The Origin of “Where Are the Bodies Garth?” [Brooks]

For the last couple of years I’ve been noticing it. And if you’re a fan of Garth Brooks or just a general fan of country music, you may have noticed it too. There are an inordinate amount of people in the comments sections of anything having to do with Garth Brooks asking the country music superstar and best selling music artist in American history, “Where are the bodies Garth?”

At first I just assumed it was some sort of organically-generated viral joke. With his aw shucks attitude, his alligator tears, and his often overly-sentimental disposition, it just seemed like a funny juxtaposition to allude that Garth Brooks has a closet full of skeletons, literally. Regardless of what you think of Garth Brooks or his music, it’s pretty clear he makes himself an easy target, and always has. He’s Garth.

But falling down a rabbit hole while looking for an explanation for why so many average Joes were asking him where he hid the bodies, I uncovered an entire enterprise to troll ol’ Garth in a way that’s reached some of the highest echelons of American entertainment. Admittedly, I’m a little bit behind the curve delving into this whole thing. But something tells me I’m not alone.

The origination point for not just asking, “Where are the bodies Garth?” but a whole slew of trolling remarks comes from comedian Tom Segura, and his wife and fellow comedian Christina P., short for Pazsitzky. The two have a podcast together called Your Mom’s House. Garth Brooks—and what they perceive as his fake persona—have been a favorite topic of theirs for years, going back at least to 2018. In fact, the duo has found such traction with the topic, it’s been one of the prevailing themes of the podcast.

In 2018, as Garth Brooks was previewing his big stadium tour, the duo mercilessly lit into Garth for his transparent everyman shtick, and for being super awkward on social media as an artist that came up without it, and transitioned into it later in life. But it was on their November 28th, 2018 episode of Your Mom’s House (#476) with Fahim Anwar that Tom Segura first alluded that he (jokingly) thought that maybe Garth Books was a serial killer.

“We’ve been really, really on one with Garth Brooks the last few weeks, or months really,” Tom says near the beginning of the 5-minute Garth discussion centering around a Garth appearance at the Country Music Hall of Fame announcing the stadium tour. Then Segura pontificates later about Garth’s unusual mannerisms, “What he’s thinking about is all the bodies he’s got stacked in graves in his yard, for sure. He’s probably killed 200-300 people in his life.”

“I just want to go with a dash of Asperger’s,” Christina P. replies.

What’s interesting about the exchange is that it really is just a rather unremarkable moment—more like a passing thought or bad joke than something that would inspire a cultural phenomenon. The comment doesn’t really evoke any laughter from Tom Segura’s co-hosts, or any other significant reaction. But over time and by reinforcing the idea, the silly notion that Garth Brooks is secretly a serial killer caught fire. Tom Segura’s fans took the comment like marching orders, dive bombing all of the comments sections of Garth’s social media posts and other places with “Where are the bodies Garth?”

This was reinforced by other segments on the Your Mom’s House podcast over the last few years, including ones titled, “Garth Brooks Sucks,” “What’s Wrong With Garth?,” “Garth’s Beard Looks Insane,” “Garth Brooks Cries About EVERYTHING,” and most notably, “Where Are The Bodies Garth?” And that’s just the start. There are many more segments than this, and on other podcasts beyond Your Mom’s House. And let’s just remember, these folks are comedians. They’re just having fun.

One thing that has helped fuel the phenomenon is that Garth Brooks seems blissfully unaware of what is happening and that he’s the butt of a joke, or that he just doesn’t care. As time has gone on, the comments have evolved from the original “Where are the bodies, Garth?” to other variations such as “Garth, the families need closure,” and “Garth, please return my Grandma,” to other comments tied somehow to the Your Mom’s House podcast like “I got a DUI,” and “touch my camera through the fence.” Often, if not regularly, the troll comments are what dominate the comment sections of Garth Brooks social media posts.

About a year ago, Tom Segura broke it all down for the uninitiated.

The comments have also gone far beyond Garth’s own social media pages for sure. Any time Saving Country Music posts an article about Garth Brooks or mentions Garth Brooks, you can be assured there are at least a few comments about Garth’s murderous streak, along with the regular swipes at his Chris Gaines persona as well. People have brought “Where are the bodies Garth?” signs to his concerts, and even made it onto the big screen by trolls switching to the sign after the camera trains on a more standard fan sign.

One of the reasons that the “Where are the bodies Garth?” meme has stuck so hard and taken on a life of its own is because it’s just a fun way to highlight just how unusual the personality of Garth Brooks comes across. It’s the overly-sentimental, hypersensitive, and what many perceive as aggressive insincerity that has made Garth Brooks a meme to so many in American society.

But the deeper question is if the Garth persona is all truly the act of a superstar trying to portray himself as an everyman, or is Garth really being Garth? Is the guy you see in his social media posts, and that Tom Segura makes fun of just what Garth wants to show the outside world, or is it how he truly acts around his house, and with his close friends? To the outside world, the perception is clearly “no.” But to many in country music, when they’re asked, they often answer, “yes.”

Recently, country artist Sunny Sweeney was on the Jackin’ Around podcast with fellow artist Jack Ingram, and they started talking about Garth Brooks. Sunny Sweeney was once booked to open for Garth Brooks, and tells a story about how she was hanging out with Garth and his wife Trisha Yearwood, and trying to recall the first time she saw Garth when she was growing up in the early 90s. Garth asked Sweeney where the show was, and right off the top of his head, he rattled off the date he played there.

“I was like, are you serious?” Sunny Sweeney said. “He love his job, and he loves his fans. You want to talk about getting some inspiration? Watch them do a meet and greet.”

“I used to think it was an act,” Jack Ingram responds, “until I really saw him doing it. I was like ‘Oh my God.'”

You can see the exchange below.

As insincere as it all may come across, many of Garth’s fellow artists in the music industry, and the people who have worked closely with him over the years insist that who we see on Garth’s socials and on the stage is who Garth is in real life. Maybe Tom Segura’s wife Christina P. is right when she says maybe he has “a dash of Asperger’s,” or maybe he’s just like a walking dad joke. But what seems for certain is that Garth truly is Garth.

Perhaps one of the best Garth Brooks stories, and one of the most famous has to do with songwriter Todd Snider. Garth Brooks and Todd Snider once had a legal dispute over the rights to the song “Beer Run” that was written by Kent Blazy. Like so many independent/Americana artists, Todd Snider hated Garth Brooks, thought he was a sellout, and similar to Tom Segura, would regularly troll Garth Brooks during his shows, specifically by telling his story about getting the song “Beer Run” stolen from him, and making fun of Chris Gaines.

But in Todd Snider’s book I Never Met a Story I Didn’t Like, Todd Snider talks about despite making fun of Chris Gaines on stage, he secretly thought Garth was cool for it. Garth and Todd Snider actually met and hung out during the Chris Gaines project, because Garth originally wanted to cut a version of Todd’s song “Alright Guy” for the project.

I loved Garth Brooks. I was, and am, a very big fan. I think Garth Brooks fucked up country music for a while, through no fault of his own: he made music so good and so successful that tons of people came along after him trying to imitate what he did. Garth fucked up country music like Kurt Cobain fucked up rock.

Because of Garth’s massive success, there’s a bit of a push and pull in Nashville about him. When you sell more records than anyone has ever sold, you tend to make more people jealous than have ever been jealous of a singer.

It’s a crock that I think prevails in this country: we bully the people who entertain us. We get on the computer and bully them. We buy magazines with pictures of them where they look fat or drunk or imperfect. And we suppose that those people’s success excuses our meanness.

Just as people made fun of Garth Brooks swinging over Texas Stadium on wires in the early 90s, for creating Chris Gaines in the late 90s, and today for having tons of bodies buried in his back yard, one of the reasons Garth Brooks is so easy to make fun of is because he seems to be completely unphased by the jokes and the criticism. Whether it’s just that he doesn’t know how awkward he comes across or he doesn’t care, he seems immune or above it all—which ironically, just facilitates people piling on him even more.

Making fun of Garth Brooks feels like a victimless crime, and not just because he’s super successful like Todd Snider says, but because unlike so many people in society today, Garth just sits back and takes it. He’s never deleted any of the “dead bodies” comments. He’s never shut his comments sections down like so many other celebrities do. He’s never run to the media painting himself as a victim. He just continues to be himself, with a confidence that eventually the world will catch on that it’s not an act at all—that he really is just kind of a dork that happened to become one of the most popular music entertainers in history.

As simple and even silly as he may seem, Garth Brooks is a confounding enigma. Simply put, Garth is Garth.

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