The Russian scammer who conned New York high society into believing she was a wealthy German socialite. The tattooed hipster who grifted her way into a job at VICE. The guy who pretends he can cook in order to be the “food and wine expert” on Queer Eye. Why are we so obsessed with those who seek to deceive us?
With everyone from Shonda Rhimes to Margot Robbie interested in the outing of Soho grifter Anna Delvey, DirtCast this week decided to pay a visit to the Grifting Hall of Fame™: the fake gurus, the cancer frauds, the royal “experts.” In Nifty! Grifty! United States!, Madeleine and Megan ponder what makes for an epic scam (and wonder why these people don’t apply their skill set to producing reality TV). Is it the aspirational drive, the desire to climb the social ladder? The ludicrous lies? The gullible—and often dumb, white American—marks?
Con artistry is big in pop culture right now, but when it comes to scams, truth is often griftier than fiction. From the pages of Gawker to the lives of the Real Housewives of Orange County (to the life of Megan), the most legendary scammers live among us.
Of course, capitalism’s a scam, and we’re all just trying to get one over the man. Among these platitudes, the hosts couldn’t help but wonder: Are these hustlers really so evil? Weren’t we all catfishers in the early days of chatrooms and AIM? And don’t some rich people deserve to get scammed?
This episode was produced by Levi Sharpe and Rachel Withers. Mandana Mofidi is our Executive Director of Audio. Our theme music is by Stuart Wood. This episode was mixed by Jamie Collazzo.