Em Schulz and Christine Schiefer are the creators and co-hosts of And That’s Why We Drink, a weekly podcast the place they share true crime tales, paranormal encounters, and various laughs. The podcast has been ongoing since 2017 with 264 episodes up to now, boasting a whopping 80 million downloads, and the pair received the 2019 “Individuals’s Voice” Webby Award for Greatest Comedy Podcast. Though Christine and Em attended the identical grad college Boston, it wasn’t till they related by probability in Los Angeles years later that they turned pals and, subsequently, celebrity podcasters. They chatted with Humorous Or Die over Zoom to speak about preserving a profitable podcast going by means of the pandemic and to provide some phrases of knowledge to aspiring creatives.
This interview has been edited and condensed for size and readability.
Thanks each a lot for becoming a member of me! I really feel like lots of teams of pals have like a second the place they take a look at one another and go, “we’re so humorous” or “we’re so good at this, we should always have our personal present,” however it’s so attention-grabbing that you just two took a distinct strategy, which was discovering frequent pursuits however probably not understanding one another, and utilizing the podcast to get to know one another. What’s it been like cultivating and rising such a profitable podcast in tandem together with your friendship?
Christine Schiefer, creator and host of ‘And That’s Why We Drink’ Courtesy of ‘And That’s Why We Drink’ Podcast
Christine: Yeah. Who does that? What’s mistaken with us?
Em: I believe we each took it as a possibility to doc a friendship from begin to end— or perhaps it doesn’t have to complete. Hopefully. Christine is the one who launched me to podcasts, so I believe as soon as I spotted that this was a pal I didn’t wish to lose I used to be like, “Effectively, why don’t we simply attempt to make our personal?” Worst case situation, we’ve got the beginnings of our friendship recorded.
Christine: Yeah. I’ve to confess this, when Em initially texted me I used to be like, “No thanks, I’m probably not feeling it.” I can’t dwell that half down, however my boyfriend who’s now my husband was like, “You want a pastime, you want one thing to do after work, you’re depressed, you’re making a brand new pal, lean into it,” stuff like that. Then from day one, we had been 100% invested.
Lots of people who began listening from the start and have stayed with us really feel like they turned pals with us, as a result of they acquired to know us on the similar time that we acquired to know one another.
I don’t assume we ever realized it was going to achieve success. I imply, we needed it to be, however I don’t assume we had been ever naive sufficient to assume like, “Oh, that is going to be the subsequent massive factor,” as a result of we had been working minimal wage assistant jobs within the leisure business. So it was extra like a enjoyable pastime, and I believe that a part of the rationale it went properly is we by no means took ourselves too severely.
Em: Yeah, we [originally] met by means of movie college, so we had simply spent like two years being overwhelmed down into believing that we’ll by no means make it massive. We had been similar to, “Let’s do that factor for ourselves and no expectations.”
The format of your podcast is described in different interviews as ‘a real crime podcast with a comedy twist.’ However listening to it, I felt prefer it’s nearly extra of a spread discuss present the place you occur to speak about true crime and paranormal stuff, in that it’s very heat and informal and genuine. I really feel like I’m sitting in a room with you, listening to you two hang around. Was that side of inviting your viewers into your lives and being so open and private there from the beginning or did that evolve over time?
Christine: I might say that was undoubtedly from day one. Since Em and I had been assuming solely our moms, if that, had been listening, we had been simply type of hanging out like we did each different evening, however now we had a microphone in entrance of us. And we had been studying about one another, like Em mentioned. I believe it’s episode 13 that I realized Em had gone to clown faculty and I had not identified that earlier than. So all people who listens to the podcast acquired to study that enjoyable truth alongside me.
Em: I believe it was actually a blessing in disguise that we determined to start out a podcast as strangers as a result of it fuelled a must fill empty area. We didn’t know one another, so we had been simply going to speak about ourselves and if somebody needed to hear, nice. I’ve really by no means heard anybody describe [the podcast] as that earlier than, however I do like how that sounds. It will make sense why lots of people appear to actually benefit from the banter of it, as a result of there’s an entire stage past simply storytelling. Lots of people who began listening from the start and have stayed with us really feel like they turned pals with us, as a result of they acquired to know us on the similar time that we acquired to know one another.
Em Schulz, creator and host of ‘And That’s Why We Drink’ Courtesy of ‘And That’s Why We Drink’ Podcast
Has it been attention-grabbing constructing a loyal viewers of people who find themselves not solely listening for the paranormal and true crime tales, however who’ve additionally change into so invested in you as individuals?
Christine: Undoubtedly. Em and I’ve gotten acknowledged in public and the primary few occasions had been jarring, as a result of it’s a radio present and also you assume, “Why would anybody know what I appear to be?” However individuals get entangled in our social media and observe us on totally different platforms. I might say it was an adjustment interval for certain. A pair days in the past somebody tweeted, “Oh, Christine I simply discovered your husband,” as a result of he works on the ER right here in Cincinnati, they had been like, “I used to be his affected person!”
Em: It’s undoubtedly been a enjoyable adjustment. It feels good to be acknowledged for one thing that individuals get pleasure from. I’m actually not wanting ahead to the day somebody acknowledges me as a result of they don’t get pleasure from it, like, “Hey! I hate your podcast!” But it surely’s been very nice, I do know we’ve each made pals by means of it. I acquired to know [our listeners] as a result of they got here to so a lot of our reveals and meet and greets, and ultimately they only turned recognizable. And now we’ve got our personal relationships outdoors of the present.
So with you each going by means of movie college, what’s it been like discovering success on the entrance finish of the digicam or mic, being the expertise, not simply those producing it? Is that one thing that you just had been ready for or noticed for your self?
Em: I’m not ready for it in any respect. Which is ironic, as a result of we acquired an schooling to be ready for it. It’s humorous that, in some methods, we ended up in a totally totally different business, like we went to TV college and now we’ve got a radio present. It’s opened up doorways, so even when we’re not in tv proper now, it might occur later. It’s undoubtedly expanded our horizons.
Typically it looks like, “We studied TV and I studied journalism and undergrad, what use was all that?” However on the similar time I’m like, “Thank God I realized the fundamentals of enhancing by myself.”
Christine: In some methods I’m in type of a distinct boat, as a result of I at all times supposed to do writing and a pal and I had been doing clip reveals and mini collection on YouTube. I used to be at all times making an attempt to do the subsequent enjoyable on-screen factor. I really feel like that actually helped— learning comedy writing, I needed to do improv as properly, and I believe that each one flows collectively for podcasting.
What’s it been like recording and producing in the course of the pandemic? And likewise hitting your two hundredth episode milestone in the course of the pandemic, which by the way in which, congratulations. That’s large.
Christine: Aw, thanks.
Em: It feels proper that it could occur throughout a pandemic or some form of disaster. However, I imply, initially, I by no means thought we’d have 200 episodes. Recording has been fairly an journey this 12 months, even earlier than the pandemic Christine was like, “Oh, additionally I’m shifting.” So it wasn’t a matter of when are we going to drive to one another anymore, it was now how are we going to see one another, interval? We had plans of motion after which the pandemic simply saved ruining them. It’s been a pleasant recreation of cat and mouse to make issues work.
My recommendation is decide one thing that you’d do without cost as a pastime anyway.
Christine: There’s undoubtedly been lots of trial and error. I’m very glad that we did research what we studied. Typically it looks like, “We studied TV and I studied journalism and undergrad, what use was all that?” However on the similar time I’m like, “Thank God I realized the fundamentals of enhancing by myself,” as a result of it made it loads simpler to regulate. I really feel actually lucky that we’re capable of do our jobs from dwelling in the course of the pandemic. A pair episodes went out with apologies saying issues like, “Sorry if we sound like we’re a mile away from the microphone,” however I believe we’re figuring it out.
Is there something that you just two have realized or developed whereas within the pandemic that you just’re going to use to episodes sooner or later as soon as we’re by means of all of this and have some normalcy again?
Em: I believe that the entire world might in all probability say we’ve realized how one can adapt to new conditions. I believe earlier than [the pandemic] I used to be extra anxious or anxious about how we had been going to get the whole lot completed below regular circumstances, however I believe we’ve change into much more accommodating to no matter setting we’re in.
Christine: I agree. We had, for instance, a giant tour scheduled for the spring and, like all people else within the leisure business, our dwell reveals had been utterly nixed. So having the ability to do digital “dwell” reveals as a substitute of doing in-person reveals and determining how one can do bonus content material for our Patreon supporters after we’re not in the identical room has been, I believe, a great lesson in creativity and winging it, which we’ve realized we’re each good at.
Broader than podcasting, do you might have any recommendation for individuals desirous to both break right into a inventive discipline and/or who’re contemplating unconventional profession paths?
Christine: My recommendation is just about at all times the identical. Em and I saved our day jobs till we felt assured that we had been capable of help ourselves by means of [And That’s Why We Drink]. Whereas it was a dive off a cliff as a result of we spent our financial savings on audio tools and there was threat concerned, we undoubtedly waited earlier than leaving our day jobs. My recommendation is decide one thing that you’d do without cost as a pastime anyway. In the event you go into one thing like podcasting anticipating to make a residing, I simply don’t assume that strategy tends to work in addition to if you happen to’re 100% passionate and doing it for the enjoyable of it first.
Courtesy of ‘And That’s Why We Drink’
Em: In the event you go into it genuinely, persons are going to have the ability to inform and can wish to pay extra consideration, versus, I believe, lots of people can inform immediately if somebody’s in it for the clout.
Christine: It additionally reduces burnout. If Em and I picked a subject that we weren’t 100% invested in, we’d be much less more likely to have put 110% time and effort in. We had been working full time, there was a degree the place I used to be working and planning a marriage, however the podcast was the enjoyable a part of the whole lot I had on my plate. It’s laborious, it’s lots of work, particularly as soon as it turns into at a enterprise stage, however if you happen to actually care and are keen about it, it’s going to be loads simpler to hopefully transition that into an precise job.
Em, do you might have any recommendation particularly for younger gender nonconforming creatives trying to break into this sort of business, whether or not that’s by means of podcasting or one other medium
Em: This can be a time the place lots of people have questions and we’re all in an area the place we’re studying collectively. Though I’m not cisgender, I haven’t formally come out as something but as a result of even I don’t know. However I believe that’s actually vital, as a result of there aren’t lots of people on the market who’re within the public eye in some capability who say, “Look even I don’t know and that’s okay.” I believe this can be a actually good time for individuals to get educated or assist others alongside the way in which or do one thing in that world, as a result of persons are in search of how one can be one of the best ally potential.
If we’re in a position to try this, if that’s a facet impact of our present, then different reveals on the market can do the identical factor.
Christine: Each time we do a dwell present, and even simply on social media or by means of emails, individuals, particularly dad and mom will come up and say, “Em, you helped me perceive my baby who was making an attempt to inform me they use they/them pronouns,” or what have you ever. It’s actually cool to see individuals from all generations say, “the way in which you talked about [gender] made it simpler for me to get it and settle for individuals.”
Em: A minimum of as soon as at every dwell present, somebody who’s queer will strategy us and say we’ve helped them indirectly. If we’re in a position to try this, if that’s a facet impact of our present, then different reveals on the market can do the identical factor.
Christine: Em taught me, even. You possibly can hear at first [of the podcast] I spotted I used to be misgendering them as a result of we hadn’t had that dialog, however you may hear the transition over time. Now if persons are actually early into the podcast they usually say one thing to us, lots of occasions different listeners will bounce in and remark like, “Hey, I do know you’re not at this episode but, however simply so , Em makes use of they/them pronouns.” It’s actually enjoyable to see individuals develop together with us.
Em: One in all my favourite elements about our present is how everybody collectively has grown in understanding, whether or not referring to me or a gender-queer individual they know. They in all probability assume I don’t see it, however I’ve seen a couple of individuals within the feedback defending me very kindly and politely if I get misgendered. It’s enjoyable to see what we’ve taught individuals and watching them educate others.