Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a published writer, gay activist and the co-host of the Shame On You Podcast, an unapologetic guide to zero gay shame. I’m also a huge cuddler.
What can you tell us about your podcast, “Shame On You”?
Even when you think you’re comfortable with yourself as a gay person you often carry residual shame. It can manifest in a variety of ways. It may be small things like a slightly uncomfortable visceral feeling when you see a photo of yourself kissing a member of the same sex. Or, it can run deeper like the inability to forge emotional connections. Gay men, in particular, have high instances of drug abuse, anxiety, and depression. As I work with a psychotherapist I began to understand the impact of trauma on my life and my heightened fear response to situations as a gay person. Gay trauma, in particular, can be difficult to treat because the marginalization is everywhere. Just in the past few months, I’ve had uncomfortable moments at work, at the doctor or even booking vacations. I could lay out a laundry list. For example, straight privilege is being able to book a plane ticket to anywhere in the world and not fear being thrown in jail or attacked. Our podcast is an antidote to the thousands of messages that gay people endure over a lifetime. We’re here to tell you there is absolutely nothing wrong with you and to stop making any apologies for who you are. There is still a lot of work to be done.
You formulated the idea for the podcast with your best friend (Brad Price). How instrumental was he in getting this idea off the ground?
I knew that if I did this podcast in the high stakes manner we did it, that I could only do it with Brad. We’ve been best friends for nearly a decade and nearly Siamese twins at this point. Our flow was good from the first episode because we’ve been finishing each other’s sentences for years now. But we’ve definitely improved a lot. I listen back to the first couple of episodes and kind of cringe. Brad has also been present for 90% of the stories I share so it provides a different vantage point. We are different people in terms of our constitution. It provides the ying and the yang. My personality is brutally honest, fast-talking, no-nonsense, and I’m the more creative “absent-minded professor” one. I loathe pandering. Brad is detail-oriented, more empathetic with a softer delivery. He doesn’t take as big of risks as me with regards to opinions and toeing the comedic line. I try to push him accordingly because he underestimates how funny he is. Overall, if we were similar, the podcast wouldn’t work.
How do you feel knowing this has helped many people to not be ashamed of who they are and embrace themselves?
The podcast combines two things I am most passionate about – gay rights and comedy. Our intention with the comedy was to provide levity to our listener’s weeks. Laughter is the greatest coping mechanism in my books if you don’t abuse it. From the get-go, we knew that didn’t want to create any sort of derivative content or mimic other gay podcasts. For example, we rarely talk about celebrities or entertainment media for that matter. It’s an audio reality show of our lives and our listener’s real-life experiences. Because we open up, they open up. It’s a group effort. We could never have imagined how many people would write to us saying they came out because of the podcast, get out of an abusive relationship, saw a therapist, or went on medication. All this has given us an immeasurable purpose. It’s largely what inspires us to keep going through the arduous process of churning out a weekly podcast because it’s grueling and has taken a large toll on my mental health.
Did you ever expect the podcast to grow its audience as quickly as it has?
Yes and No. When you fill a void in entertainment you can expect a huge influx. What is most surprising is how fast word of mouth works. The podcast is like a contagion globally. The podcast is also proof that if you want to do anything in this business you must put a focus on content above everything else. If you produce a good product it will move organically. To do this, we took massive risks talking about drug use and other behaviours that are largely demonized. I’ve also experimented with a variety of digital marketing avenues as that is my background. It has worked well but I’m keeping the secret sauce to myself.
What can audiences expect from the live taping of “Shame on You” this November?
Our live shows are more offensive and we paywall them for two reasons. Firstly, we feel if people pay to see something live it shouldn’t be given away to everyone else. Our generation has become used to getting art for free. Secondly, a paywall is advantageous in that only your real fans will pay to listen. It weeds out a lot of the people who “hate listen” to you. Going forward, we’re going to be experimenting with this two-tier model as the amount of personal information that we divulge is unprecedented and at this point, we need a bit of a safety barrier. This Toronto show will be a similar format to the podcast. We start with banter, some exclusive stories from our past and then bring out a guest for an interview. The difference with the live shows is that it is more of an experience in that we also interact with the audience and bring people up on stage to joke with them. At the Toronto show, we’ll be critiquing people’s dating profiles live. Some of them are really embarrassing.
What advice do you have for people who hide something about themselves out of shame?
Shame lives in silence. Vulnerability is everything and personally I find it to be a very attractive quality. Listen, we’re all faking it. We walk around as adults acting like we have it all together but the large majority of us are in mental disarray. It’s fine to admit that. When you show your scars, it’s amazing how fast you can build bonds with total strangers. I don’t recommend sharing your entire personal life with the world like we did but I can tell you that it has been an incredible catharsis. I have no secrets. Living life as an open book without repression or posturing is so rewarding. The downside is the more you put out to feed the beast, the more people have to criticize and/or feel entitled to it.
What’s your life like outside of the podcast world?
I run a marketing business full time and I’m also rewriting my entire first book. I’m a total perfectionist when it comes to my writing. It is suffocating at times. Between the podcast, my business and the book I don’t have much time left besides exercise which is mandatory for me. I’d like to have a serious adult relationship but truly I would only be able to commit a maximum of one day a week to them. I don’t know who would sign up for that. If I’m not working on something I start to get anxiety with regards to wasting my time. It’s a balance. I’m working on it.
Let the readers know where to find you online.
My Instagram is @itchyprostate where I mostly post jokes.
My podcast Instagram is @shameonyoupod.
If you want to read samples of my writing/chapters from my upcoming book you can go to www.jordanpowerwrites.com. New episodes of our podcast come out every Thursday on all players. If you want to hear full unedited, ad-free episodes you can support our Patreon at www.patreon.com/shameonyou. We also post our live shows exclusively on there and some bonus episodes which are exclusive to the paywall.