Peas in a podcast
Meet the Reno natives behind The Hate Journals
Alex Boykins is a big fan of podcasts. She often starts her day with one and ends it with another. She’s a fan of everything from NPR’s This American Life to comedian Nicole Byer’s podcast Why Won’t You Date Me?
“I love that I get excited in the morning to wake up and put a certain podcast on, and it gets me pumped for my day,” she said. “And then when I’m ready to, like, unwind and drink some wine and fuck some dishes up at the house, I put on something else I like.”
Having explored the wealth of podcasts available online, Boykins decided she was ready to go from listener to creator. In fact, she said she saw a need for a show like the one she’d been dreaming up.
“I felt like we just didn’t have this voice, this thing,” she said. “I felt like there weren’t any really positive women talking about just real shit.”
She imagined a podcast in which she and a few girlfriends would spend an hour having a few drinks and talking at length about the trials of everyday life.
“Isn’t that a true girlfriend conversation, right?” Boykins said. “Tell me you haven’t been in the summer sitting at a park bench or you were drinking cocktails, and you were cracking up laughing, and maybe your girlfriend came to you for some advice, and you go off on a 45-minute tangent, and then you come back to, ’Girlfriend, this is what you really need to do. … Girl, leave that man. Leave that man where you found him.’”
Not everyone has that kind of support system in friends, though, she said.
“We would love to all think that all women who are married in their 30s or even in their 20s and beyond … have their own girlfriends, but they don’t. There are women who are married or pregnant or have two or three kids, and they don’t have anyone to bitch and complain to. And it’s not about being negative. It’s about talking it through sometimes. … I believe that it’s a really fucked up double-sided sword that women are always expected to be everything. We’re expected to be positive mothers and children and go grocery shopping, go to work for 40 hours a week and never complain—just take it and lay the fuck down. And you know what? No! We deserve, for one hour a week, to sit down, drink some wine, get a little tipsy and talk some shit.”
With this idea, The Hate Journals was born.
The Hate Journals debuted in February. Since then, Boykins and her friends and cohosts Alisha (Perry) Garcia and Britt Kessner have released a new episode every week. For each episode, each host comes prepared with a “journal entry”—something that’s piqued her interest or frustrated her. The format and the show’s name were born with Garcia.
“It actually derived from real notebook that I had in college, my freshman year of college, and I would write in it,” Garcia said. “Some people fucking love school. I hated school deeply, so sometimes when I couldn’t focus, about 20 minutes in, I would look around at my classmates and write everything that I hated about them into my journal.”
Her first journal entry was about a young man who sat behind her in class and would tap and drum his fingers on the back of her chair.
“I wrote, ’I fucking hate tappy guy,’” she said. “I used to write these little snippets. … It’s really funny. It’s not as vicious as it sounds.”
The show isn’t that vicious either.
“We like to describe it as like a roast and toast,” Garcia said. “So it doesn’t have to be this innately mean, vicious thing for it to be absolutely a thing that I’ll hate and think it’s absolutely hilarious once I take a step back.”
The women have discussed topics ranging from makeup to shoveling driveways and getting pulled over to bumper stickers—always with irreverence, always with enough expletives to deserve a NSFW warning. Boykins, Garcia and Kessner are not politically correct. And they say there’s a reason for that.
“Because I do truly believe that a part of being a woman—until you figure out who you really truly are and until you love yourself—you spend a lot of time thinking you’re crazy,” Boykins said. “You spend a lot of time, I feel like, as a woman, second guessing a lot of the fucking things you do.”
For Garcia, The Hate Journals “really is just about saying how you feel as an absolutely individual person.”
“I’m married,” she said. “I love my man. I don’t resonate with everything he does. He is a very soft-spoken, nice guy. Some of the stuff I say makes him want to die. Like pretty much immediately, off the cuff, he will introvert into himself when I’m out at a bar feeling myself. He wants to die.”
Garcia’s husband might not be a comedian—or even all that outgoing—himself, but he is supportive of the show, she said. In fact, all three womens’ husbands are on board.
“We have really supportive husbands, and that’s a big one, too,” Boykins said. “We’re busy. We would not be able to do this if we did not have supportive spouses and family members.”
“I can say that for all of our husbands,” said Kessner. “He knows I’ve signed up for this. And if I have to sign up for it, mother fucker, you have to sign up for it.”
For now, signing up means time spent watching the kids and picking up household slack so the ladies can record and edit their weekly episodes. In the future, they’d like to see The Hate Journals grow and maybe even pick up a few local advertisers.
“You’ll hear us say not an ad, but we totally want it to be an ad,” Kessner said.
In the meantime, the women are happy to keep talking through the issues and talking a bit of shit—and they hope others will get something out of listening.
“Women of our age range—who are mothers or are just married or married and stepmothers and are full-time working or are not—they’ll all find a point to relate,” said Garcia.