How many New York gays does it take to figure out a pepper grind(e)r? You’d be surprised.
Try a whole room-full, camped out on couches, sleeping on sofas in the basement of a Hells Kitchen condo. Read: things I didn’t expect to see when Joshua Shoopman invited me over to watch the filming of his forthcoming comedy cooking show, Cooking with Comedians.
There was that poor English muffin, disavowed of its integrity with a chefs knife, left lying in cubes, surrounded by a puddle of crumbs.
There was no less than a 30 minute conversation about “melting butter”. The butter waited eagerly to be melted, on a marble cheese board. It might have melted a little bit on the inside, just waiting. I might have, too.
There was the weary, eagle-eyed cameraman, Jonny Tompkins, who spent most of 72 hours peeping through camera lenses, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., rinse, repeat.
There were double takes of lemons before they were cut. There were double takes of lemons after they were cut. There were dull knives, straining before failing to cut said lemon. “I don’t know what to do, we don’t have another lemon.”
Vodka. Vodka. Vodka. “Alphonso!? Are you there!?”
I had no idea this was going to get so serious.
Part College Humor comedy skit, part instructional videos, Cooking with Comedians emerged through Shoopmans ambition to start Newdiemag.
Like the magazine, Cooking with Comedians is produced to introduce people who order Taco Bell on postmates. I was expecting a few short episodes, some food jokes. Maybe an eggplant or two.
Then, the broadway talent showed up.
Shoopman recruited JR Bruno, of Book of Mormon. Episodes were planned, talent jumped on board, and here we were. Bruno, ironically the only part-time chef of the entire lot, serves as host of each episode.
In the session I witnessed, New York Stand-Up Comic and Actor Remy Germinario plays a convincing Ina Garten, of Barefoot Contessa. Perhaps too convincingly, Germinario’s Garten pretends to host the show, but quickly becomes preoccupied in her garden, with phone calls, with flourishes, and leaves Bruno to helplessly prepare the entire lemon chicken recipe.
Gastor Almonte, of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, cooks eggs benedict. It came out perfectly, somehow. The bag of English muffins didn’t do so well after Almonte got finished with some handy knife work.
Lorena Russi, a.k.a. La Rata, had her pepperoni pizza unfortunately sabotaged by Shoopman’s shopping skills. The otherwise perfectly executed pizza recipe did not execute when instant yeast was substituted with the slow-rising variety. The Queer-Latina comedian had to endure not one, but two bites of the pizza. There’s lingering guilt around what happened next.
“I actually thought they were going to be sick and we were going to have to cancel the show,” Shoopman said. “It was that bad.”
Bruno later described the experience as “being stabbed in the tongue with a dull spoon.”
There were learning moments, too. Hannah Boone, formerly a Laugh Factory regular, learned that eggplants actually sweat water in real life, not just in emojis. “The bitterness dissipates,” Shoopman quipped. “Who knew.”
Michael Salgarolo (whose impersonation of Donald Trump easily bests Alec Baldwin) cooked a Mexican casserole. It brought meats, it brought cheese and I’m sure, I’m sure some of it was good eating, okay.
Kenice Mobley, a stand-up regular in Boston and New York and host of the Person About Town Podcast, aces Spaghetti and Meatballs.
All in, Shoopman blew through about $400 in groceries for the spectacle. The show, Shoopman says, is anything but a conventional cooking show.
“I’d almost say this is more real than a traditional cooking show,” he said. “This is real people, who don’t know how to cook, making real food, on set. I learned a lot more than I thought I would.”
Just be forewarned, real ingredients were harmed in the making of this production.
Newdie Mag will release a new episode of Cooking with Comedians every other Monday at 8 p.m., starting Oct. 8. Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up in Hell’s Kitchen will host a live launch party featuring $4 well drinks all night long.
Subscribe to the Newdie Mag Channel for free on YouTube to see more:
JR Bruno https://www.jrbruno.com
Kenice Mobley https://kenicemobley.com
Lorena Russi http://www.lorenarussi.com
Hannah Boone http://boonecomedy.com
Gastor Almonte http://gastoralmonte.com
Remy Germinario http://www.remygerminario.com
Michael Salgarolo https://www.michaelsalgarolo.com
Cinematographer: Jonny Tompkins http://jonnytyo.com