Podcast of the week: Secret Dinosaur Cult

This comedy chat show is ostensibly about dinosaurs but is more about human behaviour

Sofie Hagen and Jodie Mitchell

Sofie Hagen and Jodie Mitchell

 

Not only is Secret Dinosaur Club funny, it’s atmospheric and intimate and genuinely unusual. Comics Sofie Hagen and Jodie Mitchell host a chat show that is ostensibly about dinosaurs but also not at all about dinosaurs. It’s about secrets, and how we are in the world – using dinosaur behaviour as a metaphor for human behaviour.

This first episode is recorded in front of a live audience. There’s a scrappy quality to it that works: it’s more textured than a highly produced, muted studio chat. Hagan and Mitchell have a lovely chemistry that never feels in-jokey or cliquey; neither ever forgets that they’re there as storytellers and comedians, not just to entertain each other. This is rare in the two-people-who-know-each-other-talking-to-each-other format. They’re very funny, not in a way that feels forced but in the dry, knowing way that only comes from handling darkness with levity.

The two opening chat segments deal with our hosts telling secrets to the audience and asking for forgiveness, and then explaining briefly how they handled their absent father issues this week. The language they use and their storytelling style makes potentially bleak stories incredibly funny and human – listening gives the feel of being in a tiny intimate bar listening to two brilliant people being a bit personal but not at anybody’s expense. There’s a generosity to the humour. When they get to the dinosaur segment, listeners will already be comfortable with them and ready to take a journey that is a little bit about extinct reptiles and a lot about human nature.

This episode made me laugh aloud on public transport. Secret Dinosaur Cult is feminist, queer and extremely refreshing. In an audio landscape governed by men talking to their friends about their interests under the guise of comedy, Secret Dinosaur Cult is punk rock, a breath of fresh air.

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