“The fundamental horror we’re exploring is ‘consequences’.” | Charlie Dinkin and Zoe Tomalin on their comedy-horror sketch series, SeanceCast

Tell us about your podcast, SeanceCast

SeanceCast is an extremely haunted sketch show, which follows two beautiful women (spoiler alert: it’s us) as we hold seances in order to find otherworldly content for our podcast. Each episode has its own story, as well as four “scenes from the beyond” performed by some of the best comedy talent in the UK… we’re talking Amy Gledhill, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Alison Thea-Skot, Kat Bond, Nimisha Odedra, Toussaint Douglass, Amy Sutton, Jen Ives and Mali Ann Rees. 

How did we get such an amazing cast, you might ask? I guess that’s just down to being extremely respected by our community/a horrible curse we put on them all.

What inspired you to create a horror-comedy sketch podcast about seances?

We’re both professional writers, mostly working on topical comedy shows, but during the summer of COVID (have you heard about the pandemic?) we realised that writing about the news was exhausting, and we desperately wanted to do something more fun.

Luckily, our stunning executive producer Claire Broughton at Hat Trick asked us to put together a show by and for womxn, and we figured: what do girls love more than ghouls? The answer is obviously ‘bread’, but YeastCast was already taken, so here we are.

What was your process behind choosing the setting and story for each séance?

We were so excited to be able to run an open submissions process to be able to share this opportunity with even more people, and in the end we chose sketches from 14 amazing female and non binary writers. To be the frank, we just picked the funniest ones – the stuff that really made us snort-laugh – and put those in. But we also wrote about half of the show and script edited everything, so everything has a consistent voice (one we stole from a mermaid).

In terms of the location for each episode, we tried to do something that was both sonically interesting and also incredibly mundane. The world is so crazy right now, all we wanted was to pretend to sit in a car or go to a swimming pool…so that’s what you get!

What is your secret to making audio-only sketch comedy?

In truth, our secret is our amazing producer Benjamin Sutton, who is both an amazing comedy producer and very good at finding specific sound effects. 

If you can’t find Ben (we mostly keep him in the basement), you should always try to make audio as dense with jokes as you possibly can. Without visuals it can get – to use an industry term – “very talk-y”…so every line should be a zinger. 

What do you think is the trick to good horror comedy?

Horror and comedy are structural cousins, so for us the important thing is really knowing your point of view: what do you find scary? How can you show it, and – for comedy – how can you then subvert it? 

We didn’t want to just make fun of basic horror tropes in our show, so we focused more on finding the ‘horrible moments’ in everyday life: from an eco-warrior who buys bamboo stuff to speed up panda extinction, to a buttercup that really does tell the truth. 

If you’re some kind of brainiac, you could say that, for us, the fundamental horror we’re exploring is ‘consequences’.

Tell us about the kind of comedy writers you’re showcasing on SeanceCast.

They are quite literally the 15 most exciting new voices in comedy writing. Know them, love them, hire them them to do your evil deeds:

Olga Koch, Athena Kugblenu, Catherine Brinkworth, Jen Ives, Shelf (Ruby Clyde and Rachel Watkeys-Dowie), Siân Docksey, Tasha Dhanraj, Heidi Regan, Charlie V Martin, Kate Hinksman, Georgia Wagstaff, Jain Edwards, Atlanta Green and Emerald Paston.

What do you hope people take away from your podcast?

Well, if you listen to every single episode and share it on all your social networks with the phrase “this is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard!”, we won’t send a demon to haunt your bedroom tonight.

What are your plans for the future of SeanceCast?

If the world doesn’t end, we’d like to do a Series 2 sometime in 2021.

What are your favourite podcasts to listen to?

For more spooky horror, we’re obsessed with The Sink (BBC Sounds) and Welcome to Spooktown (Little Wander)

For HUGE laughs from hilarious women, you can’t beat Wheel of Misfortune (BBC Sounds).

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to start their own podcast?

Take the time to think of a structure that makes it manageable. It takes a while to find your audience, so a two hour epic, six times a week probably isn’t going to last. Or just do a one off! Basically, there are no rules: make what you love, and do it for fun.

You can listen to SeanceCast on Acast, iTunes and Spotify.

You can follow the show on Twitter and Instagram.