“It’s really important that LGBTQ+ lives don’t have so much mystery around them, so being able to have a laugh while sharing things that often aren’t talked about is great,” says Michael Chakraverty of Sticky Bun Boys, the podcast he hosts alongside David Atherton. After rising to fame on The Great British Bake Off’s 10th season, the duo recently decided to launch the series as a lighthearted way to review the show and answer listeners’ baking and dating woes. “The reaction has really blown us away,” David tells GAY TIMES, with Michael adding that “people are always shocked that we have dating and sex lives”. He continues: “I think perhaps it’s because of the ‘pastoral’ nature of Bake Off which is sort of sex-less, even though it leans into the innuendo. That divide is really fascinating to us, and we’re absolutely all about filling the gaps in between.”
Read ahead for our full Q&A with David and Michael, where they discuss what inspired Sticky Bun Boys, their plans for its future and the importance of LGBTQ+ representation.
What made you decide to start Sticky Bun Boys?
MICHAEL: We’ve always sent each other really long rambling voice notes over WhatsApp about whatever we’re watching or listening to: reviews of Drag Race, Pottery Throwdown, various murder podcasts. They became so long that we started referring to them as our weekly podcast, and it just felt like the next logical step!
DAVID: It was the natural conclusion, really. Plus, it’s an excuse to get to hang out each week which is always nice. We also thought having a listener questions/stories section would be a lot of fun for us to gossip and share advice and our thoughts!
What has the reaction from fans been to the podcast?
DAVID: The reaction has really blown us away. We knew there was a gap in the market for a young, fun Bake Off review podcast that doesn’t take itself too seriously – but we thought it would take a long time to build a fan base! We’re producing this podcast with our friend Alex and recording in Michael’s living room (or on his bed when the neighbours are being rowdy) – so it’s a home-grown effort!
MICHAEL: It’s really important, I think, that our listeners feel like they’re sitting in the living room (or bedroom!) together with us – so we really want it to feel professional and polished, but with enough rough bits that people know that it’s all coming from us. I think that authenticity is what’s bringing people on-board, and we’re really loving the wee community that’s sprung up around the podcast – it’s the best part!
You both took part in GBBO, which is known for its puns and innuendos. How did this influence the type of podcast you wanted to make and the decision to cover not only the episode, but advice on dating and things of that nature?
DAVID: We wanted the podcast to fit naturally with our personalities so originally we weren’t thinking of Bake Off. When doing a podcast like this it has to be natural. We definitely wanted the podcast to be poppy and fun, and that comes from us having fun. We’ve both done lots of different things after Bake Off, and often social media makes it look like they’re all fun, but the reality can be different. This podcast however has been the best experience. We’ve genuinely loved every second of it and hopefully that comes across in the recording. We knew we wanted the podcast to be a bit naughty and the combination of a Bake Off review, and an agony aunt section just married perfectly.
MICHAEL: It’s a really funny one – we’re both big fans of pushing innuendos as far as they can go, and we enjoy feeling unfiltered with the podcast. That said, people are always shocked that we have dating and sex lives which is strange. I think perhaps it’s because of the ‘pastoral’ nature of Bake Off which is sort of sex-less, even though it leans into the innuendo. That divide is really fascinating to us, and we’re absolutely all about filling the gaps in between. There’s no reason for LGBTQ+ dating, relationships and sex to have mystery surrounding them, and we might as well have a lot of fun while doing so!
Have there been any stories from listeners that have stood out to you for any particular reason?
MICHAEL: I love the dating mishaps that get told as stories, they often come out of left-field and can be hilarious. One that springs to mind was an unfortunate incident that involved a couple spicing up things in the bedroom in a whole new way through unintentionally introducing habanero peppers, or someone else whose partner started using a countdown in a most inappropriate way. The flip side of this has also been some really touching, vulnerable and earnest messages from people asking for advice on coming out, or from parents of queer children. It’s been incredible to hear these stories and questions from people across the world.
DAVID: It really makes our week reading through them and deciding which ones to feature. It seems like a lot of people use our inbox as therapy, but what’s really nice is that by being open and sharing stories we can make other people going through a similar issue more comfortable. If we get enough e-mails from our listeners we’ll soon be able to provide a matchmaking service as well as a podcast.
Both you and GBBO have big LGBTQ+ followings. Why do you think discussing topics around identity and sexuality is so important on a public platform, such as your podcast?
MICHAEL: I get tired of hearing about ‘diversity’ when really, people mean ‘representation’. We are so lucky to be where we are and to be able to produce what we’re producing – it really does show how far we’ve come, but there’s a long way to go. It’s really important that LGBTQ+ lives don’t have so much mystery around them, so being able to have a laugh while sharing things that often aren’t talked about is great. We want to offer a positive perspective wherever we can.
DAVID: Both of us feel very strongly about LGBTQ+ advocacy, and this doesn’t always have to be serious. We’ve made a lot of progress getting queer issues and lives mainstream, but with hate LGBTQ+ hate crimes on the rise and the wave of attacks against trans people across almost every MSM outlet, there is still so much more to do. We’re basically making the podcast that we would both have like to listen to while we were in the closet and craving queer media.
Are there any things you’re hoping to explore on Sticky Bun Boys in the future that you haven’t already?
DAVID: We have no boundaries or filters and we’re ready to explore anything that our listeners bring to our attention. We particularly like tackling issues that would be seen as taboo so please write in if you have any burning questions or stories.
MICHAEL: We’re absolutely going to be keeping everyone’s buns sticky for a while yet. We’ll be diving into past series of Bake Off for watch-a-longs and have plans to broaden our range to watch other television series in the future. We want to keep getting special guests on, and most of all we want to hear the brilliant stories and questions that really make the podcast what it is!
You can listen to new episodes of Sticky Bun Boys every Friday below or by clicking here.