By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(March 5, 2020) A comedy podcast by a mother and daughter that aims to raise awareness about breast cancer and the need to find humor in life has begun to gain a loyal following of listeners.
Claudia and Kate Nicholls of Berlin decided to create a podcast called Stage 4 Clingers four weeks ago and have already aired five episodes with another five planned for the first season.
Claudia, 59, an insurance agent who moved to Berlin with her family in the early 1990s, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and then decided she wanted to create a blog. As it happened, she misunderstood the process.
“I wanted to blog, but I wrote it down on paper, and [my daughter] said she would not blog with me because I should have, evidently, typed it up,” Claudia said.
Kate, 29, a Stephen Decatur High School graduate and comedian who has experience with podcasting, was the one who came up with the idea after shooting down her mother’s blogging plans.
“I have podcasted before … I professionally have podcast it and been on several podcasts of friends or fellow comedians and my mom has been wanting to do a project with me for a long time,” she said. “I didn’t think that she would take it very seriously at first, and then she said, ‘I want to do a podcast with you about cancer and our opinions on being cancer free.’”
Claudia has stage four breast cancer, which means it has entered her bone marrow and she will have cancer for the rest of her life. However, that does not immediately make it a death sentence, the Nicholls said.
“You think of it as a chronic illness instead of a death sentence, that’s what her doctor said,” Kate said.
“I will treat it till the day I go boots up,” Claudia said before joking, “I’m going to be here as long as until Kate gives me a grandbaby.”
Another motivation for Claudia to pursue a podcast was her displeasure seeing “Argo” win the academy award in 2013 over “Lincoln,” and she wanted a platform to express her unhappiness with the decision.
More importantly, the two talk about the importance of the fight against cancer.
“Our intent is to get a little control, take the power away from cancer,” Claudia said. “We crack jokes … we don’t whisper cancer or we don’t call it the C-word. We are cancer bullies, we bully cancer. We make fun of it … we point at it and laugh.”
The show is posted every Monday afternoon. Currently, there have been three guests on the show, including English Gardner, an Olympic gold medalist and Nike runner, Eric Lee, a defensive lineman for the New England Patriots and just this past Monday Ashley Hesseltine, comedian and host of Girls Gotta Eat Podcast.
Kate has been able to arrange the interviews through her connections as a comedian or through other friends during her work in Los Angeles.
Some other guests expected to be in the first season of Stage 4 Clingers are Fat Carrie Bradshaw, Instagram comedian and drag queen; Max Crumm, a Broadway star known for playing Danny in Grease; Ryan Shank, Founder and CEO of a series of successful Tech Companies as well as a Stephen Decatur graduate; and Scheana Shay, Star of Vanderpump Rules on Bravo.
A live podcast will take place on Thursday, March 26 at Burn Wood Pizza in Berlin to finish the first season, with Kate interviewing her mother. The event will also raise money and awareness about supporting women.
The reception for the podcast so far has been solid. The podcast, despite being just over a month old, has already been ranked on the comedic podcast charts for Apple.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of positivity and we’ve had two thousand unique listeners within a two-week period,” Kate said.
“I am most gratified by the comments that people leave,” Claudia said. “One was from two sisters that lost their father to cancer and said that they got together on the anniversary and listened to our podcast and that brought them a lot of joy.”
The two are already working on gathering guests for their second season, but could not confirm any of them at the time of the interview.
“We’re one of the only cancer comedy podcasts, I think, which gives us a unique spin,” Kate said. “And I think that our mother-daughter relationship is unique and endearing … we’re best friends, but we’re very different. A lot of times we don’t like what the other one is doing. We like to make fun of each other.”
Stage 4 Clingers can be listened to on Spotify, Apple podcast or through its website, https://stage4clinger.com/.
“I just feel so grateful that I get to do this project with my mom,” Kate said. “I work in entertainment and this is the this is my chosen industry and I’ve never worked on a project that I’ve been so passionate about and it has such a great emotional return. When one day we don’t get to have these conversations anymore. I’m so glad that we’ll have these podcasts to look back on and listen to and show to grandkids and great grandkids.”
For more information, visit https://stage4clinger.com/.