Podcast hosts for #IMOMSOHARD Kristen Hensley and Jen Smedley had many opportunities to meet each other before they finally did. They both went to school in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they studied the same subjects and had overlapping groups of friends. They both moved to LA and performed standup at many of the same theaters. The near-accidents all came to an end one evening when Hensley was invited to go to a comedy show.
“I saw this very funny blonde girl on stage dressed in very pink. We had beer in the parking lot after the show and realized we were both from Nebraska, and that was it, ”Hensley recalls. “We were talking in such a loud place that dogs barked all over the neighborhood.”
The connections did not end there: The next day, Hensley and Smedley met for coffee and discovered that they lived a block away from each other and both ran Mini Coopers. They became best friends, and over the next few years saw each other meet their husbands and have children. Newfound motherhood inspired Hensley and Smedley to combine their comedy with the #IMOMSOHARD web series five years ago, and it was wildly popular. The series evolved into the podcast they launched in 2020.
“We’re comedians and always look at things with an eye for how things can be fun, and that was reinforced when we became mothers,” Hensley says. “It feels very lonely and you think you’ve awful at it all the time. But if you have a friend who’s going through the same thing, they’ll help you understand that it’s perfectly normal that there is no is something you have experienced that someone else has not experienced before.
“It has nothing to do with being a comedian. It has to do with friendship,” she continues. “But that was what lit the fire.”
The success of the #IMOMSOHARD partnership has a lot to do with the two friends’ comedy and effortless interaction. This has led to a standup comedy special on Amazon Prime, one New York Times best-selling book, a number of children’s books, and branded deals with Walmart, Unilever, and other Fortune 500 companies. They have also had two sold-out national tours and stop in Denver on Sunday, January 30 for their latest. Tickets are still available but are selling fast.
#IMOMSOHARD started it all with a single video on Facebook. “The first video was just going to be an introduction,” Smedley recalls. “Kristen introduced herself, gave her children names and age, and I introduced myself and completely forgot my daughter’s name. And as any good friend and real asshole will do, Kristen laughed uncontrollably. ”
“I have to be honest,” Hensley adds. “I peed in my pants. It was the universe that immediately came back to me.”
“We posted it and the video just picked up speed from there,” Smedley says. “It was shared and shared and shared.”
The humble beginning defines the spirit of the #IMOMSOHARD performances, regardless of the medium, which has sparked an online community of over 2 million parents seeking laughter, a little compassion and a lot of compassion. Their videos spanned all the things that go along with being a mom, but are not often talked about, such as “hemorrhoids, nipple hair, sex after marriage, mom-bods, Spanx, wedding dresses and swimsuits.”
Social media was not only the platform for Hensley and Smedley – it was also the driving force. “I remember feeling so horrible about what people wrote on social media about what motherhood was or should be,” Smedley says. “Kristen and I thought, ‘I can not get my family to walk in white and run on the beach. for a photo. … How the hell does everyone do this? ‘”
Hensley and Smedley say they’re always excited to get out and see their fans, but coming to Denver is almost like coming home to them. “Since we lived in Nebraska, Denver is like a hometown show,” Hensley explains. “We always went to Denver on family trips. When we do a show in Denver, half the audience is like my cousins.” Smedley says she is looking forward to visiting Bear Creek Distillery when it was started by one of her friends.
But in the end, their show is not about what city they perform in. It’s about mothers. “And more and more, including fathers,” Smedley adds. They both agree that the pandemic years have brought more men to their audience.
“Men have always liked the show,” says Hensley, “but now they’ve had a chance to experience what moms have for a long time because they’ve had to stay home to work.”
“Now we’re all going to experience how universal parenting is,” Smedley says. “It does not matter how powerful the person sitting across the desk from you may be: If they have children, we all have a story about how they got out of the house too late because one of their children could not find a shoe. It does not matter what personal problems you have, because your child will still require a snack in the middle of your heart surgery. ”
“It’s good, too,” Hensley adds. “It shows you in a way that life goes on. The kids are our common denominator. That’s why we do this show.”
Kristen Hensley and Jen Smedley from #IMOMSOHARD at the Paramount Theater, 1621 Glenarm Place, Sunday, January 30th. Tickets cost $ 49.75 to $ 59.75. See the website for more information.