Kevin Porter can’t emphasize this enough: Nobody expects their amateur podcast to become a hit. Especially not when it’s made by two relatively unknown young guys, recording in a church office. Especially not when your topic is a show that hasn’t been on TV for seven years.
Especially not when you’re a pair of dudes talking about every episode of Gilmore Girls.
“When we started our show, our greatest ambition was to invite people on who we wanted to talk to or work with in a comedic context,” said Porter, a longtime Gilmore fan who co-hosts with his pal Demi Adejuyigbe, who’s watching for the first time. “We thought it would be fun, maybe some Gilmore Girls fans would find it, and that was it.”
And yet, Gilmore Guys reached No. 1 on the iTunes comedy charts about a year ago, with help from early coverage in The Atlantic and a bump in listeners when Serial concluded its first season. In 2015, they regularly featured famous friends from the comedy world, became picked up by the HeadGum podcast network, and built up a loyal following of listeners—the kind of fans who fill their Gmail inbox and Twitter feeds with questions, send custom-made cross-stitches, and sell out their live shows.
This year was also a big one for Gilmore Girls. The show’s creators and cast reunited for the first time at the ATX Television Festival in Austin and months later came the news of a forthcoming Netflix revival, four more 90–minute episodes of Gilmore.
With the current seven seasons streaming on Netflix, Gilmore Guys has tapped into the nostalgia of a generation of women who grew up loving the mother-daughter duo, guys who watched in secret, and viewers who are now discovering it for the first time.
Porter, a 26-year-old sound editor and former church staffer, and Adejuyigbe, a 23-year-old who works for the Comedy Central show @midnight, started off by inviting comedians they knew to come chat about an episode.
Plenty took them up on it: improvisers from Upright Citizens Brigade theater (UCB); writers from Parks and Rec, Girls, and Two Broke Girls; and comedians like Paul Scheer, Paul F. Tompkins, and Jason Mantzoukas. A fan of the LA improv scene, Porter developed relationships with performers by offering to do photography, help with projects, and edit video supercuts for comedians he’d met at UCB.
“There was no long-game to it. I wasn’t thinking, ‘And then they’ll have to do my podcast!’” he said in an interview with CT. “It was an accidental hustle, in a way. You cannot go wrong by treating people with a lot of kindness. You never think, ‘Well, I wish I wasn’t so nice to that person.’”
Now, Porter and Adejuyigbe have proven their own comedic chops, with clever pop culture references, improvised bits, singalongs, and tangential musings extending most of their episodes of over the two-hour mark. Gilmore Guys has developed its own set of lingo and jokes, and its own cadre of fans, nicknamed “Gillies.” One reviewer referred to the podcast the way the Lorelai and Rory spoke of one of their favorite programs, The Donna Reed Show: “It's not a show. It's a religion. It's a lifestyle.”
Throughout the recordings, Porter, who’s also an Aaron Sorkin superfan (he interned with director and Sorkin-collaborator Tommy Schlamme), often hints at his evangelical background: Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey cassettes, Christian-themed musicals, being homeschooled, and even references to author Donald Miller and pastor Mark Driscoll.