If you’ve ever wished for a heavy metal version of your traditional late night chat show, then Jordan Olds and Drew Kaufman are your saviours, because the New Yorkers duo have shot the pilot for one – and it’s fucking hilarious.
Recorded in late 2015 at renowned Brooklyn metal venue St. Vitus, Two Minutes To Late Night – nice Iron Maiden reference, there – features a host called Gwarsenio Hall (Olds in corpse paint), Cave-In/Converge side-project Mutoid Man as the house band and Dillinger Escape Plan’s Ben Weinman and songwriter Laura Stevenson as guests. We caught up with the pair to find out more…
How and when and why did you get the idea for doing this?
Jordan Olds: “I came up with the idea. It was originally going to be a music video for a local doom metal band. They knew I have a past doing a lot of music videos and they pitched me, like ‘We have a nine minute song and no money – what can we do that feels a little metal?’ I was like ‘We can just kind of shoot the band’ and came up with the idea of shooting it so it looks like a talk show live performance, but the gag would be we’d shoot it on VHS and make it look like an old ‘90s talk show that was metal-themed. And after coming up with that, I was just like, ‘I kind of want to make this show now!’ So I reached out to Drew because he’s one of the funniest people I know; he’s also the only other person I know who’s into this type of music the way I am and has the same sensibilities and humour with it. He’s the only person I could have made the show with.”
Drew Kaufman: “And it was easy for him to reach out to me because I sleep 20 feet away. He just knocked on my door. Making that pilot was definitely a highlight of last year.”
Were you all as drunk as you seemed to be when you made it? And how did you snag the venue?
Kaufman: “We got it through getting Mutoid Man, because Nick [Cageao] the bassist works at St Vitus. He’s the sound guy and he’s wonderful.”
Olds: “You should explain how you got Mutoid Man, because that’s actually really interesting.”
Kaufman: “Yeah. Well, we’d heard of Mutoid Man and they were playing a show so I went and watched them just shred. It was unbelievable guitar playing, and I’ve never seen people have that much fun and not miss a note. It was unreal. They just play and flip each other off the whole time, in the middle of solos without missing notes. It’s so funny but so awesome.”
Olds: “Afterwards, I looked them up and I found Stephen Brodsky’s website. It said that he taught guitar lessons. I’m a guitar player and he does everything I want to do on guitar, so I just emailed him and asked if he still taught. He said yes and we met up and he gave me a few lessons and we started talking and I was telling him about my comedy stuff, and he said ‘You need to meet my bassist!’ After that, I literally pitched them the idea of being the house band and they said ‘Absolutely!‘”
Kaufman: “I have this theory that every musician secretly wants to be a comedian and every comedian secretly wants to be a musician, and most of the time it’s not that secret!”
Olds: “With almost every movie or sketch that I’ve made, I’ve cast a musician in it – the first stuff I made had some of the guys from Bury Your Dead in it, and Every Time I Die, just being funny and silly. Metal people just like to have fun.”
But the correlation between humour and metal is an odd one. Because the music isn’t funny.
Olds: “Oh, I think it’s hilarious.”
Kaufman: “Yeah, it’s hysterical, dude. They call them ‘Cookie Monster’ vocals for a reason.”
Sure. But it’s not meant to be hilarious.
Olds: “It’s not, but if you don’t acknowledge that it’s hilarious, that’s when it gets sad. That’s how I feel. I treat it like the whole thing is just black humour. My favourite part of metal is that it’s just really fun, and I think people are grasping onto the idea that it’s supposed to be fun. Which is why a band from Norway – Kvelertak – are becoming one of the most popular metal bands. Because they’re yacht rock with black metal. It’s amazing. It’s Boston, but there’s a guy screaming like a dying bird. With an owl on his head.”
How did you go about writing the episode?
Olds: “We were just trying to out-pun each other. There’s a lot of puns – and a lot of stuff you don’t get to see, ideas we have for the future – but we knew we wanted to do it as close to a talk show as possible. If you want to do a parody, you have to be as close to the original as possible, so we figured we had to just play by the rules – there had to be a game show, there has to be a weird remote segment where you send somebody somewhere and there’s got to be a musical guest. But we also wanted to make it our own, which I feel really came through with the Squeal Of Fortune game show.”
Kaufman: “It was Nick’s idea to put the noose around his neck though. We were like, ‘Oh my God, don’t do that!’ because there he is standing on a desk playing bass with an actual noose around his neck. It would have killed him if he’d slipped, and he’d been drinking all day.”
Olds: “To answer your question about being as drunk as it looks – he was!”
So did you make this just for fun, or also with the idea of it getting picked up?
Olds: “We wanted it to get picked up. We showed it to few places and a lot of places were confused as to why it wasn’t all metal – like, ‘Why is Laura Stevenson on this show? Why aren’t they all metal guests?’ They didn’t really get the idea that this should be a really inclusive show. Metal’s so fun because it’s just so goof and over the top and fearless, but we don’t just like one genre of music. We respect a lot of it. And metal blends with a lot of genres anyway, so it’s fun to have all these other musicians come play and be a part of it.”
Kaufman: “It’s 2016, and it’s not the metal kids beating up the punk kids anymore like it was in the ‘80s according to the movies that I watched. And everyone’s involved with different projects, every metal band has their side-project, everybody likes everybody, so to focus on one genre of music would put people off. But to go back to the question about doing this for fun or to sell it, it was really both – at the end of the day, we could have made compromises to get it sold, but we didn’t want to compromise our sense of humour. If you make what you want to make for long enough, people will appreciate it, so long as you’re doing a good job.”
Ideally, what would you like to happen with the show?
Kaufman: “Billions of dollars thrown at us! We’re the next Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Me and Jordan are going to split off and not talk to each other anymore and start our own companies. But really, I would like to take this as far as we can. If someone loves it and wants us to make a season, that sounds amazing. If we can get it on TV, that would be amazing. But we just really want to keep doing it.”
Olds: “I just really want it to continue because I want to have more fun with more people. We have so many ideas and I want to be able to make them come to life.”
Kaufman: “We’re two white dudes who are straight, but we really want to use the show to open up the world and show people bands of different colours and creeds. I’m a huge fan of the queer-punk movement and there’s so many great bands out there like Bleed The Pigs and Gloss and RVIVR, all these bands who don’t subscribe to the white dude, heteronormative punk and metal scene. I want to show these bands to people. When I was a 12 year old weirdo and I saw this show and it introduced me to Bleed The Pigs – who are lead by a gender-queer person who’s not white – it would be the coolest thing in the world to me. So to have this opportunity to take these bands that are fucking amazing and give them a stage, that would be really, really cool.”
Olds: “I’ve said this before in an interview, so I don’t know if I should say it again, but I really hope I’m the last white male talk show host. Because what more can we do now? We’re done now, white guys. But I think we have a rare platform. The show is outrageous, so why not use that platform to do something good?”
For more information on Two Minutes To Late Night, visit their website.