TOBIN: I — I — I can’t believe it. I truly can't believe it.
KATHY: I know.
TOBIN: Here we are.
KATHY: Here we are, indeed.
TOBIN: It is, in fact, the last episode.
KATHY: It’s the end of the show.
TOBIN: And I think we both know what that means …
[DRAMATIC, WEEPY STRING MUSIC PLAYS]
KATHY: Yeah, Tobin. It’s the end of our friendship.
TOBIN: Absolutely. I think that’s the right call.
KATHY: It's been a good run for us, honestly.
TOBIN: Mhm. Mhm, mhm. Yeah. I think, you know — end of show, end of friendship, it feels right.
KATHY: And, like, honestly, were we ever truly friends? [TOBIN LAUGHS] Wasn't it just for the show?
TOBIN: This bit has gone too far! [LAUGHS A LITTLE] It’s gone too far! [KATHY LAUGHS A LOT] Well, now I’m just hurt and insulted. [MOCK-CRYING] Let’s just play the theme music. I’m done. I’m done! [KATHY CRACKS UP]
[DRAMATIC MUSIC GOES SILENT]
KATHY: Just following your lead, you know?
[NANCY THEME PLAYS]
VOX 1: From WNYC Studios, this is Nancy!
VOX 2: With your hosts, Kathy Tu and Tobin Low!
TOBIN: Okay, all jokes aside, this really is our last show, y'all.
KATHY: Nancy has not been renewed, so it's coming to a close. And, in classic Nancy fashion, we're gonna laugh and cry and laugh about it.
TOBIN: Yes. We're gonna do all the things, as we visit some of our favorite memories from the over-100 episodes we made of this show. And, we're gonna hear from some of the people helped us get there: past members of Team Nancy and, of course, you, dear listener! We’re gonna be hearing from you about some of your favorite episodes.
[“RING OF KEYS” EPISODE MUSIC]
KATHY: Speaking of which, listener Abigail in Baltimore sent us this message.
ABIGAIL: The Nancy episode that I return to over and over again is the “Ring of Keys” episode.
TOBIN: Yes! “Ring of Keys” is an all-time fave. Uh, that’s the story where we followed producer Sarah Lu as she tried to track down the queer woman from her childhood that sorta showed her that there was a future for her one day as a queer adult. The “Ring of Keys” episode was part of our first season. Uh, and we’re gonna listen to a clip. Here's Sarah talking to her “Ring of Keys” person, Maura.
SARAH: Being a little awkward 12 year-old gay kid, and then seeing a very charming, confident gay adult … It — it allowed me to imagine an adult version of myself, which was huge, but also, the layer of — my parents thought you were cool. And so that made me think that they would approve of me being gay.
[MUSIC FADES TO QUIET]
MAURA: Wow. [SARAH LAUGHS]
SARAH: So that's a lot! Do you have any [PAUSE] reaction to … ?
MAURA: Lemme get up off the floor! Thank you. That is the … Oh, I am getting choked up.
[A MOMENT, MAURA BREATHES HEAVY]
MAURA: Yeah, thank you. Ooh! I never knew that I could — [STOPS, TEARING UP, JUST HOLDING BACK TEARS]
SARAH: It’s okay!
MAURA: [TEARFULLY] — that I could actually be a role model for somebody.
KATHY: That's possibly our most popular episode. And listener Abigail says it meant a lot to her.
[ACOUSTIC, SOFT MUSIC PLAYS]
ABIGAIL: I think, to me, it really spoke to me about what it means to be a queer adult and about finding intergenerational queer community and the possibility of being a role model and building those relationships with people.
KATHY: So much so that it inspired her to take action.
ABIGAIL: And I actually ended up, after listening to that episode, reaching out to one of my camp counselors from when I was — I think — 13. And, in retrospect, after listening to that episode, realized that it definitely had been one of those “Ring of Keys” moments, and that she had really tried to provide that space to me and I hadn't know it at the time, but looking back, I’m really grateful.
[ACOUSTIC MUSIC PLAYS OUT]
TOBIN: The other episode we kept hearing about from you was our “Gaggle” episode. If you remember, that was our challenge to queer people everywhere to find their chosen family — their “gaggle,” if you will. Because, you know, that set of friends can just be different for us.
KATHY: I feel a clip coming on!
[JAZZY, ALMOST-ELEVATOR UP-TEMPO MUSIC PLAYS]
TOBIN: The dictionary defines “gaggle” —
KATHY: No, no, no!
TOBIN: — the dictionary defines gaggle as “a group of geese,” which was not helpful for our purposes. It also defines gaggle as “a disorderly or noisy group of people,” which is sort of helpful for our purposes. What I think of when I hear the word “gaggle” is a group of queer friends. It's this unique formation of queer people, unlike any other. It's the crew you meet up with gossip, to hang. Queer Eye guys? That's a gaggle. Taylor Swift squad? Not a gaggle. Also problematic. [A BEAT] The gaggle is a posse. The gaggle is a family. The gaggle is magic.
[MUSIC OUT, ABRUPTLY]
TOBIN: We heard from so many of you who took that challenge to start a gaggle of your very own.
JAE: My name is Jae, pronouns are they/them. And, um, I was the one who started the Boston-area Gaggle, uh … in, like, May 2018.
TOBIN: When Jae first heard the episode …
JAE: I was like, “That sounds cool! But, like, I'll just join if someone already else has already started this.” And then I found out that nobody had set up a page for Boston yet, so I was like, “Okay, I guess I'll do it!”
TOBIN: Anyway, our listener Jae — it's a good thing they did the work and started their Boston Gaggle, because through that group they met a special someone named Logan.
[MAGICAL, DANCE-Y MUSIC PLAYS, LIKE WHEN THE DANCE FLOOR OPENS UP AT PROM IN A MOVIE]
JAE: It was a Gaggle event during Pride and, uh, we just had a good time. I think we — we went out for beers together as a group and we went out to the big gay dance party as a group, which is a thing that happens here.
TOBIN: Oh my god! We stan a Nancy love connection.
JAE: [LAUGHINGLY] You’re responsible for getting me into this relationship.
TOBIN: [EXCITEDLY] Kathy, they’ve been together for two years! They’ve been a couple for two years!
KATHY: Oh my god! [TOBIN LAUGHS] Wow! I mean, I don't want to put any pressure on — and, of course, um, maybe you don't believe in marriage, which is cool, it’s cool, cool-cool-cool — but Tobin and I will definitely officiate if you want us to.
TOBIN: Absolutely! [BOTH LAUGH]
KATHY: Anyway, I still love the Gaggle project because I think this is the best thing to come out of our show. Like, in the world that we're in right now, I feel like me and the folks around me are all asking ourselves how we're contributing to the world. And to me, I guess I always felt like making a podcast doesn't really seem like the most helpful thing in the world. But when we started this Gaggle project, and I saw it take off in the form of, like, our “Friends of Nancy” Facebook group, and folks meeting each other at our events and online, I truly felt like we did good, Tobin. We did something really good.
TOBIN: Hard same. The — the times that I felt like the show was really worth it was when we met groups of friends in real life who met through the Gaggle project, and had found their people through the Gaggle project. I was like, “Oh, this makes everything we do worth it!”
[PLINKY, SPARSE TECHNO MUSIC TRANSITION PLAYS]
KATHY: So, we're hearing from all these folks sharing favorite moments, and, you know, none of those moments would exist without all the people who helped make the show over the years.
TOBIN: We've gotten to work with so many amazing people! We've been so lucky!
KATHY: So, here’s just a few of them sharing some behind-the-scenes memories.
[MUSIC CHANGES, BECOMES ALMOST INTROSPECTIVE AND MORE FLESHED-OUT]
JENNY LAWTON: My name is Jenny Lawton and I was the editor of Nancy from the very beginning. So, it was our very first live show, and Kathy was really, really nervous about it. Um, and it was this weird kind of setup — we were in this conference hall that had one of those stages that was made up of risers, [KATHY LAUGHS] and to get on the stage was this ramshackle-looking ramp.
TOBIN: Yep. [KATHY LAUGHS]
JENNY: Um, so anyway, it was the start of the show and, um, Kathy runs up the ramp and then trips and totally wipes out — like, totally wipes out!
KATHY: Oh my god!
JENNY: And she jumps back up and starts the show and did not miss a beat. [SIGHS] You guys, you made something so beautiful and it had a real impact on the people listening and on me personally, which I think you know … and I am just so proud of the show and so grateful to have been a part of it.
[A BEAT OF MUSIC]
MATT COLLETTE: Exciting energy! [SINGS IN A VOICE THAT SOUNDS HUSHED, NOT VERY EXCITED] Hey, this is Matt Collette. I was the producer and then senior producer, uh, and always superstar producer —
MATT: — of Nancy. My favorite moments working on the show were going out into the field with Tobin and Kathy. If I was with just one of them, it was totally anonymous. But if the two of them were there, people could just immediately spot them. And people were always very excited, and Tobin and Kathy were always pretty embarrassed [KATHY AND TOBIN LAUGH] um, and it was always hilarious. And it was always great just to see the impact that this show had on real people who, oftentimes, we're seeing them represented in media for the first time, ever.
[MUSIC CHANGES PITCH, SOUNDS ALMOST TROPICAL]
ISABEL ANGELL: Hi, I'm Isabel Angell. I used to work at WNYC, and I helped produce the Queer Money Matters series in spring 2019. [A PAUSE] I think my favorite moments were tracking with you guys, Kathy and Tobin, for the episodes. Uh, I just remember being keeled over with laughter over the board, looking at you guys in the tiny studio, just barely able to do my job.
TOBIN: Ugh, we love all of you.
KATHY: We really do. And if you'll indulge us for a minute before we get back to the rest of the episode, we just want to shout out some other names and send them — just, all of the love.
TOBIN: Paula Szuchman, our first Executive Producer, who helped us launch this show way back when.
KATHY: Alice Wilder, one of our former producers. Alice, you beautiful table-shaker! You're amazing and great.
TOBIN: And, of course, our current team: Jeremy Bloom, who has been sound-designing the poop out of this show since the very beginning —
KATHY: Jeremy, please insert some great sound design here!
[GREAT SOUND DESIGN RAMPS UP]
TOBIN: He casts the spell —
[ELECTRICITY RUNS THROUGH THE AIR]
TOBIN: — and it goes horribly [PAUSE] wrong.
[THE AIR IS SUCKED OUT OF THE ROOM, AND THERE’S AN EXPLOSION, FOLLOWED BY ALIEN INVASION MUSIC]
TOBIN: The summoned archangel turns out to be evil, and, with him, he brings an army of demons.
[THE SOUND OF ROCKS UNDER FEET, THEN OF A LARGE ARMY ON THE MOVE, MARCHING AND YELLING. THEN, BACK TO YOUR SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING.]
[BOUNCY MUSIC COMES BACK]
TOBIN: [LAUGHS GIDDILY] — Sarah Geis, who has been a lovely and generous editor. Suzie Lechtenberg, who is our current Executive Producer — and, fun fact, she mentored us back when we first pitched this show to WNYC —
KATHY: — and, of course, producers Zakiya Gibbons and B.A. Parker. You two make radio magic, and I can't wait until we work on the show that you both host.
[MIDROLL MUSIC PLAYS]
KATHY: Coming up, we catch up with maybe some of our most popular guests ever.
TOBIN: Hint — they gave birth to us. [KATHY LAUGHS]
KATHY: Nancy will be back in a minute.
[WHISTLE, THEN MIDROLL]
KATHY: And we're back.
TOBIN: So Kathy, before we jump back in, I know we both wanted to take a moment to spread around some love.
KATHY: Some of our listener love, if you will. Because so many of you have written to us or Tweeted at us asking, “What do I listen to now?”
TOBIN: Well, folks, there are so many great podcasts out there that are for queer people, made by queer people, and so many of them are fantastic. Here's just a few of them that have been loving and listening to:
[MUSIC CHANGES, BECOMES MORE UPTEMPO]
AIDA HOLLY-NAMBI: Hi, this is Aida from the AfroQueer Podcast. Our show is about queer Africans living, loving, surviving, and thriving on the African continent and in the diaspora.
LEIGH PFEFFER: Hi, my name is Leigh Pfeffer, I use they/them pronouns, and I host a show called History is Gay, a podcast that examines the under-appreciated and overlooked queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies that have always been there in the unexplored corners of history — because history has never been as straight as you think.
JEFFREY MASTERS: Hey, it’s Jeffrey Masters, and I host the interview podcast LGBTQ&A — that’s Q&A with an ampersand — and I’ve interviewed people like Laverne Cox, Roxane Gay, Trixie Mattel, and — of course, my favorite interview of all time — Kathy Tu.
MORGAN GIVENS: Yo, wassup? My name is Morgan Givens, and I’m the host and creator of Flyest Fables. It’s a show that brings us brand-new hope-punk fables from the 21st century and centers young Black kids as the heroes of their own stories.
ERIC MARCUS: Hi, I’m Eric Marcus, founder and host of the Making Gay History podcast. We bring LGBTQ history to life through the voices of the people who lived it. Our 80 episodes are drawn principally from my decades-old archive of more than 100 interviews that I conducted for the Making Gay History book. I hope you’ll have a listen.
TUCK WOODSTOCK: My name is Tuck Woodstock. My podcast is called Gender Reveal, and it’s a show in which trans activists and artists talk about the way that gender intersects with race, ability, bodies, cultural background — all sorts of stuff — and also, generally, just tries to get us a little bit closer to understanding what the heck gender is.
ROBIN HOPKINS: Hi, I’m Robin!
JAIMIE KELTON: And I’m Jaimie! And we are the gay hosts of the podcast, If These Ovaries Could Talk.
ROBIN: [LIGHTLY] Jaimie, you do not have to say we’re gay every time!
JAIMIE: I just — I just like to! [BOTH CHUCKLE]
ROBIN: Anyway! It’s a podcast about making LGBTQ families, and parenting in a world that’s designed for straight folks.
JAIMIE: Yes, exactly. We highlight our families, normalizing them, lifting them up, so all the folks out there can see that we’re just like them.
ROBIN: Which is basically trying not to scream at our kids when we’re 20 minutes late and they still haven’t put their shoes on.
JAIMIE: They never put their shoes on. They just won’t do it.
ROBIN: They don’t put their shoes on! Put your shoes on!
JAIMIE: I don’t know what to do! Help us! [LAUGHS]
ROBIN: Oh, god. Help us!
[MUSIC FADES DOWN A LITTLE]
KATHY: And that's just the beginning. We've actually started a spreadsheet where you can go add your own recommendations of podcasts produced by queer people that you think other folks would love.
TOBIN: You can check out all our socials to find the link to the spreadsheet, and that’s where you can start shouting out your faves!
TOBIN: Okay. So, as you know, we asked some of our listeners what their absolute favorite episodes of the show were.
KATHY: Yep. Mhm.
TOBIN: And someone who reached out was Marlena.
MARLENA: My name's Marlena Chertok. I'm a communications specialist and poet that lives in Washington D.C. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
[LIGHT, TIP-TOE-Y MUSIC PLAYS]
TOBIN: And one of Marlena's favorite episodes of the show is one that many, many listeners point to — I think, probably, because of a certain guest.
KATHY: [KNOWINGLY] I think I know where this is going.
TOBIN: It’s your mom, Kathy. It’s your mom.
KATHY: Yeah, it is my mom. [TOBIN CHUCKLES, THEN KATHY DOES]
TOBIN: Uh, for folks who have been with us from the very beginning, you know that in our very first episode, Kathy came out to her Taiwanese mom for the third time, on tape.
KATHY: You know, honestly, I still can’t really listen to that tape. It’s very hard.
TOBIN: I can’t believe you had, like, the bravery to do that. It’s such a vulnerable conversation to have, especially because, you know, it is so real. And in that tape, you can hear that you and your mom are really going back and forth, and, you know, she doesn't outright reject you, but she also doesn't really get it — she doesn’t really get your queerness.
TOBIN: Um, and that’s actually what our listener Marlena says she really loved about it.
MARLENA: When we're hearing about stories about coming out, a lot of times it's either black or white of, like, they disown you, unfortunately — and that's terrible — or oh, they’re so happy for you, and great! You finally shared that with them. And I — I don't think it's like that — it hasn’t been like that for me, at least.
TOBIN: Marlena says that listening to your story, Kath — it had a big impact on her. It helped her listening to you be brave.
MARLENA: And that really helped me come out to my mom, um, just — just hearing — hearing somebody else go through it, and knowing I'm not alone, even though it's a really difficult thing to do.
KATHY: I'm so glad it was helpful to her!
TOBIN: It was so helpful to so many people! And I think it’s only right that, by popular demand —
KATHY: [LAUGHS] Well, yes. I talked to our favorite guest, the woman who started it all: my mom.
[MUSIC FROM THAT FIRST EPISODE PLAYS]
KATHY: Hi, how are you?
KATHY’S MOM: Fine, thank you.
KATHY: [BOTH LAUGH] What are you doing right now?
KATHY’S MOM: Relax. Sit down here. Listen to your phone.
KATHY: So that's my mother. I'm starting to understand where I get my sense of humor from.
TOBIN: Starting to?! [AFTER A BEAT, BOTH LAUGH]
KATHY: Well, to be honest, my mom wasn't super chatty when I called, because, um, she says I interview her too much.
KATHY: But, you know, this was important! I asked her how she felt about the show ending.
[MUSIC PLAYS AGAIN]
KATHY’S MOM: [IN MANDARIN] I think it's a good thing. You can't work on the same thing forever.
KATHY’S MOM: [IN ENGLISH] It's good. Just — it's normal.
KATHY: She says, “It’s a good thing. You can’t work on the same thing forever. It’s good. It’s normal.”
KATHY: How do you feel that, um, our conversation — you and I talking — have helped other queer children and their parents — their Asian parents, immigrant parents ?
KATHY’S MOM: [IN MANDARIN] That’s good! If I really have helped some people, then that's good.
KATHY: “That’s good! If I really have helped some people, then that’s good.”
TOBIN: Kathy’s mom, with the short answers today!
KATHY: [LAUGHS] She truly is done with me! [TOBIN LAUGHS TOO] Well, I — I also asked her about you, Tobin!
KATHY’S MOM: [IN MANDARIN] Um, Tobin looks like a nice young person. [IN ENGLISH] Uh, nice. Yeah. [IN MANDARIN] A very nice partner to you.
KATHY: She says, “Tobin looks like a nice young person. Very nice. And a very nice partner to you.”
TOBIN: I’m gonna choose to focus on the part where she said I looked young. Thank you! [KATHY LAUGHS] I will take it. [THE TWO LAUGH TOGETHER]
KATHY: But there was one thing I really wanted to tell her, because I think it's been the biggest change for me since we started making Nancy, and since I started interviewing my mom about our relationship. I feel like there’s been so much growth between us, and I just — I just wanted to have this moment with her.
KATHY: Since I started making the show and, um, did those episodes with you — the interviews with you — I feel like I've actually come around to understanding you more.
KATHY’S MOM: It's good.
KATHY: I appreciate you always — you always taking the time to do these interviews, ‘cause I know that they're not — they’re not easy to do. So thank you for doing that.
KATHY’S MOM: You're welcome, you're welcome. Because you are my daughter, okay?
KATHY’S MOM: I cannot say no, okay? [KATHY LAUGHS] Okay? [LAUGHS TOO] You happy?
KATHY: So, per usual, I didn’t get the moment I wanted with my mom. It’s fine.
TOBIN: It’s fine! She’s not that kinda mom. It’s fine. [LAUGHS]
KATHY: Right, right. That’s okay! But you know what got her talking?
[DISNEY FAIRYTALE-ESQUE MUSIC PLAYS]
KATHY: So I already know the answer to this question, but — do you want me to take the bar exam?
KATHY’S MOM: Yes! Very!
KATHY: Okay. Umm …
KATHY’S MOM: [TALKS EXTENDEDLY IN MANDARIN]
KATHY: Okay. We don’t need to go into that. Alright. I got it. [KATHY’S MOM LAUGHS] We don’t have to go into — we don’t have to talk about this topic. [BOTH LAUGH]
[MUSIC BECOMES INFOMERCIAL-ESQUE]
KATHY: Tobin, speaking of our very first episode, I think listeners will also definitely remember that both of your lovely parents made an appearance!
TOBIN: Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Low have both been on the show!
KATHY: And I think it's only right that …
TOBIN: [CUTTING KATHY OFF] Way ahead of you, Kathy!
TOBIN: Was there anything that I talked on the show about, or that you heard on the show, that you thought was too racy for your, uh, enjoyment? [LAUGHS]
TOBIN’S MOM: You know, for the most part, I thought it was just so [PAUSE] educational for me to, like, just learn so many aspects of the broad spectrum of LGBTQ. But, from a mother's perspective, I just felt that there were some things that are not meant for a mother’s ears — to hear her son talk about sexual content, like glory holes. [TOBIN CRACKS UP]
TOBIN: Dad, anything I talked about on the show that’s too racy?
TOBIN’S DAD: [IMMEDIATELY] Oh, you mean the glory holes?
TOBIN: [CRACKS UP AGAIN] Or just anything! Wow, both of you went for the glory holes!
KATHY: I love your parents.
TOBIN: Oh, I do, too, Kathy. I do, too.
KATHY: I'm curious how they reacted to hearing themselves on the show.
TOBIN: You know, when they first came on, it was to talk about their reactions to when I came out in college. Uh, and I think listening to the show over the years, it’s given them more of a glimpse as to what I experienced before and after that moment. Like, we've done episodes about what it's been like for me as an adult queer person, and also what it was like to grow up closeted.
TOBIN’S MOM: You know what? I think, a lot of times, I kind of replay your childhood in my head and think about, like, “What could I have done differently?” or “Would it have been easier for you if I had been more aware or knowledgeable?” And so, you know, there — there was that kind of balance of both, like, so much gratitude for understanding and knowing so much more now that — a sadness that I — I didn't know that before.
KATHY: We hear that from so many parents of queer kids, that they just want to know how they can do more or be better.
TOBIN: Yeah, and I do wanna use this last episode to make sure my parents hear this, ‘cause I know they're listening — I think they got it really right. They listened to me, they were supportive. I mean, I think back to how my dad was after I came out:
TOBIN’S DAD: Certainly we've talked about how that it took me a year to re— reframe you in my mind. And — and I told you, I had to drive to work every day saying out loud to myself that I'm the father of a gay man. And that was, uh … it took me time to accept that. And the tears would come only because of my fears about AIDS —
TOBIN’S DAD: and my worry for your health. Uh … But over time, I've seen you mature. And so I’m — I’m much happier that you're happy where you are and I wouldn't have you be any other way. You're the — the exact Tobin Low that I want and so happy to have as a son.
TOBIN: I have to say, that very sweet sentiment is something I heard from both of my parents a whole bunch.
KATHY: Ugh, Tobin! This is no secret — I have literally asked your parents to adopt me.
TOBIN: I know this, because you text them separately from me.
KATHY: Oh, yeah. We are definitely in a group chat.
TOBIN’S DAD: I — I will leave this with Nancy, uh, listeners that I feel more connected to the community — the LGBTQ community — more than ever. Uh, and I would urge you to keep supporting, uh, programs that — that — that share our diversity —
TOBIN’S DAD: — uh, and that w— that would include the new version of Queer Eye.
TOBIN: [NOT QUITE INCREDULOUS, BECAUSE OF COURSE; LAUGHING] You’re going to throw a plug for the new Queer Eye in the show.
TOBIN’S DAD: [NOT QUITE EMBARRASSED] I still have to!
KATHY: Classic Mr. Low. I love it.
[MUSIC ENTERS: SOFT, SAD, AND MEDITATIVE]
TOBIN: So, this being our last episode, I think both of us wanted to make some time just to talk, the two of us.
KATHY: ‘Cause in the end, this whole show is about us. [BOTH LAUGH, WHEEZINGLY]
TOBIN: This is how everyone finds out Kathy is actually a monster!
KATHY: Monster! [BOTH LAUGH, THEN TOBIN ALMOST STARTS TO CRY] Tobin, I want you to tell me about a favorite moment, a favorite memory from — from the show itself.
TOBIN: I really enjoyed, um, the time that I wore heels for the day.
TOBIN: And walked the couple of miles from my apartment at the time to the subway in heels in the rain, and was recording myself along the way and just thought, “This is my job. I'm doing this for my job right now.” [KATHY LAUGHS] “I am learning how to transgress gender for my job.” And that’s pretty cool.
TOBIN: [WALKING IN HEELS, OVER THE SOUND OF RAIN] It’s, like, half a block. I'm already in so much pain. Why?
TOBIN: And I would say, like, when I first started walking, I felt all the things of, like, being very square and very awkward.
TOBIN: [WITH EMPHASIS] One! Step! At! A! Time! Here we go!
TOBIN: And I had to sort of be like, “No, own it!”
TOBIN: I’m just gonna play, in my mind, Lizzo’s “Juice.” Like, and that’s going to get me the rest of the way there.
TOBIN: Like, imagine yourself being tall — like, loosening your hips and really strutting.
[A SNIPPET OF “JUICE” BY LIZZO PLAYS, THEN FADES OUT]
TOBIN: And then I also loved getting to work and having most of the, um, women in the office who sometimes wear heels tell me, “You idiot. You don't have to wear them all the time, walking. You can wear, like, commuter shoes —“ [KATHY LAUGHS] “— and then change into them at work if you really want to.” What about you? Personal favorite memory from the show?
KATHY: Um, I will say, uh, one of my favorite memories — oh, this is not a surprise — um, getting to go visit Katie Herzig in her Nashville home.
TOBIN: Oh, yeah!
KATHY: Who is — Katie — Katie Herzig is one of my favorite singer-songwriters. Um, I just had a feeling that maybe she was working through something. Maybe she was queer, maybe not. I don't know. Then she came out while we were working on the show and I was like, [GASPING, THEN, HURRIEDLY] “I have to go talk to her!” [TOBIN LAUGHS]
[KATIE HERZIG’S MUSIC PLAYS QUIETLY UNDERNEATH]
KATIE HERZIG: I have this thing that was kind of a secret, and I'd never had a secret. And it's just not … Having a secret in life, or having, like, to withhold parts of yourself is just — it eats away at your freedom. I hated that feeling so much.
[KATIE HERZIG’S “LIE OR LIE AWAKE” PLAYS IN THE CLEAR FOR A MOMENT, THEN FADES UNDER]
KATHY: And I remember, you know, we have, like, a pitch process for stories and stuff like that. But this one, I was just — I was sending a message being like, “I'm going!“
TOBIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
KATHY: “And if you stop me, I quit!” [BOTH LAUGH]
TOBIN: I have a mushy-feelings question for you.
KATHY: [GROANING] Oh, okay. Here we go. Feelings.
TOBIN: Being that this is the last time for a bit that we're going to talk to each other, sort of, in this capacity, I think it's a nice time to say anything sort of lingering [A LONG BEAT] that we want to say to each other.
KATHY: A lingering thing. Okay. Well, I will say, I think that before we made the show, I was a queer person, but didn't really matter to me whether or not I was queer. It was like, you know, I was somebody that was like, “It's not the most important thing about me, so let's not talk about it.”
KATHY: Um, but since the show started, I feel like I am so much more happy and more comfortable in my life and where I am with, like, my queerness; with, like, how I relate to other people; with my family.
And I don't think that I could have gotten this far with just therapy. [BOTH LAUGH] I think — I think that it's a huge credit to the show making me, like, look at certain things and educating myself and working with amazing people, like you, and, um — and our contributors, that I just feel so much more — I would say I feel so much more alive now than I did before the show started.
KATHY: So, if I was going to thank one person, that would be [LONG PAUSE] Angelina Jolie. [IMMEDIATELY] I’m just kidding! Tobin.
TOBIN: I knew you were setting me up. I knew you were setting me up!
KATHY: It's Tobin! No, but really like, I don't think I would be where I am now with how, um, about — about where my — my self esteem is at, where my self confidence is, without having gone through all of this stuff with you. So, yeah. That’s, like, kind of to you, Tobin. So I'm raising my LaCroix [A BEAT] to you. [TOBIN LAUGHS]
TOBIN: I want to say how fucking lucky I feel —
TOBIN: — that we met and that we got to do this show together. [THROUGH TEARS, ALMOST OUT OF NOWHERE] Oh, no.
KATHY: [AS IF REACHING OUT] Oh, Tobin!
TOBIN: [CRY-LAUGHING] Um, no, I feel — I feel very lucky that we met and that we got to do this thing together because it's so … I think it is highly unusual to meet somebody that, on so many levels, you gel with and that —
TOBIN: — like, you and I have figured out a way to genuinely be [A BREATH] friends and collaborators and creatively make something, but also, at the end of the day, be able to text each other and be like, “Can you believe this fucking thing happened?” and just like —
KATHY: [LAUGHING] Which we do all the time!
TOBIN: — which we do all the time. And we, like, bitch about things we're both mad about or whatever.
TOBIN: And so, when I look back on the last couple of years … Yes, I love the show. Yes, I love all the things we got to do. Um, but I’m so grateful I got to do it with you.
KATHY: Aww, Tobin, I feel the same way. [A LONG BREATH] You always say it much better than I ever can, which is why I always just say, “What Tobin said.” [TOBIN LAUGHS]
KATHY: This is like a conscious uncoupling, isn't it?
TOBIN: No. I mean, ‘cause, like, we'll probably still do this. It just won't be recorded. [BOTH LAUGH FOR A WHILE] Is there anything you hope the listeners take away from listening to the show?
KATHY: I just hope that people feel less alone. ‘Cause even — even though I have, you know, like, I have a lot of friends in my life — um, ‘cause my family is not that close, despite what you may hear on the show — um, I fill it up with a lot of friends. But I still felt very lonely. And I think, partially, it's because I wasn't super proud and out about who I was, um .... ‘Cause you can still feel lonely with so many people around. So I — I hope that people take away from the show, um, a sense of belonging and a sense of community and a sense of just, um, you know — a lesser sense of loneliness.
TOBIN: Hmm. Yeah.
TOBIN: I would say, “Definitely, same.” I echo all of that. I hope that in telling the stories that we did and having the people on the show that we did, that people walk away from this feeling like there's no one way to be queer —
[GENTLE MUSIC ENTERS FROM SILENCE, LIKE A WIND CHIME]
TOBIN: — that there's so many different, like, flavors and ways of being, and, you know, I think we've said on the show before — or, at least, we've talked about before that, like, being queer doesn't automatically make you an empathetic person. Um, it doesn't automatically make you, like, a good or better person. But it does offer you the ability to be empathetic to anyone who is outside of the, you know, like, quote-unquote, “norm.”
And so, like, I hope listeners to the show take away this idea that there's no one way of being. And so that is your invitation to be empathetic and open to so many ways of being.
[A MOMENT FOR THE MUSIC TO PLAY, A GENTLE MARIMBA]
TOBIN: One thing we always used to joke about — at least, behind the scenes — was that, when the day came that Nancy was coming to a close —
TOBIN: — you and I [A BEAT] would get married. [KATHY BURSTS INTO LAUGHTER] And so I think it's only appropriate that I get down on one knee.
KATHY: Oh, god, Tobin! [BOTH LOSE IT LAUGHING] We've basically been married for three years!
TOBIN: That's true. So why not make it official?
KATHY: [WHISPERED] It would save on health insurance.
TOBIN: [LAUGHING] There you go. That’s my girl! [BOTH LAUGH]
[GENTLE PIANO MUSIC PLAYS]
TOBIN: Alright, Kathy! For the last time, credits!
KATHY: Our amazing producers —
TOBIN: Zakiya Gibbons and B.A. Parker!
KATHY: Our sound designer from the very beginning to the very end —
TOBIN: Jeremy Bloom!
KATHY: Editor extraordinaire —
TOBIN: Sarah Geis!
KATHY: Executive Producer and radio mom and radio mentor and everything else —
TOBIN: Suzie Lechtenberg!
TOBIN: And we also want to thank all the folks who've worked on Nancy. In no particular order —
KATHY: Matt Collette, Jenny Lawton, Paula Szuchman, Alice Wilder, Isabel Angell, Stephanie Joyce, Lulu Miller, Stephanie Foo, Caroline English, everyone at WNYC, as well as every single contributor who helped make Nancy possible.
TOBIN: Also, our former interns and fellows — Cathy “with a C” Wong, Caleb Codding, Elisabeth Dee, Melissa Lent, and Temi Fagbenle.
KATHY: For the very last time, I’m Kathy Tu!
TOBIN: I’m Tobin Low.
KATHY: And Nancy is a production of WNYC Studios.
[MUSIC BECOMES FULLER, MELODIC, AND PLAYS OUT]
KATHY: You know what’s a thing that I regret about the show?
TOBIN: What’s up?
KATHY: We never got to make enough merch. I really wanted a tracksuit. I really wanted sneakers. [TOBIN LAUGHS] I wanted a really cool hat that I could wear sideways and be cool.
TOBIN: You wanted Nancy head-to-toe.
KATHY: Headband, wristwatch.
KATHY: Backpack. Shoelaces. [BOTH LAUGH] Socks. Running shorts. [GRUMBLES]
[THE MUSIC IS GETTING QUIETER]
KATHY: Tank top. Headphones. iPads. [TOBIN CHUCKLES LIGHTLY]
[THE MUSIC IS VERY QUIET NOW]
KATHY: Umm … A tea set.
[ONE FINAL PIANO NOTE, THEN, QUIETLY]
KATHY: Nancy was here.