I always know that a story is delicious, just baked with drama and intrigue and sprinkled with silliness, when I receive a three-minute-long voice memo with no additional information. I can see the little mountains made of audio spikes in the preview, the teasing promise of a scream or a cackle. I will leave wherever I am to listen to one of these. I’ve bolted into bathrooms at fancy events, held my phone right against my ear before an opening band, pressed my temple against someone else’s to hear a message that wasn’t even sent to me. This is because I love a good story, but it’s also because there is a tone that people use—a kind of rapid speak, like the words just can’t get out of their mouths fast enough, a voice that is both a scream and a whisper—that makes my little lizard brain dance. It’s the intimacy of collusion with no objective, a bond over nothing but drama. It’s gossip.
I have long been an insufferable gossip, because I’m nosy and I love other people’s drama. There have been so many miserable things about the last two years of pandemic and so many joys I didn’t realize I would miss. I’ve missed gossiping. I’ve missed leaning across the corner of a bar with a friend and asking too many follow-up questions at a party. Mostly, I’ve missed the fizziness that builds up inside of you when you get good (I mean really good) gossip, the way you feel like if you can’t tell someone else everything you know plus one or two embellishments, you’ll explode.
And that is why, despite saying for years that there are too many podcasts and making fun of “podcast bros,” I am becoming one.
The podcast is called Normal Gossip, and it will bring you one marvelous gossip yarn each week. Hopefully, it will feel like sitting in public, shushing your friend so that you can both eavesdrop on whatever the people two tables over are screaming about. The stories are all anonymized, sent in by listeners, and messy as hell. Here, listen to this great teaser we made for you:
I have worked very hard with our producer, Alex Sujong Laughlin, to find guests you’ll love to come on each episode, and the stories that will be good enough you’ll want to relay them to your friends in a voice memo.
And if you do have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is firstname.lastname@example.org or phone it in to 2-6-7-9-GOSSIP.