups like the baking legends and the crocheting legends. We're not involved in any of it so we're very much like, that's your thing and you do you.

Kiri: In the early days one of the mods asked if we wanted to be in it and we said no that's your space. There might be an honest conversation going oh I've gone off it. We don't need to see that and they need their own space to be able to critique things. From our side its a really respectful line that we have drawn to give them their space to consume the content.

Rachel: On a personal level I think doing the podcast for ten years has made me more confident as a person and as a performer. I am a fundamentally shy person but I think starting the podcast has given me more confidence and improved my standup. I don't know if you've been the same Kiri but I can find out what people find funny and its helped me with that. That was a bit too honest there. I think I'm going to be sick.

Kiri: I can feel the bile rising.

The All Killa No Filla 2024 tour kicks off in Glasgow on 30 March. All dates can be found here.

Photo credit: Drew Forsyth