We’ve all heard him on our afternoon carpool drive home. I don’t know about you, but my fave radio button usually lives on 107.9 The Link. Especially when Matt & Ramona are on. I usually find myself laughing away the carpool noise (oh the noise, noise, noise!) and often hang in my driveway even after the kids get on their merry way, to continue to unwind and recharge!
Smarties, we’re pumped to introduce you to this weeks CELEB Smarty Dad, Matt Harris. Yup. This is THE Matt of nationally syndicated and award-winning Matt & Ramona Show. And let’s be honest here. It’s the best radio show in Charlotte, hands down.
Let’s get cozy with the King of Comedy in the QC and a Smarty Dad to boot!
Married to: Amy, since 2003. But they played house for 7 years before the big day.
Dad of: Addison (6), Grayson (2 3/4 years in heaven) and Avery (1)
Hometown: Doylestown, PA
College:Lock Haven University
Years in Charlotte: 10
OK, so how did you get into radio?
Since I was in the 7th grade, I wanted to be a sports play-by-play announcer. While I was in college, I did sports for the local station. When the morning man for the country station quit, I filled in. I got the gig (I’m sure because I was cheap) and discovered that goofing off for a paycheck was way better then being semi-serious during a ball game.
I’m going to address the serious side of you as a dad first. Your second daughter, Grayson, was stillborn at 36 weeks nearly 3 years ago. How did this incredible loss make your family grow stronger?
After going through the loss of Grayson, I realized how strong Amy is. I believed I could get through anything, for the good of my family. Not that I didn’t think Amy was capable of that same strength, it’s just that I saw how devastated she was, and her strength was inspiring to me. I read the statistics saying that family tragedies like ours can kill a marriage. Not once did I think our relationship was struggling due to our loss. That taught both of us a lot. I also learned how awesome our friends and family are. I can’t imagine going through what we did without their support. It was also amazing how many listeners, acquaintances, and complete strangers reached out. We were awaken to the fact that all in all we are pretty damn lucky.
How did you explain the loss of Grayson to your older daughter, Addison?
She was 3 at the time. We consulted a couple therapist, including the great people at Kindermourn, and decided to keep it simple. We told her that her sister Grayson got sick in mommy’s tummy. She died and went to heaven. We also read to her a couple of children’s books on the subject.
What was it like getting back on the air after such a devastating experience?
I hated not being at work at all. I feel guilty if I’m not there for Ramona, Bandy, and Doc. I hated leaving them short-handed. So, actually getting back to work helped me. I was able to laugh and have some sense of normalcy. The first break, on the air, I dealt with her death. It was hard, very emotional, but then I went on to try and do a good show. It’s the old, “the show must go on” deal. It felt good to be surrounded by work mates. Without their support it would have been hell.
What advice do you have for families suffering the loss of an infant?
It’s hard to give advice because everyone needs something different in order to deal. I will say, don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family. Don’t shut down. Talk about what happened, but don’t let it consume you. Don’t feel guilty when you laugh. The Kindermourn support group really helped us. I would say give it a shot, if it’s not for you don’t continue in the group. Of course, feel free to contact me or Amy. I have talked to many parents since our loss and I would feel honored if anyone felt like reaching out to us.
Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us. We’re so happy to see your beautiful family flourishing!
OK, so you’re one of the hippest dads in Charlotte and you’ve documented your parenting/life journey on air day in and day out. What are you going to do when Addison starts listening to your gigs?
Hippest dads? Nice suck up, but you obviously don’t see me when I fall asleep at 9 o’clock on a Friday night.
It will be interesting when Addison gets to that age. Then, I’ll move onto Avery. Then I’ll onto Amy. Just Kidding! No I’m not. Of course, I would never embarrass my kids for the sake of a radio laugh. So, I will have to be careful. Trust me, I make a fool out of myself enough for years of radio chatter.
Tell us something about you that none of your listeners/readers know?
I think some listeners think how I act on the air is an act. Truth is, I really am that odd.
What is a typical work/home day like for you?
Once school starts, I’ll get up and either take Addison to school or watch Avery while Amy runs her to school. Amy and I alternate working out and hangin’ with Avery. I try to get to the radio station about 1. Once or twice a week I’ll have to go in the morning to shoot a video or meet with a client or sales freak. On the air 3-7. Home by 7:30, help get the kids ready for bed. Toss some food down my gullet, watch 30 minutes or so of TV and head over to Fox for the Edge. Get home, unwind and try to hit the sack at 1 AM. That sounds kind of boring because I left out all the really cool parts so no one would be jealous. (sarcasm intended)
What is the one thing you shared on air that you got in trouble at home for later?
That Amy’s feet stinks when she wears white panty hose. She knows anything I say is all in good fun. She knows I have trouble controlling my mouth,
You were pretty public about your vasectomy experience. What advice do you have for other Smarty dudes out there embarking on the same journey?
Just do it! After what our wives went through, I think we can handle the prevention part. Just lay back and imagine all the sleepless nights an infant delivers and you’ll enjoy the snip snip.
What do you think about a chick driving a minivan?
Very sexy, because I know if there’s a zombie apocalypse we could probably live off the food on the van’s floor.
Do you have a mancave?
There is a man cave. It’s just not a man cave at the moment. In 18 years, when the snots move out it will become one..I hope. Right now, it’s a room with a big tv with toys all over the floor.
What do you do when you get a night time hall pass?
It’s been awhile, but I know it involves beer.
What is your favorite family activity?
Just hanging out and messing around. I know that sounds generic, but the truth is Addie cracks me up. I enjoy her one woman shows (for the first 20 minutes..HA!).
Funniest thing your kids have ever said?
A 6-year-old provides constant comedy. The latest was when she asked to me to explain what “retired” meant. After I told her, “It’s when older people don’t work anymore.” She said, “Is mommy retired?” No respect for the stay at home mom.
Favorite summer activity with the fam?
Get out on the lake or hit the pool.
Favorite date night spot?
Anywhere with alcohol and no kids.
Favorite thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
I live in Tega Cay. Gold Hill Elementary is excellent. The best thing to me is the Carolina weather. I can’t imagine living in the North again.
I could not live without my…
..big screen TV!
Thanks, Matt, for sharing your Saturday with us. We hope you beat Hurricane Irene after your Hilton Head gig! Smarties, you can listen to Matt and his hilarious crew (love us some Ramona & Wheezy too!) M-F from 3-7p on 107.9 The Link. Or you can follow him on facebook.