Sounds Like A Cult

Sounds Like A Cult

A podcast about the modern-day “cults” we all follow. Hosts Isa Medina and Amanda Montell ask the culty questions we’re all wondering… Do you think SoulCycle is a cult? What about Elon Musk stans? Or the Royal Family? What about spiritual influencers? Is Instagram itself a cult? We’re Sounds Like A Cult, a podcast that analyzes a different zeitgeisty group every week to try and answer the big question: This group sounds like a cult, but is it really? And if so, how bad is it? Follow Us: Show Instagram - @soundslikeacultpod Isa Medina - @isaamedinaa Amanda Montell - @amanda_montell Subscribe to our YouTube: Podcast Video


November 28, 2023 54 mins

Sounds Like A Cult has covered doomsday cults, political cults, religious cults ... and this week is where they all join forces – on the much requested: Cult of Reddit! Notorious for forming some of the most niche yet largely endorsed group-thinks on the internet, and even powerful enough to take down institutional pillars…is the Cult of Reddit a Live Your Life, Watch Your Back or a Get the Fuck Out Level Cult? This we...

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ChatGPT could never!!! Over the past year or so, A.I. buzz has obviously risen to cult status, but if you think about it, all this apocalyptic talk of robots rising up and taking over the world lowkey makes us all sound like $ci3nt0l0gists. Is A.I. the newest SciFi cult? And if so, how apocalyptic is it?? To help figure that out, internet reporter Kate Lindsay joins the pod for a thought-provoking discush that's less about the tech...

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November 14, 2023 54 mins

iF yOuRe rEaDiNg thiS yOuRe iN tHe CuLt o.0 This week we are covering the most meta cult yet and one that we are all most definitely a part of: The Cult of Podcasting. From the para-social relationships and us vs them mentality to the larger cult of the podcasting inDusTry – Isa and very special guest, Co-Host of That’s Messed Up, An SVU Podcast from Exactly Right, Kara Klenk, discuss all things Cult of Podcasting. But what do you ...

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November 7, 2023 75 mins

It’s me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me, here with an update to one of our most-streamed episodes of all time, the cult of exalted idol bestie goddess mother queen angel (no, that’s not pandering to the standom! They're not intimidating at all!), Taylor Swift. Somehow, the pop icon’s “cult” has only exploded in size and religiosity since our last discussion, which was uploaded right as Midnights was dropping, pre-Eras Tour. Needless ...

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October 31, 2023 63 mins

At long last, the man/myth/legend, Amanda's dad, Craig Montell, whose riveting stories of his childhood spent in the Synanon cult planted her fascination with all things "cultish," joins as this week's guest. In this *extremely wholesome* episode, Amanda and her pop analyze a quartet of listener-submitted stories, documenting four firsthand experiences with “culty” groups (from military wives to Abercrombie & Fitch) comparing e...

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October 24, 2023 41 mins

If you've been paying attention at all, you know that this weeks cult is growing at a mighty pace. The rate at which Americans and individuals from all over the world have decided to blindly spend all their free time idolizing this secret force is astonishing. On this weeks episode we get into it and discuss the much requested topic of The Cult of Pickleball. From their exclusive language to their outfits, rituals and cliquey us ve...

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October 17, 2023 81 mins

Behold, a re-air of our most popular episode of 2023—The Cult of Momfluencers—which takes on new relevance, thanks to the disturbing recent case of (allegedly) abusive YouTube momfluencer Ruby Franke!

Motherhood is hard, lonely, and exhausting... except, apparently, if you're a momfluencer. Since the mid-2000s, a crop of seemingly perfect, all-knowing mommy goddesses in billowy tunics have emerged on social media—and we can't hel...

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October 10, 2023 67 mins

Anyone who grew up evangelical Christian and/or plugged into teen celebrity news circa 2008 will be familiar with today's cult: Purity Rings. You know, the dainty piece of jewelry placed ritualistically on a teen girl's wedding finger to signify her vow of chastity until marriage, or else?? Purity rings are not just an accessory—they're a bonafide industry, complete with rules, ceremonies, secrets, veiled threats, and religious tra...

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October 3, 2023 58 mins

The Cult of Bachelorette Parties is one we have all been a part of, whether from an observational distance or as a member yourself, this cult spares no one. This week, Isa is joined by a very special guest: comedian, host of Giggly Squad and Berner Phone Podcasts, and once a bachelorette herself, the hilarious Hannah Berner (@hannahberner). Tune in as they chat about how culty Hannah’s bachelorette party really got – we’re talking ...

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September 26, 2023 37 mins

To his fanatics, he's an inspiring businessman, marketing guru, tough-love motivational speaker, and blue-collar-masculine embodiment of the American Dream; but, to his critics, he's just a bro-y blowhard—a grandstanding motormouth whom Fortune Magazine once called a "snake oil salesman." We're talking about Gary Vaynerchuck, aka Gary Vee, a serial entrepreneur whose multi-pronged "empire" and cult of personality scream god complex...

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September 12, 2023 49 mins

Why does it seem like certain "life coaches" are exactly the kinda folks who shouldn't be giving life advice? The unregulated life coaching industry is perfectly set up to turn culty: It's rife with New Age quacks charging thousands to tell others how to live, but also... hiring a brainstorming partner to help you work through sh*t during times of uncertainty *does* sound beneficial? Tricky!! This week, Amanda and Isa are joined by...

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September 5, 2023 53 mins

Strap on your steampunk lewks and get ready to blast off to the dusty, glittery, and undeniably culty alternate universe that is Burning Man—an event explicitly inspired by the New Age fringe religions of the 1970s. ~Join us~ for Amanda and Isa's lol-worthy chat with Em and Christine, hosts of the paranormal-true crime podcast And That's Why We Drink. We're unpacking the countercultural carnival's eccentric (sometimes deadly) ritua...

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Before we return with regularly structured episodes next week (stay tuned for the "cult" of Burning Man!), here's another ad-free bonus episode featuring a rerun of our most-listened to episode of all time, The Cult of Disney Adults. Re-listen and/or skip to the 52-minute mark for a bonus Q&A with your hosts, Amanda and Isa!

Get Tickets to Isa's comedy show in NYC September 22nd - Get Tix here

To support Sounds Like A Cult,...

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August 22, 2023 43 mins

A heavily controlled, totally isolated group of women who worship one "charismatic” male figure and aren’t allowed to read magazines, watch TV, or speak to their families… is this a cult or the most popular reality dating show in history? This week, we’re re-airing one of our fave Season 1 episodes with a new, updated intro. It’s the “cult” of The Bachelor Franchise, featuring special guest, former contestant, Kendall Long! We got ...

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Time to spill some never-before-heard culty tales: This week, Amanda and Isa are reacting to shocking cult stories submitted by you listeners! Many thanks to those who wrote in to share their personal brushes with New Age scams, love-bombing strangers, elementary school rituals that seem sus in retrospect, and more. Traditional religion may be on the decline, but our cravings for meaning and magic are stronger than ever, which isn'...

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August 8, 2023 57 mins

For an episode spicier than an inflight bloody Mary, Isa and Amanda are joined by comedian and frequent flyer Fumi Abi (@TheFumiAbe) for a conversation on the unexpectedly cultlike nature of airline loyalty programs. From spending countless hours chasing elusive miles to believing you're just one step away from flying on a golden unicorn, these programs can be as delusional and deceptive as a New Age compound in Hudson Valley. But ...

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July 25, 2023 45 mins

~Join us~ as Isa and Amanda unpack the "cult" of the Peace Corps—its peculiar rituals of initiation, close-knit camaraderie that borders on religious obsession, unwavering devotion to a higher cause, and (wait a second) abuse and murder?? Thanks to insightful listener call-ins, we reveal the eerie similarities that make this hallowed American organization an uncanny mirror to cult-like communities. 

To support Sounds Like A Cult o...

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July 18, 2023 61 mins

Get ready for some no holds barred sh*t-talking, culties, because this week, Amanda and Isa are joined by the hosts of the motherhood-themed "I've Had It" podcast for a wild discussion of how PTA Moms are kindaaa just like a cult. Relentless groupthink, wacky power dynamics, oh my... this conversation will leave you questioning bake sales forever.

To support Sounds Like A Cult on Patreon, keep up with our live show dates, see Isa'...

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July 11, 2023 61 mins

You're sure to *devour* this week's episode analyzing four generations of wealthy men who, in our little opinion, represent a stunning example of how a powerful American family can resemble a cult. This week, Isa and Amanda are joined by a third co-host of sorts, true crime TikTokker and friend of the pod Lauren Skae (@thezenblonde), who's here to help tell the harrowing story of The Hammer Family, including actor Armie Hammer, who...

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July 4, 2023 52 mins

It sounds like an episode of Black Mirror: 18-year-old kids are sacrificing their futures and signing their incomes away for the chance to move into a #sponsored Southern California mansion and dedicate every waking moment to the pursuit of online virality. Are TikTok Social Houses an innocuous influencer trend or something more like Heaven's Gate for the 21st Century? This week, Amanda and Isa are joined by performer and Scam Godd...

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