Fodder Takes The Piss Out Of Foodie-ism
Cooking Channel debuts a sketch comedy show. Nice.
Oh, foodies. You can’t take a bite of dinner without Instagramming it first. You give away vials of your homemade bacon bitters for Christmas and birthdays. You’ve paid $8 for a bulb of locally grown black garlic and bragged, about it on your blog. Basically, you’re ripe for a good ribbing. And the cast of Fodder is ready to give it to you.
Gabe Liedman (Big Terrific), Mamrie Hart (You Deserve a Drink), and Jim Santangeli write and star in the Cooking Channel’s online comedy sketch show. The three are members of Upright Citizens Brigade, an improv troupe whose most famous members include Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz and—as we found out—can’t talk about foodies without getting the giggles.
How did you get involved with Fodder?
Jim: We did a casting search, both online and at a variety of comedy shows in New York City, and we tried to identify people who were already versed in comedy and food. We pulled Gabe out of a vat of lard.
Gabe: They actually saved my life.
Jim: We all have a love of food – either from working at something culinary or being a drinking slob. Almost all of us have worked at a restaurant. Or eaten. I think we’ve all eaten.
But are you all true foodies at heart?
Jim: I am a true foodie at heart. And at stomach. I have a garden; I cook. If I stop doing comedy, I actually may run a restaurant or something.
Mamrie: I’m not so good at the actual cooking of the food, but I’m really good at sitting on the couch watching other people preparing food. I’m not a true foodie, but a foodie viewer.
Gabe: I love to cook and I love to eat and I grew up in a family where we had dinner together every night. It’s been important to me my whole life. I don’t know if I’m rich enough to be a real foodie in New York, but I definitely have my mouth full all the time.
Do you think foodie culture has gotten out of hand?
Mamrie: There’s a new store in Park Slope opening that only sells mayonnaise. I saw that as a sign of the apocalypse.
Gabe: Instagram sent us over to the dark side.
Jim: I disagree. I don’t think it’s gotten out of hand. I think it’s a natural progression, to be honest with you, because the world has gotten smaller. I think if my grandmother in the 1930s in Italy had a smartphone, she’d be blogging about her spicy Thai fried chicken, too. I’m totally going to go to that mayonnaise place.
Any other ridiculous epicurean moments you’ve witnessed?
Mamrie: I went to dinner recently – I can’t even remember the place; it was somewhere in the West Village – and my friend got a $90 mac ‘n’ cheese. They come over and shave truffles on top of it. I thought that was kind of ridiculous as a side dish, especially since I don’t like mushrooms. So, I picked them off. I just wanted the mac ‘n’ cheese.
Jim: I went to a party last year that was an Iron Chef party. I was so excited about it. I was one of the judges and I took it very seriously. They got the ingredient at noon and they had until 7 p.m. to make the three courses. The secret ingredient was pancetta.
Gabe: This isn’t recent, but my first job in New York was working at Magnolia Bakery. That just really blew my mind because I was living in a new, weird place – New York City – where people literally stand in line for an hour for a little cupcake. And the only secret about it was that they used butter.
Are certain foods inherently funny?
Gabe: You can’t get funnier than custard.
Mamrie: It rhymes with mustard. There’s General Custard. Or Colonel Mustard.
Jim: I take food very seriously so I’m offended by that question.
Gabe: All food is funny. Food culture is funny. The Food Network is hilarious. We find jokes in everything. You can make jokes about being fat, being vegetarian, whatever.
Ever thought about doing a cookbook?
Gabe: Mine would be about how to make foods taste like pizza. I literally do that all the time. Like when I make meatloaf I think, “How can I make this taste like pizza?” That’s what my book would be about. A lot of it is just oregano and fennel seeds – I will not lie.
Jim: My book would be about how to eat at night without people knowing. Like taking the chips out of the bag before going to bed. You say things like, “I’m tired. Good night.” But then you sneak back out there. You eat the quietest food you can.
Any Food Network or Cooking Channel crushes you’d like to admit?
Gabe: Jeff Mauro, the Sandwich King. He’s super attractive. So is Chuck [Hughes]. My dad’s pretty into Giada.
Mamrie: I’ve found my boyfriend watching her constantly.
Jim: You know who else is cute? Tyler Florence.
Gabe: Oh my god. Bingo. He’s a good-looking guy. And Nigela Lawson. She’s a sexpot.
Jim: Anyone who is mildly attractive but makes good food is instantly super hot. I had a girl one time who decided to sleep with me specifically because she saw me cook.
Mamrie: The spatula is the new guitar.
Check out a recent episode of Fodder: