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Sarah Marshall of ‘You’re Wrong About’ on Wikipedia Deep Dives, Scolding the Media, and Saturday’s Show at the Cedar

Plus: a suprise local angle!

11:32 AM CDT on March 24, 2023

left: you're wrong about's logo, right: a photo of sarah marshall backlit by a sunbeam
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Look, you're busy people, it's Friday, you're already thinking about logging off for the day—we won't bury the lede here. When we chatted with You're Wrong About host Sarah Marshall earlier this week ahead of her show at the Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday, she hit us with a shocking local angle regarding her exceedingly popular podcast.

"The show was like, born in Minnesota, because the first ever episode I recorded was in my friends Mike and Sally's house in Minneapolis," she says. In fact, Marshall adds, she recorded a number of the early episodes while visiting another friend in Winona. "It's got Minnesota all over it."

"It's not common knowledge," she chuckles. "People don't ask very often."

If you're not sure why that surprise bit of intel might be a big deal to this reporter, it's becauseYou're Wrong About is among the most-listened-to podcasts in the U.S. The biweekly show, which takes a look at things that history has gotten wrong, was co-created by Marshall and journalist Michael Hobbes in 2018, when Hobbes first reached out to her about a new idea.

"At the time, I think the working title was I Misremember the '90s," Marshall says. She had one note: Could they open it up to all periods of history?

Back then, Marshall was freelancing, and struggling to place stories about these very things—like, what if she re-examined the case of Amy Fisher, for example? "The response I got typically was like, 'No! There's nothing there! No one cares! No one wants to hear you scold the media about how it handled Amy Fisher,'" she says.

The result was that Marshall had a backlog of unplaceable stories, an "attic-worth of material" that dovetailed wonderfully with the podcast's premise.

You're Wrong About has proven all those assigning editors from Marshall's past wrong; it turns out people do want to hear someone scold—with humor and warmth—a media and a public that has historically misunderstood and misremembered everyone from Courtney Love to Kitty Genovese to Marie Antoinette.

"Most people I know love Wikipedia deep dives, but there's only so many you can go on," Marshall says. The experience of listening to You're Wrong About is like someone cracked a few beers, booted up their MacBook, and hopped down that Wiki rabbit hole for you.

Many of its subjects are women who've been wronged, like Terri Schiavo and Monica Lewinsky. (And yes: There is an Amy Fisher episode.) "Especially growing up in the '90s, your media diet, you look back on it later and you're like, 'What were we doing?'" But it's not always figures from history; You're Wrong About digs into cultural phenomena, from the Satanic Panic to the rise of email ("two equally scary things," Marshall quips), and events from The Jonestown Massacre to The Wardrobe Malfunction.

Since co-host Michael Hobbes departed the show in 2021, Marshall has been bringing on guests, working with people she knows already and those she admires from afar. She's recorded a few popular episodes with the writer and adventurer Blair Braverman (also some of my personal favorites), including a recent look at the life of Chris McCandless, the subject of Jon Krakauer's Into The Wild.

One frequent collaborator is Jamie Loftus, the weirdo podcasting genius behind shows including Lolita Podcast, Aack Cast, and Ghost Church, who joined Marshall during her first tour dates last year and returns for this tour.

"I love working with Jamie specifically," Marshall says. "I think she's equally talented as a podcaster, as a live performer, as a comedian, as somebody who is doing the best, weirdest, smartest performance art that's happening right now."

Saturday's live show will combine a few topics: Marshall is presenting to Loftus on the subject of the Reagans (her current obsession), and Loftus plans to present on Bonnie and Clyde. There'll also be some show-stopper elements thrown in there... not to set expectations too high, but during their live shows last fall, Loftus's talk on competitive hot-dog eating culminated in a hot-dog eating contest between the two. The loser got mustard poured on them; the "winner" got ketchup.

Saturday's show is currently sold out, though Marshall imagines a limited number of will-call tickets will be released day-of; keep an eye on the Cedar's social channels for updates.

Marshall sees the live shows as an extension of the podcast itself, "taking the spirit of the show and make it into theater in some way." From the beginning, You're Wrong About has been conversational, and casual, and that's part of its success—it's just a (deeply researched) chat between two (very smart, very funny) people where the audience gets to listen in.

"The sound of a human voice does something... reading even the most wonderful sentences on a page doesn't have the same effect, at least for me," Marshall says. (But don't let that stop you from finishing this story!) "There's something about the intimacy of it, the feeling of someone speaking directly to you, feeling like they're inside your head, that can allow you to feel comforted by the presence of this other human being."

But, most importantly, let's make a point of setting our own record straight: Marshall recorded You're Wrong About's first episode here. It's basically a Minnesota original. She gets it.

"I'm from Oregon," she says, "and I feel like it's a similar vibe, where you can tell me the boringest—like, I learned that Linus Pauling was from Oregon, and ever since I've been like, 'I love Linus Pauling!'"

An Evening With You're Wrong About
Saturday, March 25 at Cedar Cultural Center
416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis
Doors: 7 p.m. / Show: 8 p.m.
All ages

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