The Last Podcast on the Left cohost Ben Kissel thinks Miami's Olympia Theater is haunted. In fact, he's pretty sure every old theater is haunted.
"I swear, most places we've gone, the security guard or somebody who works at the bar will be like, 'By the way, on the second floor, there's a haunting of a little girl, and she'll scream your name,'" Kissel jokes. "There's always some weird haunting at every theater I've gone to. I don't know why — maybe it's the power of drama."
Kissel will find out if the downtown Miami venue is serving spooks when the live tour of The Last Podcast on the Left stops at the Olympia Theater this Saturday, October 19. But when it comes to the supernatural, nothing seems out of the ordinary for the LPOTL crew. Ever since Kissel started the podcast with longtime friends Marcus Parks and comedian Henry Zebrowski in 2011, the trio has recorded more than 450 episodes about the variety of terrors associated with living on Planet Earth, including UFOs, cult leaders, and, of course, serial killers. The podcast attracts fans of the true-crime genre in numbers equal to those interested in the paranormal.
The show's subject matter is pitch black, but The Last Podcast on the Left revels in gallows humor. In one episode, an impression of David Berkowitz recasts the Son of Sam as a nice Jewish boy who's terrified of commitment. ("You understand it takes up to three minutes to strangle somebody? Who's got that kind of energy?")
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"We're all going to die, so I think death is that situation we all deal with in our own way," Kissel says of the show's humorous approach to its dark subject matter. "Some people don't like to discuss it and just want to live in fear of it. I think we need to look at it head-on."
For the past four years, confronting those fears has meant taking the show on the road to countries famous for their macabre histories, such as England and Germany. However, this is the podcast's first time visiting Miami — a city whose history includes an infamously brutal underbelly. "Miami crime" is basically its own true-crime genre, so what does Kissel have in mind for the upcoming show at the Olympia?
"When you think about Miami crime, you think about drugs, cocaine, smuggling," Kissel says. "What goes along with that? A bunch of murder, a bunch of death, and a whole bunch of lives being ruined." That's comedic fodder for the LPOTL hosts.
The Last Podcast on the Left. 8 p.m. Saturday, October 19, at the Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; 305-374-2444. Tickets cost $29.50 to $150 via olympiatheater.org.