A longtime St. Louis reporter’s bleak ode to February has struck a new chord with a national audience, several years after it first went viral with residents of the city.
Delivered with a tone of existential dread, Kevin Killeen was unreserved in his assessment of the month — and it appears many relate to his glum appraisal.
“February is the worst month of the year, but it’s an honest month. It’s a month that doesn’t hold up life any better than it really is,” Killeen said during an episode of his “Whole ‘nother Story” segment, which first aired in 2016 for the Missouri-based radio station KMOX. The video was reposted earlier this week, and has already gained hundreds of thousands of views with its latest circulation.
happy feb who wanna hunker over a bowl of chili pic.twitter.com/jSMbXR3u65— lillem dafoe (@_lil_i_am) February 1, 2022
As the broadcast continues, Killeen points to his backdrop — older buildings cast in fog and gray skies — and people going about their daily lives to drive his point home: February is really just that miserable.
“I mean look around here. These buildings, they look like they don’t even have any lights in them during a workday,” he says, gesturing to the lifeless structures behind him. “Something great happened here, but it’s over with, and that’s the way February is. You can see it in the way people walk and how they look.”
At one point in the story, the camera focuses on the streets of St. Louis — and Killeen’s narration of what he sees only gets more dismal.
“This looks like a place where people who are being punished are sent,” he says. “If you notice the way people cross the street in February, it’s different than in the summer. Nobody’s tap-dancing or breaking into a Rodgers and Hammerstein song. It’s their lunch hour, and they’re just barely able to get across the street and hunker over a bowl of chili.”
“Carbohydrates are big this time of year — also lotions because everybody is itchy and tired and irritable,” Killeen adds.
Between his monotonous tone throughout the piece and “deep, soul evoking, truthful, no both sidesing languishing” storytelling abilities, many across social media agreed that Killeen “gets it” in regards to February. Others expressed concern about his wellbeing, while still others were so amused by the clip they questioned whether it was a parody.
“It’s the most accurate thing I’ve seen in years,” one person tweeted.
“That’s February for you. It is bleak, it is honest, and it just tells you the way it really is,” Killeen concludes at the end of the story. “My father used to have a saying that if you can live through February, you’ll live another year.”
His reporting for the episode, part of the segment Killeen started because he “was always getting in trouble for injecting humor into the news,” according to his biography, earned him widespread praise online.
“Now this is what I call journalism,” wrote one user. “Give this man a Pulitzer,” joked Taylor Lorenz, a Washington Post writer who focuses on social media.
Killeen, having noticed the attention that his six-year-old report was garnering online, tweeted late Friday that he was thankful for “all the very kind words.”
Thanks for all the very kind words about my report on February. I thought it was just me, but apparently a lot of us feel near to flickering out this month. I avoid all major decisions in February—vacuuming, haircuts, swing dance lessons. The right path will emerge by spring.— Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen) February 5, 2022
“It’s odd to think that after my name and the first comma, my obituary will probably reference my ode to February,” Killeen wrote back to one person.
Take a look at some more reactions to the video:
My East Coast friends this month pic.twitter.com/6IRNbpWFxY— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) February 4, 2022
Wow I really hope someone goes and checks on this guy— Hades (@PLVTOID) February 4, 2022
it’s the most accurate thing I’ve seen in years— Shawn Hils (@ShawnHils) February 4, 2022
now this is what i call journalism pic.twitter.com/BrfRaASKeQ— Shawn Hils (@ShawnHils) February 4, 2022
Kevin Killeen of @KMOXnews is a #StLouis gem. https://t.co/5n3In46Mff— Brian Munoz (@brianmmunoz) February 4, 2022
February IS the longest month -- in the northern hemisphere, anyway. And Kevin Killeen captures the essence of it perfectly.— Craig in Iowa. Remember #January6th! (@iowamadenet) February 5, 2022
Great storytelling. We need much more of it in local and national media.
That’s February for you— Saad Abedine 🤬😷🤟🏼 (@SaadAbedine) February 4, 2022
It’s bleak, honest, & it just tells you the way it really is
My father used to have a saying
If you can live thru February, you will live another year
Kevin Killeen @kmoxkilleen, you freaking ROCK @kmoxnews
I can’t stop watching this piece https://t.co/B70LHe39Rn
Kevin Killeen gets it. February is terrible. https://t.co/EbzXRB2wtZ— Mathew Reisler (@ReporterMathew) February 5, 2022
Can I just say….I ADORE @KMOXKilleen. I worked in St. Louis and I saw Kevin often.— F A R R A H F A Z A L (@FarrahFazal) February 5, 2022
Nobody can whip out this kind of deep, soul evoking, truthful, no both sidesing languishing quite like….the fabulously irreverent Kevin Killeen. https://t.co/8myMkChPt5
This is local hero (and, in reality, a fairly happy guy) Kevin Killeen from News radio 1120 KMOX (@kmoxnews, my former employer). This video is a classic and I'm glad it's making the rounds again https://t.co/2FrL0s66nI— lets swallow all the lightbulbs in the living room (@videocrime) February 4, 2022
Give this man a Pulitzer pic.twitter.com/jRdHP3hTJI via @ShawnHils— Taylor Lorenz--- ON BOOK LEAVE (@TaylorLorenz) February 4, 2022
Thanks, Kevin, it was just another story at the time, but so many people hate February, it seems to get re-posted every year. Think spring.— Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen) February 4, 2022
Thanks, Jeremy, it’s odd to think that after my name and the first comma, my obituary will probably reference my ode to February.— Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen) February 4, 2022
Shannon Larson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.