Here at Food Republic, we often save the best for last. Sure, we’ve already covered his friends and/or collaborators Nick Kroll, Jon Glaser, and — though admittedly not during Comedy Week, but whatever — Aziz Ansari and Marc Maron, but we are very psyched to feature Joe Mande. This dude was hilarious in his recent Comedy Central half-hour special, talking about how the first guy to ever drink milk had to be creepy. It was maybe the best slam against milk since Will Ferrell’s ill-advised consumption in Anchorman.
But I digress. Since releasing his 2010 book Look At This Fucking Hipster, Mande has been on a tear. Late last year, he did his first stand-up appearance on Conan, where he riffed ferociously against people who call themselves “foodies.” (Watch it here.) Then he did his Comedy Central special. And he just landed a gig as a writer on my favorite comedy on TV, Parks & Recreation, which he says is kind of a dream job, since it’s his favorite show too. Though it did require him to move from Brooklyn to California, where he feels required to eat healthier, as he tells us here during a break while working on next season’s antics for Amy Poehler, Ansari and company; he also talks hipster foodies, and his favorite least favorite cooking show on TV…
Parks & Rec has had some pretty good food references on it the past few seasons. How are you gonna keep up with that?
Well the snack situation at work is pretty insane, so that’s a good motivator.
Did you have a favorite character on the show?
I mean I’m good friends with Aziz, so his character is one of my favorites. It’s probably my favorite show on TV, so I love all the characters. I’m not just being diplomatic; I just like the show.
What are your favorite snacks?
I mean, cereal is always a good go-to. Ive been trying to do more hummus lately.
Ah, hummus. Because you moved to L.A?
Well yeah, I mean you gotta stay healthy, man. It’s all about health out here. Got the quinoa? Got the kale?
And you eat this while you’re driving your Prius?
Yeah, I’m actually driving a Prius. I have become a fucking cliché.
Since you wrote about hipsters I think it’s a good time to talk about the hipster/foodie nexus. What’s your take on it?
I feel like it’s just a progression. I think we’re growing up and getting fat and we’re doing it in a very hip way. [Laughs.] I don’t know, I do think it’s interesting that the foodie thing is like people getting a little older and having a little more expendable money.
It can get annoying though.
Yeah, I mean, food is great and people are — I feel like it’s replaced weather as like a thing people can talk about. You know what I mean? People love talking about food more than normal. And at the same time, like when you’re obnoxious, it’s one of the most obnoxious things to talk about if you’re an asshole. It’s not a surprising thing that assholes love talking about food in an obnoxious way. I always have to try and catch myself. I think I can fall into that for sure.
Are you into any food shows?
I watch all of them! That’s all I watch; man, I’m obsessed. Nothing makes me laugh harder than Guy Fieri. I love it. There’s a show on the Cooking Channel call Bitchin’ Kitchen and I can’t wrap my head around. Have you seen that show?
No, I haven’t.
It’s this woman from Montreal, it’s a Canadian cooking show, but she pretends to have an Italian accent. She tries be all hardcore. She does sketch comedy and cooks food. It’s the most insane show I’ve ever seen and I watch it all the time. It makes me so furious: it’s like really bad comedy and the food doesn’t look that good. Just, the whole thing is really confusing.
Ha. Well to leave on a more positive note, what are your favorite food-comedy moments?
David Cross’s bit about eating gold at a fancy restaurant. And Jon Glaser’s ongoing obsession with hoagies on Delocated.