Podcasts are providing a safe space for all women, and the brands who support them
Insane In The Men Brain is a podcast all about mental health, with host and comedian Rich Wilson talking to funny and interesting people about their own experiences. Guests of the show, which is part of the Acast Creator Network, have included household names like Heston Blumenthal, David Baddiel, Tom Allen, James Acaster, and Romesh Ranganathan.
Such has been the podcast’s success, last year Rich launched sister pod Insane In The Fem Brain — with co-host Jayde Adams and guests helping him learn more about the opposite sex and what makes women so powerful.
And, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, we spoke to Rich about how his podcasts bring conversations of mental health to listeners’ ears — not just now, but every week.
How did you get into podcasting?
“I got into podcasting after appearing on the Distraction Pieces Network podcast Hardcore Listing with Chris Glasson and Stu Whiffen. Brad Acton, who worked on the podcast, heard me and said I should do my own. When I told my partner she said her producer at MTV was looking for someone to work with, so she put us together and it took off immediately.”
What’s Insane In The Men Brain all about?
“IITMB is all about conversations surrounding mental health, but not just specifically that. Guests come on and tell their stories about the good times, the bad times, and their opinions on the world around them — and how they cope with this thing called ‘life’.
“Life is hard and, no matter how successful some people are, we all still have to dig deep and cope. My podcast helps people realise that they aren’t alone, and that many of the thoughts and feelings they’ve had — or have — have also been had and felt by everyone else, so it helps people feel less alone or outcast. We are fundamentally the same, regardless of background.
“It’s a very open and honest podcast and I guarantee that everyone who listens will get something out of it.”
Where did the idea for the show come from?
“The name just hit me one afternoon after listening to Cypress Hill. I’d always heard “membrane” as “men brain”, so it stemmed from that then the rest just fell into place.
“I’m very passionate about getting men to open up and talk, especially as I’m someone who struggled with that for years. I get so many messages from men who’ve spent years ‘manning up’ and now feel that they can now express themselves better. It really does make it worth doing.”
Why did you launch the ‘Fem Brain’ spin-off?
“Fem Brain stemmed from a conversation I had with my partner about how little I really knew about women. I mean, I know the basics but I don’t actually know what it’s like to be a woman — so I thought I’d invite them on a podcast and ask them. I have to say it’s been truly enlightening, and this in turn helps more men.
“We’re also about to launch “Them Brain”, too, because not all people identify as men or women and I want the podcast to be inclusive for everyone. It’s a safe space for me to ask the questions and for people to tell their story without feeling embarrassed or pressured.
“The only way we’re going to improve as a species is if we actually talk and try to understand each other, rather than screaming at each other on social media — because that doesn’t get you anywhere.”
Who have been your top three guests so far?
“Every guest has been incredible! I learn something new from every episode, so it’s very difficult to choose just three.
“Dane Baptiste was incredible. He just sat down and away he went. It was sensational. He’s an incredibly intelligent dude that I could sit and listen to all day.
“David Baddiel was quite a surreal moment as I’ve admired him for years so when he was sat opposite me my brain was screaming “IT’S DAVID BLOODY BADDIEL!!!”
“Jenny Ryan was wonderful, too. It’s just brilliant to hear from the actual people behind what we see on the television — but as I say, every guest has been immense.
“I’ve been very lucky and there’s not been any ‘least favourite’ recordings. I loved them all. I just really love talking to people.”
What’s been the best thing about working with Acast?
“Acast just seems to have always been around, and I was overjoyed when you agreed to have us on your platform. It made me feel like I was a professional, although producer Paul sorted all that out. If it was left to me then I’d just have loads of conversations on my laptop and nowhere to put them.
“Being on Acast really stepped things up a notch, and it takes care of much of the technical admin. I love talking to the people but the admin that comes with it can absolutely get in the bin. I know it’s all part of it, and you have to be organised, but I feel like a child stuck in when all your mates are out playing sometimes.
“I’m not complaining, though. I know how lucky I am to have gotten where I am.”
What does the future hold for your podcasts?
“We now have merch! Our new sponsor SOS Clothing has collaborated with us so now we have hoodies and t-shirts, and they do look spectacular.
“We’ll also be doing some more live episodes, plus we’ll be starting to record videos of our conversations with our guests, too.
“At the end of the day, I just want to get more people opening up and talking. Life is hard, but it’s also magic if you take a minute to have a look around — and if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out. You’ll be surprised at how helpful people really are.”
Insane In The Men Brain and Insane In The Fem Brain are part of the Acast Creator Network, and are hosted, distributed and monetized by Acast. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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