Let's Get Weird

unlikely hosts excel with podcast about strange topics

Marie Anthony, photos by Andrea Paulseth

MYSTERIOUS MICS. Chippewa Vallians Eric Johnson and Jodie Arnold have recorded over 30 episodes of their Tell Me Something Weird podcast.
MYSTERIOUS MICS. Chippewa Vallians Eric Johnson and Jodie Arnold have recorded over 30 episodes of their Tell Me Something Weird podcast.

I used to think I was weird. Then, I met Eric Johnson and Jodie Arnold. Five minutes into our conversation, I found myself feeling very “Classic Vanilla” to their “Urban Bourbon” sundae. And I’ll be completely honest with you all – moments after they left my home – I found my brain in complete shambles. I have never been so oddly, contentedly overwhelmed after meeting two people.

“We’re like the Spinal Tap of podcasts. We’re popular everywhere else; but when it comes to our own city, no one knows who we are.” – Jodie Arnold, co-host, Tell Me Something Weird podcast

For those of you who may not yet know Jodie and Eric, they’re hosts of an Eau Claire-based podcast called Tell Me Something Weird, which was formerly known as Doomsday Murder Cult (DMC). While their podcast is still fairly new (they recently posted their 30th show), their history goes back at least 10 years. The two chuckled when they admitted to first meeting through the popular dating site match.com. Neither was each other’s type, but something drew them together, and they found themselves doing the dating thing … but not for long. Six months into the relationship, Jodie broke things off. “I’m not an emotional guy,” Eric confessed, “but she was the first and only person who’s ever broken my heart.”

Years later, Eric found Jodie’s name on the list of followers for his first podcast and – considering it was what the two called “a total ‘dudecast’ ” – her name was one of the last things Eric wanted to find. As Jodie listened to Eric talk about the gaming world, she remembered thinking that Eric himself was good but that he needed to pursue something different, something that reached a wider range of people. “I thought it would be fun for us to do a show together,” Jodie said.

The two found themselves together once again, and they began recording DMC. Less than 12 weeks into the show, they decided to broaden their focus to all things weird, and DMC morphed into what it is today, Tell Me Something Weird. The show delves into their fascinations with murder, the apocalypse, and fringe beliefs. “We decided to change our focus because we didn’t want to pigeonhole ourselves,” Eric said. Jodie added, “Yeah, and when we asked people if they want to be a guest on a show called Doomsday Murder Cult, we got a lot of: ‘Um yeah ... no thanks.’ ”

The content of their show is intriguing, but I find one of the most entertaining elements of the show to be the chemistry between the hosts. Jodie is more open-minded and likes to believe that anything may be possible. Eric, on the other hand, likes to call “bulls--- on stuff.” The two complement each other well.

It hasn’t always been rosy for the duo. Both admitted things were rocky in the beginning. They had to work through a lot of conflict. “There were honestly times I wasn’t sure this was gonna work,” Jodie relayed. But they made it work, and the two have become “unlikely best friends.”

“Years ago, if you told ‘heartbroken Eric’ something like this would ever happen, I never would have imagined it,” Eric said. “Because of this podcast, our friendship has become something that I truly value.”

The two have no intention of ending their friendship or the show anytime soon. Currently, their focus is “on the now,” but they’d eventually like to expand their presence from the Internet to radio and to continue spreading the word locally. TMSW has followers worldwide in Canada, Australia, the U.K., and Japan! “We’re like the Spinal Tap of podcasts,” Jodie said jokingly. “We’re popular everywhere else; but when it comes to our own city, no one knows who we are.” In addition to spreading the word, the two would like to do more live shows and guest interviews. “Maybe one day we’ll even have a drink named for TMSW (it would have to be malty or boozy),” Jodie mentioned.

Really – when one ventures into all things weird – the opportunities are endless. There may be standard definitions of what it is to be “weird.” But the truth is: We’re all weird. If you’re like me – a closet weirdo just looking for an outlet – take a little time out of your week and spend it with Jodie and Eric. And, please feel free to (as the two say), “Tell us something weird!”

You can find Tell Me Something Weird anywhere you can download podcasts – i.e., iTunes, Stitcher, etc. You can also learn more facebook.com/tmsw.show/.

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