About Inappropriate Questions
People are curious, and that's great. But there are some questions that just shouldn't be asked (or at least, not like that).
Inappropriate Questions is a podcast and webcomic that explores and deconstructs invasive questions often asked to different communities. Whether it’s “What are you?”, “Can you have sex?”, or “Why don’t you drink?”, the show explores what these questions imply, their social and historical contexts, and why people ask them.
Each episode, hosts Elena “#millennial” Hudgins Lyle and Harvinder “just a dad” Wadhwa speak to guests and experts who’ve been on the receiving ends of these questions. Our unlikely duo each bring different perspectives to these topics, and tons of dad jokes long the way (though not always from the dad)!
The goal of the show is to start conversations that promote learning in a respectful, non-intrusive manner. We recognize that the people asking these questions often have good intentions. At the same time, we know good intentions don’t make these questions okay to ask. So how can we be equally curious, but with more respect? We don’t have all the answers, but believe that exploring these questions is a start.
Hosts – Elena Hudgins Lyle (23) is a newly graduated “millennial,” just starting her career in radio. Harvinder Wadhwa (51) is the middle-aged dad of Elena’s close friend. He works at a bank and loves economics podcasts. These two never thought they’d one day have a podcast together.
Guests – Each episode features guests who have a lived experience with the question. With our hosts, we get into their story and perspective on what issues may arise from the question. Our guests are always part of the communities they’re speaking on, and are often activists, writers, creators or scholars whose work focuses on the topic of the episode.
The Community – Each episode also features voice clip submissions from various members of the community in focus.
Each podcast episode is accompanied by a short one-page webcomic. In our webcomics, artists from around the world share their experience with an inappropriate question. As with our guests, each artist is a member of the community we’re focusing on in that particular episode.
The webcomics are available on the respective episode pages on our website, as well as social media.
Inappropriate Questions is produced in Toronto and was incubated at the Ryerson University Transmedia Zone. It is supported by the Johnny Lombardi Creative Endowment Award and the David and Anna Bulmash Innovation Award.
The overall podcast has a Clean rating, though specific episodes may be listed as Explicit for language and content.
Inappropriate Questions is created and produced by a group of four Media Production graduates, and one Harv. Our team is comprised of women, people of colour, and queer people, and we hope to reflect our diverse experiences by creating media that includes and celebrates marginalized voices.
Individual bios for the team members can be found here.
DOWNLOAD PRESS KIT
You can download the contents of this press kit here or via the button below:
Episodes: The first season includes 6 full episodes and additional bonus episodes, ranging between 25-35 minutes each.
Schedule: Inappropriate Questions releases weekly on Tuesdays, starting February 5th.
The trailer for the first season of Inappropriate Questions is available in the following formats:
Video with captions:
Transcript available here.
Images from this gallery can be downloaded here.
“Working with Inappropriate Questions has been an amazing experience. The team is smart, dedicated, professional and it was an honour to meet the guests! Each one is so inspirational and I wondered how could a person so young accomplish so much. Through this podcast I’ve become a better person and I truly hope that listeners feel the same way.”
—Harvinder Wadhwa, co-host of Inappropriate Questions and a dad
“As a mixed-race person who has been asked "What are you?" in many of its inappropriate forms, I leapt at the chance to create a webcomic for IQ Podcast! This project not only merges two of my favourite forms of media, it also centres those who can speak authentically about the topic of each episode, offering as many perspectives as possible. Collaborating with this kind, supportive team was a real highlight of my year.”
—Sara Lee, webcomic artist for episode 2, “What are you?”
“This podcast is a respectful journey into the taboo topics of the world we live in, executed with love, wonder and humour.”
—Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe, CBC Music host
“A playful and curious approach to necessary conversations.”
—Katie Jensen, producer of The Secret Life of Canada and co-founder of Vocal Fry Studios
“It’s so rare that you get to hear the actual nuances of these very awkward, very real conversations about really personal questions. The host combination is so unique—you don’t get to hear the generation gap in such stark clarity every day. Inappropriate Questions makes it clear that people aren’t hesitant to answer personal questions if they are asked from a place of empathy and curiosity.”
—Pippa Johnstone, host of Word Bomb podcast and Associate Producer of CBC’s PlayME
How did this project come to be?
As a group of minorities ourselves (as women, as people of colour, as queer individuals), we know what it’s like to be asked questions that make us uncomfortable. But at the same time, we know that most people have good intentions, and may not realize that these questions can be inappropriate. So we like to joke that we started this podcast so we could complain for school credit.
The podcast began as an inkling of an idea in early 2017, when we needed to come up with a thesis project as media production students. We brainstormed a lot of other ideas, but something about this one stuck. We didn’t end up using it as our thesis, but we found it a home in the Transmedia Zone—a creative incubator at our university—and began to work on it as a more-than-passion project. And that’s how Inappropriate Questions was born!
—Sabrina Bertsch, Managing Producer
I don’t think _____ question is inappropriate.
It might not be! In each episode, we begin from a place of exploration. With the guests, we look at what the question implies, regardless of intention of the asker. We talk about contexts in which it may be more appropriate, and whether there is a time and place that it’s a good question to ask. So no, the questions may not necessarily be inappropriate, but we thought this title was a bit catchier than “Potentially Inappropriate Questions”.
—Cindy Long, Editor and Audio Producer
How did Harv get involved?
In the early stages of this project, we recognized that we didn’t want to only be preaching to the choir. Our team was made of members of a similar demographic: young, female, university-educated, socially aware. We wanted to bring in a different perspective, someone who would ask the questions we wouldn’t think to ask. So through a brief casting process, we found Harv!
—Elena Hudgins Lyle, Co-Host and Audio Producer
Through my daughter, I heard that Elena was looking for a "dad" for a podcast she was doing. Of course, this was a euphemism for an ignorant person. This was the first time I had heard that being ignorant was a strength. Well, it is apparent that I was able to impress the team with my strengths!
—Harvinder Wadhwa, Co-Host
We would love to make a second season, because there are so many more questions to explore! However, the team is busy with full-time jobs and learning how to be Adults™, so we may not be able to put out more episodes right away. Keep an eye out on our website and social media for updates on season two!
—Cindy Long, Editor and Audio Producer