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Griefcast: How a podcast on death even manages to raise a laugh

‘Griefcast is a chance to talk about the peculiar human process of death.’

AT THIS YEAR’S British Podcast Awards, Griefcast took home the award for ‘Best Entertainment podcast’, ‘Best Interview podcast’ and ‘Podcast of the Year’, and yet its launch in 2016, and its subsequent success had somehow escaped my attention.

Hosted by comedian and actress, Cariad Lloyd, the podcast provides Cariad’s guests with a platform to reflect on the passing of loved ones, while exploring the concept of grief in all its forms.

With my extended family having lost two beloved members over the last 18 months, I was curious to see how the topic was approached, so I did a deep dive and downloaded episodes featuring Aisling Bea, Dawn O’Porter, and Ana Matronic, to name just three.

Just a teenager when her father died from pancreatic cancer, Cariad ultimately uses her experience to help her guests articulate their own sense of loss, grief, and confusion, when it comes to their own personal bereavements.

From the passing of beloved grandparents to the sudden death of a guests’ young relatives, the same themes arise again and again, illustrating the universality of both the subject matter and the response born of it.

And yet as bleak as it sounds, Griefcast is no stranger to moments of genuine laughter; sometimes bemused, sometimes joyful, but present in almost every single episode.

Griefcast seeks to provide – and successfully does so – a space in which the litany of emotions born of a bereavement – of which there are countless – are expressed, heard, and accepted.

Cariad prefaced initial episodes with a nod to the relatively peculiar nature of the podcast, asking; “How do we actually grieve for someone? How does it change and evolve as we get older?”

My dad died when I was 15, and it took me many, many years to be able to express what I had gone through. So I decided to create Griefcast; a chance to talk, share and laugh about the weirdness of grief, death, pain and agony, but with comedians.

“So, it’s not that depressing, I promise,” she adds. “It’s bleak, but you’ll laugh as well which for me is a perfect night in.”

With reference to the fact the vast majority of her guests have carved careers for themselves in the world of comedy, she says:

It’s not easy to talk about death but it doesn’t help if you’ve chosen a career designed to hide your true feelings about anything emotional. Whether it was long ago or you’ve just lost someone, Griefcast is a chance to talk about the peculiar human process of death.

If you’re currently coming to terms with a recent bereavement or still navigating the process years after a loved one’s passing, it’s worth a listen.

And believe us, in spite of yourself, you will laugh.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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