Killed To Death: Griffin Toplitsky and Steve Cooke solve murder mysteries

I’m with Griffin Toplitsky and Steve Cooke at Field Trip!
Steve: Not the music festival

Not the school trip to the zoo.
Griffin: Not the coffee shop
Steve: No, wait!
Griffin: OH, it IS the coffee shop!

You guys live around here, right? You’re roommates.
Griffin: Yeah, we’re close. Ossington and Dupont. Our address is ████████████.
Steve: We tell everyone already on the podcast. We should probably stop doing that.
Griffin: [to Steve] You have gunk in your teeth.
Steve: Oh, I ate a sandwich.
Griffin: I also ate a sandwich. It’s not a big deal. Anyone can do it.

Tell me about your podcast, Killed to Death.
Griffin: We solve murders! Every week we solve a made up murder. They’re not real.

Killed to Death Podcast LogoDo you have to specify that they’re made up?
Griffin: I feel like we should. I don’t want anyone out there thinking they’re based on real murders.
Steve: Yeah, we don’t want anyone to think we’re making fun of actual crimes that have been committed. That seems distasteful.
Griffin: So, we interview a Toronto comedian in character as someone related to the case. During the second half, Steve plays a character generated from the first half of the episode. It’s all improv. And by the end of the hour we come up with some kind of solution whether it makes sense narratively or not.

What’s a good episode to start with?
Griffin: If you know anything about Toronto comedy, just scroll through our guest list and if you’re already a fan of someone, start with their episode. We’ve done ones with Mark Little, Jackie Pirico, Chris Locke.
Steve: Clare Mcconnell’s episode is great too. Everyone is so good. We don’t deserve the guests we get. One of my top five for sure is a recent one with Rob Baker. He made fun of us relentlessly and we made fun of him back and it was very fun.

That episode was super silly and fun, but kind of different from other episodes.
Griffin: Yeah, for sure. Each episode is kind of molded to the guests’ sensibilities.
Steve: You can hear that more in the stand-up episodes. Because veteran stand-ups have already found their voice and their brand of comedy. So, they bring that to the show.

How did you start the show?
Griffin: We were on Ryerson’s internet radio station. We were both in the Radio & Television program. We both liked Comedy Bang! Bang! So, we kind of ripped it off and came up with this idea!
Steve: It was around the time when Serial was popular, too. So we were toying with this true crime genre and doing a comedic take on that. But, it’s not a parody.

You guys were nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award! How does that feel?
Griffin: It was awesome. It felt very legitimizing for something we just do in our basement for fun.
Steve: Yeah, we didn’t expect to be nominated but it was very fun to go and feel like we were part of the scene.
Griffin: I wore a nice shirt!
Steve: He sure did!

Some podcasters I know don’t actually listen to other podcasts, which is funny.
Griffin: Oh, you mean posers?
Steve: [laughs] Yeah, that’s something that should be noted in your article. We’re not posers.
Griffin: Yeah, just put it as a caption like “Today’s episode: Griffin and Steve: Not posers”. I guess it’s not really an episode. That’s how ingrained we are in podcast culture. Everything’s an episode.
Steve: It’s really fun to hang out with us.

What podcasts do you listen to?
Griffin: Comedy Bang! Bang!, Hollywood Handbook, Doughboys.

Any Toronto shows?
Griffin: Oh, for sure. You can just look to The Sonar Network. I feel blessed to be part of that. Escape Capade, the new one from Shannon Lahaie. That’s How I Remember It. The Bed Post Podcast. Oh, also the now-defunct Party of Four podcast. It’s got a whopping 13 episodes but it’s very funny.
Steve: I find that I don’t like to listen to comedic ones right before we record. Because then it feels like I’m trying to recreate what I was just listening to. So sometimes it’s nice to mix it up and listen to some serious podcasts.

Griffin, tell me something interesting about Steve.
Griffin: Steve is going to the U.K. for a few months! For a job!
Steve: Yeah, I’m going to come back with an obnoxious British accent.
Griffin: That’s all your characters anyway.

Steve, tell me something interesting about Griffin.
Steve: Griffin is a massive Nascar fan. He knows a lot about Nascar.

Ah, driving in a circle!
Griffin: Oh, you’ve heard of it!
Steve: There’s more to it. He’ll defend the nuances of the sport.
Griffin: Only when prompted. I’m not here to defend Nascar. I’m not a dumb guy, you gotta trust me on that. I just like Nascar. It’s relaxing.
Steve: [laughs] You made me sound cultured and I made you sound pretty stupid.

The Kids' Table Improv Group
The Kids’ Table Improv Group

Do you guys do improv outside of the podcast?
Griffin: Yeah, very regularly. We’re in an improv troupe together called The Kids’ Table.
Steve: The members are frequent guests of the podcast. So, if you like their episodes of the show, you’ll like us live. It’s all very silly.
Griffin: Shannon Lahaie, Gavin Pounds, Laura Del Maschio, Alex Cabrera-Aragon, and that’s it! That’s everyone!

Awesome! So, when I was researching you guys I found a great web series you made called DriveGet. Tell me about that.
Steve: We had to do a culminating project for 4th year where everyone pitched ideas and, luckily, they chose ours to be made. It’s kind of got a Wet Hot American Summer tone. It’s a web series about two people who start their own Uber-like rideshare app. I think it turned out not bad! I think some of the concepts and bits really hold up.

I really liked it! It turned out great.
Steve: Thank you! It was a good excuse to make a lot of something.

Okay, time for some unrelated questions!
Griffin: Ooh! This is disarming.

Is it? Are you afraid? You’re making an afraid face.
Griffin: Don’t make the blog readers think I’m scared! Tell them I have a brave face!
Steve: [to Griffin] You told them about the gunk in my teeth!

When was the last time you couldn’t stop laughing?
Griffin: What comes to mind is a recent late night game of Drawful. It’s like a better 21st-century Pictionary. It’s what the kids are doing now, actually, so it’s very cool. Anyway, it’s all very “you had to be there” stuff but I laughed very, very hard. Just friends having a blast!

Was Steve there?
Griffin: Unfortunately, yes.
Steve: That was my answer too. It’s insane how hard we laughed.

If I say close your eyes and go to your happy place, where do you go?
Steve: Probably the Ontario wilderness. By a calm lake. Could be camping. Could be a cottage.
Griffin: Mine—I don’t know if I could enjoy it for very long—
Steve: Skydiving.
Griffin: Yeah, it’s skydiving. No parachute. [Laughs] No, it’s—you know when you overturn a canoe and you go up underneath in the air bubble? And it’s so calm and quiet and you hear the water lapping. But it’s somewhere where you can stand so you don’t have to tread the whole time. That’s my happy place. But, I’d get hungry after a while, so it wouldn’t last long.

If you could wade through a pool of something that isn’t water—
Griffin: Is there a canoe on my head?

I mean, yeah. You can bring a canoe.
Griffin: Water!

No, if you could wade through something that’s NOT water, what would you choose? It can be a liquid, just not water. Cody from Spooked! said carbonated water.
Griffin: Carbonated water sucks!
Steve: That’s not fair. He’s sponsored by carbonated water. It’s not his fault. Umm, I would wade through like a bunch of really expensive beanie babies. Like the really rare ones. They’re soft to wade through and you could pick one up and just be like, “Wow, that’s probably worth a lot now.”

Are they, though? I think the beanie baby bubble burst.
Griffin: The beanie baby bubble burst, the beanie baby bubble burst, the beanie baby bubble burst. I’d wade through red leather, yellow leather! [Laughs]. Ok no, my answer is: It’s cliché to say alcohol, but something like Palm Bay would be nice.
Steve: Ew, you don’t want to be that sticky!
Griffin: You don’t want to be that sticky! Don’t tell me how sticky I want to be! But actually, I’m changing my answer. Can I make up a substance?  Like warm beach sand but not as thick. With less friction.

What would you call it?
Steve: Sland.
Griffin: Sland.

Perfect. Okay, there are two types of people in this world. What are they?
Griffin: Over 50 and under 50.
Steve: Travellers and settlers. Think about that.
[Long pause]
Griffin: Write in a long pause where we thought about it. Or just write Sland.
Steve: There are two types of people in this world: Sland.

if you had a question for me, what would it be?
Steve: What’s a podcast you recommend for us to listen to?

I just started listening to one called This Sounds Serious. It’s actually right up your alley. It’s a mix of true crime and comedy. But, it’s scripted.
Griffin: So is ours.
Steve: Yeah, ours is tightly scripted.

Right [laughs]. Well, check that one out. It’s very good and I like it.
Griffin: Rave review! Imagine that on a poster! Okay, my question for you is: What’s your podcast idea?

Um, well I thought about making this blog a podcast. A podcast where I interview podcasters. But, it’s a little too self-indulgent.
Steve: Yeah, a podcast about podcasts.
Griffin: Okay, so give me a different idea.

A blog where I interview bloggers.
Griffin and Steve [in unison]: Now, that’s a good podcast!

Amazing. Let’s plug your things!
Griffin: We do improv every 4th Friday of the month at the Social Capital. You can like The Kids’ Table on Facebook if you want to know when our shows are coming up. And, honestly, Killed to Death. Honestly, actually, for real, Killed to Death.
Steve: And if we’re doing plugs for real, I should say that I do have a show and it’s called Killed to Death. And it’s very good and you should listen to that.
Griffin: On the subject of plugs, check out Killed to Death. It’s a weekly podcast where Steve and I have a Toronto comedian on playing a character and we solve a fake murder.

You can find the latest episodes of Killed to Death here.
Follow Griffin and Steve on social stuff:
Killed to Death on Twitter: @k2dpod
The Kids’ Table on Facebook

And for more sweet sweet Toronto podcasts, check out The Sonar Network!

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