“It’s not hero worship, as long as we’re talking about these people it keeps us from writing to them in prison.”
This is the opening disclaimer to each episode of the All Killa No Filla podcast. There are plenty of true crime podcasts worthy of your time, but few are as macabre, irreverent and hilarious. Motivated by a shared interest in serial killers, comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean started the podcast in 2014, exploring the life and crimes of a different murderer each episode. What the pair envisioned as a niche side-interest has grown over sixty instalments into a hugely popular endeavour. The format has also spread wings into the live arena; transferring neatly and raucously to sell-out tours in the UK and USA.
There are several reasons why All Killa No Filla makes such compelling listening; the first being the subject itself. It appeals to the ghoulish in all of us, and the morbid fascination serial killers exert on the public. Over the last four years the likes of Harold Shipman, Fred and Rose West, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer have been discussed in suitably forensic detail. Each case is extremely well-researched, especially for those such as the Wests which are covered over several episodes. Similarities and patterns in behaviours and psychologies between these individuals are noted and compared, as well as common failures and prejudices displayed by the authorities in charge of the investigations; of which there are many. The hosts also crucially try and put the victims front-and-centre; seeking to get a sense of the people they were, and ensuring they’re not dismissed as statistics.
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Other reasons for the success of the podcast are the hosts themselves. Fairburn and Pritchard-McLean, as well as being accomplished comedians, are passionate and knowledgeable hosts that manage to ably strike the delicate balance between humour and the seriousness of the subject. It’s evident the two are best friends, and they frequently head off down uproarious tangents relating to their personal lives or scurrilous and tantalising anecdotes about others in the business. The humour is grounded, candid and often filthy, with numerous running gags, including ‘serial-killer bingo’, and the now infamous ‘dry-bumming’ saga.
All Killa No Filla is a show that will whet the appetite of anyone with an interest in comedy or true crime. For those who tick both boxes its manna from the podcast gods, and its popularity suggests that demographic is far larger than one might expect.