Every time there’s a new show, film, album or comedy special about to drop, the stars have to go on a marketing spree. They’ll make reels, show up on YouTube channels and give interviews where they answer the same old questions at least 17 times in the span of two hours. Far too often though, all we get are boilerplate, PR-approved responses that leave both them and the audience bored and unsatisfied.
In 2015, YouTube channel First We Feast figured out a fun way to switch things around and inject some fun back into the PR merry-go-round. Why not ask the questions while their guest’s mouth is on fire from biting into incredibly spicy chicken wings? Sean Evans, the host of Hot Ones, brings on guests and disarms them with “hot questions and even hotter wings”. You see, when you’re busy trying to make sure your hands don’t touch your face, or downing glasses of milk to deal with the burn, you’re much more likely to answer a question honestly and candidly. And even if some guests manage to keep their guard up, you’ve got the swearing and the chilli-faced reactions to keep things interesting.
Hot Ones wrapped up its 21st season last week, with episode #300. To mark the occasion, Evans was joined by writer, comedian and actor John Mulaney. They discuss Mulaney’s rise to prominence on Saturday Night Live!, the perils of fish food, the WGA strike and his latest Netflix special Baby J. It’s a great watch with the comedian flexing his comedic muscle even through all that discomfort. More importantly, it sent us down the customary YouTube rabbit hole where we spent the rest of the day rewatching old episodes that made our faces hurt. From all the laughing, not the spice. Here are some of our favourites!
Kevin Hart is one of the biggest names in comedy. He’s got seven comedy specials to his name and has been a part of some of the highest-grossing films of all time. But before he got here, Hart had to go through his fair share of off days that ended in boos, heckling and—believe it or not—half-eaten chicken wings being flung at him on stage. At one of his initial performances, when Hart was finding his footing in the standup comedy industry, an audience member hit him with a half-eaten wing. “A little sauce was on it too. Some of that sauce got in my eye,” the comedian recalls in this episode of Hot Ones. Does he settle his old score with chicken wings? You gotta watch the entire episode to find out.
“I’ve got a lot of bad karma coming my way,” Eric Andre tells Evans in this episode. He’s referring to his eponymous show where he has subjected celebrity guests to incredibly zany pranks, making things extremely uncomfortable from time to time. From being buck naked to getting into aggressive arguments that end in total set destruction Nirvana-style, Andre has done it all while his guests stare in disbelief. Now it’s time to clap back. Andre puts his spice tolerance to the test in this one. But he’s not holding back here either. He’s smashing plates on his head, guzzling down the hot sauce and yelling at the top of his lungs. It’s a riot.
Right at the beginning of the episode, Chelsea Handler admits that she’s had a “bad history with chicken wings and she’s here to face it.” As she faces her fiery reckoning, we get a peek into the writer, comedian, TV host and actor’s prolific career. For a lot of comedians, their interest in the art stems from watching a great show or being inspired by their favourite performer. Handler’s story is a little different. She actually got her first big laugh when she was in DUI (driving under the influence) school, where people go to learn how to behave when they’re caught driving drunk. Handler told her story and the class was in splits. She shares many more tidbits from her life in this 20-minute episode. Hit play already!
Out-of-body experiences are usually associated with psychedelic trips or near-death trauma. Hasan Minhaj is having one too, but he didn’t have to drop any acid for that. He’s just cleared out a plate of 10 spicy wings to get there. He starts off cocky, pointing out his Indian roots to Evans. Halfway through the episode though, he’s reaching out for that milk. While he suffers, the duo discuss DJ Khaled, Correspondents’ Dinner and Minhaj’s mentors amongst other things.
Aubrey Plaza is known to play deadpan roles to perfection: April Ludgate on Parks & Recreation, Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Daisy Danby in Funny People. She sticks to this stoic persona even in interviews. But there’s always that one thing that breaks someone’s poker face. Going by this episode of Hot Ones, Plaza’s kryptonite is spice. In addition to letting us in on her wide range of emotions, she shares some behind-the-scenes stories from her time on Parks & Recreation and her iconic late-night performances as she battles the hot wings. Plaza also attempts to drink milk in a brand new way. Check it out now.
Every Monday morning, we tune in to listen to Bill Burr’s latest hot takes on The Monday Morning Podcast. Burr can go off about anything and the comedian isn’t known to sugarcoat his words. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone breaks down while he’s putting them in their place. Well, in this episode the tables have turned and the manly Boston comic is brought to tears. Do his words get spicier with the hot wings, though? Watch to find out.
If you’ve ever heard any podcast or interview that Bobby Lee has been on, you know the comedian doesn’t need a reason to act crazy. He also talks about diarrhea, like a lot. Probably because he gets it too often and has no control over his bowels. In this episode of Hot Ones, Evans digs deep into Bobby’s past, diving into stories from his MadTV days and from his collaborations with Larry David and Larry Charles. Lee is in visible discomfort but never loses character. There’s a little “accident” involved as well. We don’t want to ruin anything.