When you do a job like this, you often get to know the people you highlight a lot more than just whatever was in the interview. I've had the pleasure of knowing Chris Holifield before his podcast I Am Salt Lake
took off, and Krissie Shelley over the past few years while she was a standup comedian. It's been cool to see the pair fall in love, have a relationship and get married within days of this interview going live. Along the way, the two learned that they were expecting a new baby girl, so of course, they decided to podcast about it with a new show called Mom and the New Dad
. Today, I catch up with them as we discuss their lives and relationship, as well as the new show. (All pictures provided courtesy Shelley and Holifield.
Chris Holifield & Krissie Shelley
Gavin: First off, how have you both been since we last chatted?
Well it’s been almost five years, so a lot! I’ve been through a divorce, muddled myself through the Salt Lake City dating scene, continued podcasting, started podcast coaching, I'm getting married to an amazing girl, and about to have a baby girl!
Basically, life’s gotten pretty fucking awesome. Somehow I tricked this really cool guy into marrying me. Meeting Chris and starting to work on projects with him has been some of the most fun I’ve ever had.
Chris, how has I Am Salt Lake been going lately now that you're almost five years in?
It’s had its ups and downs, but I’ve kept it up! I’ve almost released 300 episodes! When we first chatted almost five years ago, I was releasing two episodes a week of I Am Salt Lake
, but after realizing I was heading towards a burnout, I shifted my gears and went down to releasing only one episode a week. Now that my life is a little more in order and I have my head above
the clouds, I could probably release more. That's probably one of the things that prompted the release of the new podcast.
Krissie, how have things been going with standup comedy and your other jobs?
I actually took a break from comedy, and I miss it so much. Life has gotten so busy that I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to get back on stage, but I still have the urge constantly. My actual adult job is great! I’m loving all the cool stuff I get to learn and work on. I’m really putting a lot of my extra energy into podcasting these days.
So how did the two of you first meet and eventually become a couple?
Well, I had Krissie on my radar for awhile because she did stand up comedy here in Salt Lake City. I wanted to interview her on I Am Salt Lake
, but I also wanted to date her because she was smoking hot. When I came across her on Tinder, my heart skipped a beat and I kept my fingers crossed that we would match. The first time we matched, I didn’t think she was into me, so we never hung out. Six months later we matched AGAIN on Tinder, so I decided I wouldn’t lose my chance with her, and invited her over to my apartment to dress up my sphynx cat, Charles. It’s been history ever since.
I was on Tinder mostly to create content for my old podcast by talking about how stupid Tinder was. I’d known who Chris was for a while but never had the guts to say hi because he was too handsome and smart for me. When I saw him on there I swiped and we matched! I attempted to hit on him, but I basically fell flat on my face and he never responded. Then, months later, I actually downloaded Tinder again to see if he was still on there. (I’m not a stalker.) I found him again and we matched again! I tried HARDER to hit on him and it worked! I genuinely thought he was just humoring me by asking me to meet up with him, and when I finally went to see him, we clicked so fast, it was like we had known each other forever. Also, he let me dress up his cat. I’m not going to say no to that. We just couldn’t go a day without talking ever since.
Krissie, how did you end up getting more involved with Chris' work on the show?
I started doing design work and little background things for I Am Salt Lake
pretty much right when we decided to start dating. We both love working on projects, and being able to work together towards a goal was just a natural part of our relationship. I had a podcast before I met him that I loved doing (The Totally Real Podcast That is Real
), but it was too hard to keep up with. My former co-host and I were both full-time working moms, so we put it on hold, and I missed podcasting so much that Chris and I would tinker with different ideas. We tried out a few things and discovered we have great chemistry on the mic, so he asked me to be a host with him. He hasn’t kicked me off yet!
What prompted the idea to do a new podcast?
Well, when I found out we were going to have a baby and I was going to become a first-time dad, I knew I needed to podcast about it. Originally I was just going to do a “dad podcast,” but I felt that Krissie and myself had such great microphone chemistry that it seemed like the best move was to just do another show together.
Chris was playing with the idea of a dad podcast, I had been thinking about doing a UX podcast but didn’t really have the time to get it off the ground. We had been talking a lot about how we’d love to do a show together where we can just open up and be ourselves, and it’s been an amazing opportunity to keep learning more about each other while having fun.
When setting it up, what did you want the overall theme of the show to be as far as content?
The theme of the podcast is the journey of an almost 40-year-old man about to have his first baby while living with his soon-to-be wife that already has three kids from a previous marriage. Basically, It would be our story and our journey as we learn how to blend the two families together.
The show is interesting because it’s about our life experience with becoming a blended family, me being an old jaded mom and Chris experiencing becoming a dad for the first time. A lot of the things we talk about, we are discussing for the first time, or going deeper into things we haven’t yet. One big theme throughout the show is how different our thoughts and opinions are coming from such different backgrounds.
What made you decide to ask people to join the conversation and bring their stories into the fold?
We love voicemails and emails from our audience. In fact, we encourage it. We feel that we can all learn from each other's stories. It’s the only way to do it. Conversations aren’t very fun when they are one sided, thus we encourage our listeners to share their stories with us.
It really is more fun to be able to share experiences with people. That goes both ways. Everyone has a unique spin on life. It’s more exciting to see as many points of view as possible and get to know listeners better.
What have you learned the most about each other from the show?
For so long I just did a show solo, so it’s been great to learn how to do a show with another person. Learning how to bounce conversations off another person is a skill in itself. I’ve also learned patience and that it’s okay to not always be right.
I’ve learned that I don’t make sense very often, and sometimes the best thing to do is just listen. We had to learn a different side of each other while trying to create content and it’s been challenging. I wouldn’t change it for the world, though, because I feel that it’s helped us understand each other once we work through things.
What do you hope the listening audience takes away from the show?
That it’s never too late to have a baby, and that it’s okay for first-time dads to ask tons of questions, even if they are stupid.
I just want people to know they’re not alone in their crazy lives. We are all dealing with some kind of challenges and life will always keep you on your toes. I hope this can be a great conversation starter for people to talk more openly about things that they wouldn’t normally. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses and just enjoy what you’ve got.
Where do you plan to take the show as you continue into marriage?
Pretty much the same direction that it’s been going now, except we will be married.
Every show has a life of its own, so we really can’t guess where it will go. I do anticipate it getting a little more gritty once we have a newborn and are both running on quite a bit less sleep. Marriage is the easy part. Especially to this guy.
After the wedding, what can we expect from both of you over the rest of 2017?
More podcast episodes of course, and a brand new baby girl in September!
More conversations! I don’t think we could survive without them. Both I Am Salt Lake
and Mom and the New Dad
will be going strong. Also, a shit-ton of baby pictures in everyone’s Facebook feed come September.