Catching Up With: Cavern of Secrets' Lauren Mitchell

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Every week, we catch up with a Canadian podcaster and their podcast to talk about what’s new, their favourite podcast moments, and what’s still to come. This week: Lauren Mitchell.

Lauren is a Toronto comedian and host of the podcast Cavern of Secrets. She previously co-hosted the Drake-centric Trust Issues podcast.   
 

Could you introduce your podcast Cavern of Secrets like you’re introducing it to historians in the future?

Hopefully, in the future, sexism won’t exist anymore. So hopefully, I would have to explain to a historian what sexism is.

First, I would say, “There was a time in the media landscape when people were making podcasts — which are these little radio broadcast shows — where they never talked to women about the art they made. Or if they did, it was always men asking them, ‘What is it like to be a woman and a comedian? What is it like to be a musician and a woman?’” All these things that are kind of useless if you actually want to understand someone’s process, and how someone actually is as a person, and why they made the things they make.

And so we had to start a podcast where we talk to women like normal people, to try and normalize that behaviour — which has been normalized so thoroughly in the future that you don’t even know what sexism is!

Was there a moment making Cavern of Secrets that really stuck with you, or a conversation that had a big impact on you?

I always think about an episode we did with Namugenyi [Kiwanuka], who used to be a Much Music VJ. She works for TVO, she’s on The Agenda. She’s an amazing woman, amazing journalist. And we just had this crazy conversation where like — I didn’t expect to go into it, but about the abusive relationship she had with her father. She just completely opened up to me. I still think about it a lot, and I always feel grateful that she was willing to go there with me and to  get really deep into some not-funny shit. It got very real, and it really didn’t feel like it was performative in any way.

I definitely want to hype that Vocal Fry might be bringing Cavern of Secrets back, if we hit our $3,113 goal on our Patreon!

Even if we weren’t going to possibly remount Cavern, I’d say give Vocal Fry all your money because Katie and Vicky just do the Lord’s work. So give them all your money, let them run Canadian media! Take away all the power from all those dumb old boys and fork it over to Katie and Vicky! Just one woman’s opinion…

Going forward, if and when Cavern comes back, is there anyone you’d be excited to talk to, or any cool new plans you’d want to put in place?

What I would want is to keep the heart of the podcast. The way we had it set up initially — I really like that and I think people really liked it as well.

My dream guest on the podcast is Carly Rae Jepsen, because I named the podcast after a Carly Rae Jepsen song — my favourite Carly Rae Jepsen song, which is “Warm Blood.” I contacted her publicist, and was like “Can Carly Rae Jepsen come on my podcast?” [laughs] “It’s reputable, please let her come on!” And at the time she just wasn’t doing any press so, I don’t know.

Carly, if you’re out there...call me, girl!

If you were exiled to a deserted island and could only bring three podcasts, which would you bring?

Probably just because I find it very soothing, and there are endless episodes of it, and it would just be a good balm in the background, This American Life. I would also want to take Chelsea Peretti’s podcast, Call Chelsea Peretti. It’s a live call-in podcast where she just interacts with people in the most insane way. It literally has made me cry laughing on public transit. And then the third one, hmm… it might have to be another comedy podcast, because that’s where I started out. There was this podcast for a couple of years called The Champs. It was Neal Brennan (who’s kind of a piece of shit), Moshe Kasher, and for a while this guy called DJ Douggpound, and they only interviewed people of colour. They had realized they were listening to podcasts and black comedians were never on them. So that podcast introduced me to a tonne of comedians I hadn’t heard of before, and got me into comedy in a totally different way.

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When you look at Canadian podcasting, who’s missing?

Oh God. So many people!

I mean, I don’t actually think people are missing. I think it’s what people are listening to and what’s getting promoted — because there’s not a shortage of Indigenous people working and making content, or other women, or queer people. I think there’s a vast landscape of people making this kind of content, but it’s like, who gets the money? Who gets to promote stuff? Who gets access to all of this shit? To me, I think that’s what’s missing, is levelling the playing field in a lot of ways. Look at who you’re giving access to. Look at who you’re propping up. If that’s all cis, straight white people, you fucked up.

I don’t think there’s a shortage of people making amazing content. I think it’s the systems and the structures that we have in place that don’t allow those people access and [a] platform.  

-Elena Hudgins Lyle