Who doesn’t love a little bit of gossip? Gossip gets such a bad rap when in reality, it’s a pillar of the human experience. We all want to hear who said what to who, who is secretly cheating on who, what Patricia the nosey neighbor said in the most recent HOA meeting, what our best friend’s boyfriend has done this time, etc. And Kelsey McKinney gets that which is why she created “Normal Gossip.”
“Normal Gossip” wrapped up its first season of just eight episodes in February of 2022, and we quite literally cannot wait until it comes back. Episodes get longer throughout the season, the first episodes starting at just 30 minutes while the final episodes are thankfully a full 60 minutes. Episodes are so light and easy to listen to (no one has any stakes in these gossipy tales!), giving us time to chuckle and gasp along to these anonymous stories.
“Normal Gossip” delivers the juiciest, weirdest, most infuriating, banal stories straight to our earholes, letting that that sweet, sweet “gossip-tonin” flow through our central nervous systems. Kelsey discusses reader-submitted stories with a slew of hilarious guests, talking about what they would’ve done in the situation and getting fully engrossed in the lives of total strangers. She’s had on guests like Sam Sanders, Laci Mosley, Rachelle Hampton, and more to indulge in these tales with.
Host Kelsey McKinney came up with the idea for “Normal Gossip” while in the depths of pandemic isolation when there was nothing talk about with her friends that wasn’t related to the depressing state of the world. She just wanted some “Normal Gossip” to chat with her friends about.
But what is gossip?
Each episode begins with Kelsey and friends giving fascinating insights on what gossip truly is. Kelsey’s first guest, author Virgie Tovar, says that gossip is essentially an underground information network that’s used to destabilize oppressive systems (look at cults, they thrive on people not speaking about what’s happening in the group) and is especially crucial for marginalized people. It’s a way for people to talk about who is not safe, like in the years before #MeToo when there were very few legal pathways for women to speak out about people like Harvey Weinstein.
Maybe this seems too serious or heavy, because this podcast is certainly neither of those things, but these conversations are seriously intriguing. Sam Sanders of “It’s Been A Minute” says to Kelsey, “gossip is next to Bible” when asked about his relationship with gossip.
We digress. After that, every episode of “Normal Gossip” dives into the epic retelling of an anonymous morsel of gossip from the real world. We guess we can share an example of this delightful gossip with you to demonstrate. Besides, gossip is best heard from and told to a third party source who has absolutely no stake in the drama.
Lexi, Pancake, and the messiest graduate students of all time
Lexi, who just wants to be well-liked amongst the cool-kid group in her doctorate program, just can’t seem to get in to the group. While she manages to befriend David, the hot boyfriend of the queen bee of the friend group, Alesha, he also doesn’t fully pull her into the group. Then one day, Alesha asks Lexi if she’d like to go camping with her and her friends over Labor Day. David, Lexi’s only real friend in the group, won’t be there though. Lexi agrees, but one of those nights, she stays back from the nighttime group hike to take care of Alesha’s dog, Pancake.
Lexi thought that the whole group went hiking. When Pancake starts whining incessantly in the tent, she suddenly hears Alesha’s voice go, “Pancake, shh!” Lexi pokes her ear out of the tent in curiosity and hears what are most definitely sex sounds coming from a nearby tent. Alesha was hooking up with a man who was not her boyfriend.
The story truly continues to spiral out of control from there, with Lexi somehow managing to hold her tongue at every turn. Luckily, David eventually learns of Alesha’s infidelity from someone else in the friend group, and the two split. Kelsey and Virgie cackle in delight over this juicy morsel of gossip, pondering what they would have done if they were Lexi.
This is truly the basis of the whole show. Just the beautiful, regular gossip that we all missed so dearly in quarantine. Although, those online relationships certainly churned out some juicy gossip for us to indulge in. Be sure to check out “Normal Gossip;” not only is it beyond delightful, but we actually learned a lot more about gossip than we had planned.