Episode 154: Brooke Arnold
“Other ATI beliefs that I learned range from utterly bizarre to downright barbaric,” Brooke Arnold writes in the essay, I Could Have Been a Duggar Wife, “like the creator of Cabbage Patch Kid dolls is actually a Satanic wizard who implants demons into the dolls that then sneak into children’s bodies while they are sleeping — along with the old standard that rock music is inherently sinful.” The story’s subhed labeled Arnold a “real-life Kimmy Schmidt,” as she exposed a laundry list of horrors perpetrated by the Advanced Training Institute, a fundamentalist homeschooling program that helped give rise to reality TV stars, the Duggar family. A week later, Salon published a followup in which Arnold admitted that if she had know how large a splash the story would cause, she “ would not have had the courage to press ‘send’ on the pitch,” while adding that the positive response from women with similar backgrounds ultimately made the decision worthwhile. The story also, naturally, helped raise the profile of a comedian working to establish a name for herself in the big city, as well as helping to inspired the creation of the forthcoming comedic memoir, Growing Up Fundie. We sat down to discuss starting over again in the big city and creating comedy from personal tragedy.