Childhood friends Lucy Fitzgerald, Kenyon Laing and Amanda Jacobson grew up spending their time together on the couch, curtains drawn, binge-watching ’90s-era Forensic Files episodes.
Today, the BFFs are touring the country for their devotedly followed podcast, Wine & Crime, which launched in February 2017. In the wildly successful weekly podcast that averages one hundred and thirty thousand downloads an episode, the three women chat true crime cases covering a range of themes—cruise ship disappearances, music festival murders and nudist crimes are just a few examples—over a bottle of vino.
We sat down with Lucy and Kenyon before their live show at The Truman on March 24.
Kansas City: You have been friends since you were in elementary school. How did you find this common interest of dark things?
Lucy: Kenyon and I and our other friend Scott, who we call the fourth “gal,” used to play Immortals when we were in third grade. We’ve also been kind of morbid. It was back when it wasn’t weird for kids to roleplay as characters like vampires, goths, puritan settlers and witches. We’ve always been into that sort of stuff. We were also rabid readers. I remember reading Stephen King at too young of an age. When I was little, my parents made me a necklace out of the teeth that I lost. I almost went to school for mortuary science.
Amanda always says she got into it with her grandmother who would read these sort of raunchy paperbacks. They were like true crime, sort of toeing the line of a little bit of a sexuality thing, you know?
Lucy: Yes, titillating. She would always ask her grandma about the plot lines to these books and they’d talk about it.
Kansas City: How Wine & Crime get started?
Lucy: About five years ago, Kenyon had just moved to South Africa with her now-husband, and I think she was going a little stir crazy. She just messaged Amanda and me and was like, “Hey, do you guys want to start a true crime podcast?” and we were like, “Yea, that could be fun.” And she’s like, “Cool. I already have the name and a domain and the Twitter and the Instagram and the logo.”
Kenyon: No exaggeration, that’s exactly how it went down. Amanda and Lucy thought it was cute and it was going to be a fun hobby. Meanwhile, I was like, “This could be our life’s work.”
Kansas City: What was the turning point in the podcast where you realized it was, in fact, a career and not just a hobby?
Lucy: Oh, you mean when we had to start taking anxiety meds?
Kenyon: I think the goalposts always move. I remember when we were first starting out and would get three hundred downloads in a week and would jump off the walls. There’s always something new that we never thought would happen and now it’s just a regular Tuesday to us. It’s fun. It’s cool.
Lucy: It’s very surreal. The live shows keep getting bigger and bigger. Our first one was barely one hundred people and I was sick-to-my-stomach nervous, shaking and hyperventilating. And now we’re almost sold out for our St. Paul show, which is around nine hundred and fifty seats.
Kenyon: The live shows are fun but I would never want to do something like that solo. I would be a nervous wreck. But doing it with my two best friends—it’s just fun. It’s not even stressful.
Kansas City: What’s been the most memorable moment of touring so far?
Kenyon: We had so much fun in New Orleans last year. That was the start of that tour. And also, we were there for our own live show and also for CrimeCon. Austin was also really fun.
Lucy: The very last show we did last tour was in Los Angeles. That crowd was sold out because it was a smaller venue. We had a really fun topic and my mom was there it was great having all those people there and being able to celebrate the end of the tour. It was a highlight for me.
Kenyon: We came on stage dancing to Lizzo.
Kansas City: I don’t know how long you’re in Kansas City for, but you should really check out Noir in the West Bottoms. It’s a creepy oddity store that sells things like caskets and pickled fetuses and skeletons.
Lucy: Oh my God. We’re in Kansas City for less than twenty-four hours, but I will make time to go there. We’re going to land at 1:30 pm. Our show is at seven, so we have plenty of time.
Kenyon: Lucy has a new segment for Patreon subscribers. Essentially, folks that donate per month get bonus content. Included is Lucy’s own show called Spooky Little Bitch where she does interviews and cool and weird things.
Lucy: My husband got his gallbladder surgically removed and I got dissect it for a recent episode. Speaking of which, I need to make a necklace out of it for our tour.