‘The Simpsons’ Star Yeardley Smith on Hosting True-Crime Podcast  ‘Small Town Dicks’

Three words to describe this podcast: The real deal

Yeardley Smith

“Small Town Dicks.” Two words I tend to avoid when used in the same sentence — “Small” and “Town.” I’m more of a city girl myself. But this podcast has me yelling “I Love ‘Small Town Dicks’” from my balcony. (I saw a video of people in Italy dancing and shouting things from their rooftops, so I tried to do the same. It didn’t go as planned. I have now been banned from all post-quarantine neighborhood barbecues and the 4th of July parade viewing party. But, who needs friends when you have a binge-worthy podcast like “Small Town Dicks” to keep you occupied?

In case you haven’t heard of or listened to “Small Town Dicks” yet, we asked host Yeardley Smith (you may know her as the voice of Lisa Simpson from “The Simpsons”) all about her true-crime series, what it’s like to host a successful podcast and what tips she’s learned for staying safe!

Tell us about “Small Town Dicks.”
It’s a true-crime podcast that I co-host with identical-twin detectives Dan and Dave, where all of the cases we cover are told by the detectives who investigated them.

We love the name! How did you choose it?
Detective Dan actually chose the name! Never shy about poking fun at themselves, Dan and Dave both have great senses of humor. Dan thought “dicks” being the noir-film slang for “detectives,” was a fitting ode to his and Dave’s penchant for gallows humor. In hindsight, the title belies the deep reverence we hold for the victims and their families on our podcast, but we still love it. 🙂

This podcast is for the girl who…
Tells her husband/wife/dog/kids: “Just one more episode…” and ends up binging the past five seasons in one sitting!

Three words that describe this podcast are…
The real deal.

Do you have a favorite episode? If so which one?
This is the hardest question I get! Honestly, the first-person accounts of these investigations are so compelling I can’t choose just one. I have to name at least three (in no particular order): “The Bitter End,” “Impact” and “Rampage.” But also: “The Sociopath and the Whitleblower,” “Crime & Punishment” and “If These Walls Could Talk.” (See? I can’t choose just one). ☺

How does making a serial podcast differ from say a television show?
Well, on “The Simpsons” I only have one job: Be the voice of Lisa Simpson. On “Small Town Dicks” I do whatever is needed to help produce a top-notch podcast. So, I co-host, but I also edit. I read the ads that go into our episodes (often roping Dan or one of our producers into the melee). I do most of the interviews about the podcast and I personally engage with our fans on Twitter and Instagram as often as I can. Basically, no job is too big or too small. Which is a motto I share with everyone on our tiny team.

How does “Small Town Dicks” differ from other podcasts?
When we launched “Small Town Dicks” in September 2017, there were hardly any podcasts that offered first-hand accounts of investigations. That particular point of view was mostly reserved for unscripted televisions shows on networks like Oxygen and ID. But now there are quite a few first-hand, true-crime podcasts and I say, the more the merrier!

The other thing that I think sets our podcast apart is that in addition to hearing about the twists and turns of each investigation and how the dominoes need to line up perfectly in order for justice to be served, you get a glimpse inside the hearts and minds of these detectives. As the layperson sitting across the table from Detectives Dan and Dave and our incredible guests, I always think how they do what they do, and why? I want to know who they are when they go home at night when they’ve just spent the last 12 hours encountering the worst of humankind? And then how do they do it again on Tuesday?!

Being that this is a true crime podcast, what advice do you have for us on staying safe?

  1. Don’t leave anything in your car that a person could see if they looked through the window. For instance, if you have a phone charger, hide it completely. Or, better yet, take it with you. Because if a thief catches a glimpse of that charger, they’re likely to break in just in case there’s also a phone in the car, or something else valuable that they can steal.
  2. Don’t leave the garage door opener in the unlocked glove box of your car because if a thief breaks into your car on the street and rummages through the glove box, he/she could easily take your garage door opener and then get your address from your car insurance or registration. Now they know where you live, and armed with the garage door opener, might decide to come rob your house. I know, terrifying, right?!?
  3. Don’t be embarrassed to ask someone to walk you to your car if you feel uneasy about walking alone, regardless of the time of day or night! Most people are happy to help.
  4. Last, but not least, Detectives Dan and Dave often say if someone tries to assault you, fight like your life depends on it! Because it very well might.

What’s the secret to having a successful podcast?

YS: To me, the secret to having a successful podcast is the same as having a successful anything. I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe you can reverse-engineer success. So my advice is always: love what you do and be prepared to do it for a long time. Because the stories of becoming an overnight success are few and far between — and probably false anyway.