The Spotify podcast ‘FOGO: Fear of Going Outside’ is coming back for a second season on February 13th, available on all platforms. In the first season Ivy conquered camping, and she’s back for another season, braving the outdoors to go hunting – or die trying.
FOGO: Fear of Going Outside is a nature show – by the most reluctant host ever. Most nature shows are hosted by reckless white men, but avid indoorswoman Ivy Le is an Asian mom with severe allergies. In case you aren’t yet familiar, Ivy is a Vietnamese American stand-up comedian, actress, and writer based in Austin, Texas.
In addition to creating FOGO, Ivy co-hosts the only queer comedy mic in Austin, co-produces Austin Sketch Fest, and performs at comedy festivals all over the country. She speaks Spanish, German, Vietnamese, and English, and is a mom of two rad kids. She is currently writing a script about a ninja who decides to level up her life by going to coding camp and an essay collection: Elder Bisexual.
In FOGO Season 2 you will hear Ivy bravely…
- Go on a second amendment talk radio show, trying to borrow a gun
- Take down Teddy Roosevelt
- Beg and bribe prospective hunting mentors like Don Nguyen (Naked & Afraid) to take her hunting
- Butcher a whole hog with chef-hunter Jesse Griffiths
- Track animals with a 14 year-old Girl Scout
…and run into just about every obstacle there is to becoming a first-time hunter!
FOGO is featured on Delta flights and recommended by The Guardian, CBC, Oprah and, inexplicably, Outside Magazine. Ivy was selected to be one of the 10 out of 18,000 applicants to go through Spotify’s first SoundUp podcast accelerator for women of color.
We had the chance to catch Ivy before she heads out on her Season 2 adventure, to learn more about her dislike for the outdoors, the reaction she has received from Asian American listeners, and why she thinks forests are a scam!
How did the idea for the FOGO podcast initially come about?
I wanted to make a show where my point of view mattered, but that wasn’t about everything terrible about being a woman of color, yknow? I do care about those issues, but I’m also a really fun person. I realized that I watch all these nature shows, but what is nature is a social construct! I love nature shows, but they never ask the questions I really want to know. There are just no nature shows from the indoor perspective – even though MOST people are indoors.
FOGO is launching its second season this month, what can listeners expect to hear from the self-described “avid indoors woman, Asian mom with severe allergies”?
In season 1, I did everything it takes to figure out how to go camping, and I actually did it. This season, I do everything- and I mean everything- it takes to figure out how to go hunting. To me, as an indoorswoman, outdoor stuff is just one broad stroke, so I saw hunting and camping as existing in the same bucket of white nonsense. By the time I figured out they are, in fact, very very different, and most outdoorspeople wouldn’t even hazard to go hunting, it was too late to turn back. All I can tell you is that whatever you think is going to happen in season 2, you’re probably wrong.
Despite “fear” being the first word in the title, you are actually pretty damn brave to go beyond your comfort zone in so many ways. How has your tolerance level for the outdoors changed since doing this podcast?
That’s sweet of you to say. My tolerance hasn’t changed at all, but my expertise has gone way way up. It feels surreal to know so much about something I have zero interest in. One day, I’m going to be on my deathbed wishing I’d read all the Great Novels of world literature, but I was busy learning about rattlesnake first aid and never ended up using it once.
What has been the reaction been from your kids, as well as others within the Asian community when listening to FOGO?
My kids find the show boring and chide me when they hear me cussing on it. I don’t care. Those kids are broke anyway.
So far, I have gotten an amazing response from grown Asian listeners – indoorsy and outdoorsy! I’ve even had some listeners show up at my comedy shows in person, which is a trip!! They get my jokes, which makes anyone feel less alone, and comedians even moreso. And the thing about Asian people – we really do show love through food. I love that about us. Like, once, a fan brought me barbecue sauces from a camping trip they took, and I used it to make late night ribs after the show. It was awesome. If you’re a fan and you’re planning on coming to a show, please shower me with boba milk tea. These comedy clubs are hardly ever in a place where I can grab a boba before the show.
Who have been some of the most surprising guests or moments on the show that even you did not expect?
I got trapped in a sleeping bag on the REI sales floor in Season 1, Episode 4. I was vaguely aware that there are probably racial and economic disparities in the outdoors. I did not expect to be too thicc for the outdoors. In Season 2, Episode 1, I went on a 2nd Amendment talk radio show, and I was really surprised to find out that most gun guys are not hunters. In fact, hunters are pretty chill about gun control, because most gun control proposals don’t really affect them. Like who cares about a 3 day waiting period when they have to wait 9 months until the next hunting season anyway?
You talk about having a good “BS meter” when it comes to nature. What has been some of the BS you’ve uncovered or talk about on the pod?
Forests are a scam, girl. They are BARELY green. Bobcats are actually kind of small. And a LOT of trails and campsites have bathrooms, so the threat of pooping in the woods is greatly exaggerated to scare us hot girls off.
For other indoor aficionados who are unsure about exploring the outdoors, what do you hope they will learn from your podcast and stories?
It’s not quite as dangerous as it seems, and it’s definitely not as cool as it looks. If you’re not interested, just listen to my show instead. But don’t NOT go, because someone else makes you feel like you don’t have the right expensive supplies or have the right skills to be out there. These people don’t know how to cut their own mangoes, ok?
I went hiking for the show. Do you know what hiking turned out to be? It was just walking! Walking!!!! Oh my god, these outdoor people rebranded walking, and we can’t let them get away with it. I promise, you still know how to walk outside. Don’t believe me? Pack some killer snacks, some water, sunscreen because that UV ages you, and go “hiking” with some friends.