Carolina Barlow On Podcasting, Producing & Being Will Ferrell’s Wing-Woman

Carolina Barlow at the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards, Los Angeles, USA, 17 Jan 2020. Photo by AFF-USA/Shutterstock

We know what you’re doing right now – taking a break from work to do some hardcore snooping on insta to see if Jlo has posted any more loved up pics of her and new/old flame Ben Affleck. Are they trolling us? Do they like the attention? Will they officially appear in public soon? And will there finally be a Bennifer wedding? All great questions, that one person in particular is qualified to answer.

Meet comedian, producer and podcaster Carolina Barlow, who hosts the iHeartMedia podcast “True Romance”, where she and Devin Leary guide listeners through the trials and tribulations of public and personal love stories.

They have been there for each other’s best and worst romantic moments, that’s what best friends do! Both come deeply obsessed with relationship dramas and neuroses. As steadfast romantics, they want to hear and discuss everyone’s love stories: how they made it, how they did it, and in what positions.

Aside from “True Romance”, Carolina also co-hosts “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” with the on-screen Ron Burgundy himself, Will Ferrell. In the producing realm, she has worked with Will at his production company Gloria Sanchez for 6 years, and is clearly well versed in the notion of marrying comedy with romance in ways that captivate an audience.

So while we’re all on the Bennifer 2.0 train, we wanted to speak with Carolina about “True Romance” in order to feed this obsession, as well as get an inside glimpse on how the comedy genre is changing for women. But first, take a listen to a recent episode:

Tell us how the idea for the True Romance podcast first came about?

I’ve always been obsessed with relationships. I love stalking couples online and analyzing my friends’ boyfriends. My best friend Devin and I had been unlucky with dating for years and then both found ourselves in amazing relationships. We wanted to make a podcast that reflected our arc from insane drunk lunatics to women happy in love. We pitched this idea to iHeart and they loved it! And then a week before we recorded our pilot episode, my boyfriend dumped me and Los Angeles shut down for the pandemic. The tone of our podcast became…what now?

It’s so easy to get hooked on stories about other people’s relationships and want to analyze what is happening (example – Bennifer 2.0). Why do you think there is such an appetite for this genre?

Dating is so vulnerable, embarrassing and painful. The only viable reason to participate in such awkward social interaction is for this idea of true love and a happy ending. Or finding a family. But the actual quest is both tragic and hilarious. You’re trying to sound cool, shave off all your body hair and not overshare on the first date. You’re trying to play hard to get but also…you want to get laid. Maybe I’m just speaking about myself now. But I know that when people start telling the truth about what dating is really like, it’s a relief.

You and your co-host Devin look at celeb romances but also other stories. How do you pick and choose which story to focus on in each episode?

It’s really what we’re currently fixated on. The other night we started recording late because we were debating why Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston split up. We usually have a topical piece of pop culture to discuss but will easily get pulled back to a story from 15 years ago that we both remember the details. Being obsessive gives you a good memory. Khloe Kardashian and Chloe Grace Moretz had a feud 7 years ago, and we could give you the play by play right now. And yes, I could have used this brain space for greater purposes.

Aside from ‘True Romance’, you also co-host the Ron Burgundy podcast with Ron himself, aka Will Ferrell, where he discusses current topics of the day. What have been your fave episodes to work on?

Oh Gosh. So many. We interviewed Vice President Harris when she was a Senator and running for the Presidency. We were all in awe. 

We also did some musical episodes together. We sang with some of my old friends from high school, from the band Dawes. We sang nursery rhymes with my favorite composer, Jon Brion. It always gets weird with Ron.

What do you think it is about the podcast format that allows for comedy and conversation in a way that is different to film and TV?

There’s less hoops to jump through. Especially with Conal Byrne and his crew at iHeart, there’s a feeling of courage and experimentation that I find rare and so exciting.

There’s also a comfort level for guests on podcasts that can’t be translated to TV. Our guests show up in their pajamas and talk about their last breakup. I’m sorry to Letterman, but you’re not going to find the same vulnerability there.

Carolina Barlow and Will Ferrell. She has been working at his production company Glora Sanchez for over 6 years.

Speaking of which, you have been working alongside Will Ferrell at his production company Gloria Sanchez for 6 years. Can you share more about your role and what it has been like to work with Will?

Will is an icon and a really friendly one at that. He is a kind genius which is not something to take for granted. Behind his humor is an incredible moral center and he takes integrity seriously.

People assume he is some kind of crazy man doing bits all day, but he’s really a professional who loves his family, art and making people laugh. I could go on forever. 

I’ve been his assistant for awhile now, and I’ve become wiser, kinder and more perceptive under his wing.

He has spoken before of the way he wants to champion female-driven content. Given your insider perspective behind the scenes, how has Gloria been pushing for change in Hollywood in this way?

Will Ferrell and his partner Jessica Elbaum have simply championed women, but also women who are writing and directing for the first time. They work with people who don’t have any awards under their belt, who are nervous, but Will and Jess have such a good eye for talent and hold much faith in these artists, that the work speaks for itself. They’re courageous.

Given your career as a comedian working in so many different areas, how has the general landscape changed for other women comedians for the better?

I’m not sure. It seems like it’s still an uphill battle. I mean…there’s the wage gap. I think right now we have to stop talking about women like we’re all in one congealed group. BIPOC women don’t get the same opportunities as white women. Sierra Ornelas is a Navajo American who co created this amazing show Rutherford Falls. It’s the best show that didn’t receive any Emmy nominations. Progress feels slow most days.

Final serious question: what IS going on with Bennifer 2.0 and what are your predictions for the couple?

I want a Royal Wedding turnout for this couple. I want it to be covered like the Super Bowl. If they elope I’m going to be so pissed.

Subscribe and listen to Carolina’s ‘True Romance’ podcast series by clicking HERE.