“Whimsically Volatile,” on life, drag, and drugs.

Katya Zamolodchikova, famous for competing on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7 and Craig MacNeil started their podcast, Whimsically Volatile, in March of this year, following the “rock bottom” point of Katya’s personal life and her release from rehab.

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The logo for “Whimsically Volatile”

As of today, there are 33 episodes, each around an hour and half long. A bit scatterbrained, frantic, and generally aimlessly rocketing through time and space, the podcast follows the comedic conversation of the two hosts, as they bounce around between topics, headlines, and guest stars.

In a lot of ways, the show plays out like any other radio talk show. If not for the expletives and “taboo” topics of conversation, this show could easily exist on a talk radio platform. The format is simple. Katya and Craig converse on a variety of topics; Katya is stunning with language, and Craig acts as a good anchor for her unhinged manic energy. The duo is charming and charismatic, and they offer an excellent platform for their guest stars. While Katya and Craig could riff of of each other for hours, the majority of the substantive content of the show comes from the guest stars that “call in” to chat. Topics range from serious experiences with drugs and coming down from addiction, dealing with living a life of fame, and existing as part of the LGBTQ+ community in today’s world to the supernatural and paranormal, practicing witchcraft, and the occult.

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Katya Zamolodchikova via welovekatya.com

On Patreon, Whimsically Volatile has just under 1,800 patrons. Although there are no ads, the podcast exists as a part of the larger character development of Katya. Katya is a drag character created by Brian McCook, and her image has a multimedia presence, from Drag Race, to UNHhhh, to the short-lived talk show on the VICELAND network. Although each of these media outlets has used Katya’s character, Whimsically Volatile is not associated with any of the prior companies. And, while UNHhhh (the comedy series on YouTube produced by World of Wonder) was similar to this podcast, it has a substantially larger audience, garnering upwards of half a million views on even the least popular videos.

 

This podcast’s audience is probably best suited to fans of drag, drag race, or the character of Katya in general. Acting as a supplement to the other forms, particularly of visual media, that Katya has performed on, this podcast is a platform for getting to know the eccentricities of her character.

And, though it is generally amusing, it is unclear whether this podcast really could be enjoyed by someone who is not aware of Katya’s other media presences. To use John L. Sullivan’s words in “Podcast Movement: Aspirational Labour and the Formalisation of Podcasting as a Cultural Industry”, producing Whimsically Volatile is likely aspirational labor (36). Craig and Katya aren’t making a ton of money off of it, as evidenced by their small Patreon audience, but they’re 33 episodes in and show no signs of halting production.

 

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Number of active podcasts on iTunes worldwide from 2008 to 2015

Perhaps more importantly, as is the trend with the current state of podcasting; Whimsically Volatile is a tiny piece of content that exists for a specific group of people looking for a specific type of entertainment.

In 2015, there were 60,000 active podcasts worldwide, which is an amazing amount of content, considering that it means there was an original podcast for every 5,300 citizens of the US. Even more impressive is that based on the given information, it looks as though the number of active podcasts will continue to grow as we move into the future.

Given that Katya has worked with, and made money off of her partnerships with other, larger media companies, choosing to branch off independently to make a podcast with Craig must be a personal, rather than a financial choice. Perhaps this podcast exists as a bit of a passion project, existing truly for the niche-st of the niche markets. A labor of love, passion, and character development, if you will.Just another way for Brian to give Katya her voice.

And what a wild voice it is. Give it a listen.

 

 

 


Graph:

Copyblogger. “Number of Active Podcasts on Itunes Worldwide from 2008 to 2015 (in Thousands).” Statista – The Statistics Portal, Statista, http://www.statista.com/statistics/613758/podcasts-itunes/, Accessed 12 Nov 2018

 

 

 

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