Meet The Guys Behind Metal’s Most Hilarious Talk Show
In the summer of 2016, a video appeared on YouTube that had the metal world laughing its collective ass off. Set in Brooklyn’s famed metal venue, Saint Vitus Bar, it featured a corpsepainted talk show host named Gwarsenio Hall hosting a talk show all about metal, complete with a weather report from Danzig’s house, a guest appearance by Dillinger Escape Plan’s Ben Weinman, and Brooklyn speed metallers Mutoid Man as the house band.
The video was a pilot for Two Minutes To Late Night, a heavy metal talk show that instantly became a staple of every underground metalhead’s viral diet.
Rather than settle for being a viral phenomenon among people in Thou shirts, Two Minutes went one step further: they started a Patreon and began shooting an entire season of metal talk shows. Over the course of seven episodes, they made an indelible mark on metal culture. Their characters became well-known personalities, their big-name musical guests were impressive, and their covers of classic rock and pop songs became must-hear pieces of music. By the time their season finale premieres next Tuesday right here at Kerrang!, Two Minutes To Late Night will have become an undeniable part of every heavy metal fan’s entertainment intake.
In real life, Gwarsenio Hall and Two Minutes supporting character Kevin The Sound Guy are actually comedians Jordan Olds and Drew Kaufman, the show’s creators. In a rare corpsepaint-less moment, the guys met up with us in Brooklyn to talk about the show’s history, the craziest shit they’ve seen, and the season’s impending end.
What are both of your roles at Two Minutes To Late Night?
Jordan: We both produce, write, and trade off editing the episodes based on which one of us has a day job. I also workshop and compose most of the cover songs that we perform on the show and Drew makes the crazy motion graphics. Honestly, we’re both wearing too many hats. However, if we’re in Saint Vitus, all my focus goes towards hosting as Gwarsenio Hall. I leave everything technical in the hands of Drew and the crew and then it’s my job to guide a stage full of 35-year-olds with ADHD from one joke to the next and pray to the dark lord that it ends up being funny.
Drew: I direct, which kind of happened by accident. If you don’t know what a director actually does besides wear beret hats and tell actors what their “motivation” is, it mostly means people run up to me and ask me questions about cameras and shit. We can’t just stop the show to get Gwarsenio’s opinion on lighting, so I become the adult of the set. I’m usually the first to arrive, the last to leave, and most often the person carrying a heavy-ass camera around the beautiful death trap that is Saint Vitus. Oh, and I’m Kevin the Sound Guy.
How did the whole thing start?
J: I originally came up with an idea for a “Satanic Talk Show” as a music video. I love watching old VHS uploads of bands performing on Conan or Letterman, and so I thought it would be fun to make a music video that was just a crazy talk show performance. Then once I started seeing a corpse painted host with a crazy metal house band, I realized that I just wanted to make the actual show. I got Drew to help with it since he’s the funniest person I knew and we were lucky enough to have Mutoid Man involved since Steve Brodsky was my guitar teacher at the time.
D: We made a pilot for fun, tried to shop it around, realized we didn’t know how to shop anything around, and then we just threw it up on the internet. We got a lot of very welcoming organic publicity, and the rest is history.
Did you ever intend for the show to get this big?
D: Honestly, I thought we’d have an Emmy by now.
J: Until we get Nicolas Cage on the show, we’re not big enough.
What’s the craziest or most memorable thing that’s ever happened on set?
J: Oh man, so, we used to try and tape two episodes at a time, and the morning of our third taping, both of our planned guests cancelled on us. We absolutely don’t blame anyone, but it was kind of our worst nightmare. Thankfully, Iggy Pop’s guitarist, Matt Sweeney, and comedian Brett Davis saved our asses as last-minute guests, but we had to kinda improv our way through the skits and we ultimately ran out of time and weren’t able to film the musical performances for either episode.
Thus, when we filmed our Halloween special with Dave Davidson [of Revocation], we had to film two additional musical performances afterwards with me as the musical guest for both. So I had like 3 costume changes, and it was the middle of August so my face paint was running like it robbed a bank. We barely got through it all and I gave myself a concussion during the Everyone’s A Winner performance. I did get to keep one of those golden Batman toys, so that was pretty cool.
D: About 10 minutes after we finished shooting the finale, I was down in the basement of Saint Vitus celebrating with the gang when a pipe leaked and dripped toilet water directly into my eye. Also, it was my birthday. Really. I later found out that pipe ran under the bathrooms, but it was actually part of the air conditioning system and the gross water it shuttles only smells like piss…
How did you come up with the characters?
J: Honestly, I think the magic of the characters really comes from us being lucky enough to know so many genuinely funny people. I think it’s pretty easy to come up with “metal” themed characters, but as we’ve seen over the years, it’s easy to get it wrong and have an audience roll their eyes into their feet. So we’re very fortunate to have a super funny writer’s room and comedian friends that inspire us. Like, Hard Melissa only exists because I knew comedian Emily Panic. Only she can be THAT mean to someone and get them to laugh instead of cry. I’ve also wanted a little brother character named Cannibal Corey since we wrote the pilot, but the only reason he didn’t appear until later was because Lacey Jeka, the actress who plays him, was too busy and I didn’t want anyone else for the role. I’ve never seen anyone who can portray aloof, sweet, and funny the way that she can.
D: Me and Jorb pretty much did everything alone until we decided to dive in and make a full season with Patreon help. That’s when we pulled in Katie Rose Leon, Jeremy Hammond, and Lucie Steiner to help us write, and their input is unquantifiable. We bounce ideas around like it’s a real writers room, minus the pay and union protection. Speaking of pay, we got Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab to sponsor our show, and in return we put a fun little commercial for our signature scent in each episode. We’re all a little too punk for our own good, so it’s interesting to challenge ourselves to find fun and funny ways to hawk a product. I’m really proud of Weird Al Vira and our fans love her. If you’re reading this, you should buy Wiff-Lash. It smells like a Hollister full of Robocops.
Who was your favorite guest you had on the show? Who was a guest you were amazed you were able to get?
D: My favorite guest is Brett Davis as Roy Orbison. It’s still so funny to me and he really did improvise that entire interview. I can’t wait for his career to blow up, he’s so talented. Also Mutoid Man are so funny, they learn their lines in like 10 minutes and never ask us to change a single thing from the script. They’re still guests to me because I can’t believe we get to make a show with the best band on Earth.
J: I think my favorite guest has to be Contessa Stuto. I’ve been interviewing people for like 10 years and that’s without a doubt the best interview I’ve ever been a part of. Every guest has been really fun this entire season. There’s not a dud in the bunch, but no one has made me laugh so loud and truly shocked me the way Contessa Stuto did.
Has there been a person who has surprised you when telling you they know of the show or are a fan?
D: Cedric Bixler-Zavala. At The Drive In is my favorite band of all time and he occasionally responds to us on Twitter. I think I might have fanned too hard when I told him I had a stick and poke tattoo of his lyrics. Man, that ruled so hard.
J: For me it was Marty Friedman. He is my favorite guitar player and last year Steve Brodsky introduced me to him at a show. He complimented me on my arrangement of the Purple Rain cover, and I had to run out of the room before I punished him into the earth’s crust.
What was the concept behind the finale?
D: Jeremy Hammond had been pitching Cannibal Corey’s Gwarmitzvah since we first introduced the character. We knew we wanted to do something big and dense and sitcom-esque for the opening number, so we thought, Why not go bananas? We threw as many people on stage as possible, put Mutoid Man in cowboy costumes, and just went all in with as many surprises as we could get. I don’t want to spoil anything, but we’re obviously huge Conan fans and we subconsciously took a lot of inspiration from his last episode of The Tonight Show. Jimmy Fallon, rot in hell.
J: We wanted to make it as big as possible and make it feel rewarding to the folks who have been watching since the beginning. If you’ve never seen the show, we made sure that there’s enough exposition to help you understand the narrative. But, like, if the first thing you are watching from a show is an episode called ‘Finale,’ then you are probably a maniac.
Are you sad it’s over?
D: Two Minutes to Late Night is definitely not donezo, but making full 30-minute episodes needs to be put on hold for a little bit. Of course I’m sad, but I’m really happy with the way we did the finale and this whole season. I always think it’s good to end things on a high note and not overstay your welcome, like the Simpsons, or Stan Lee. Making a pilot is crazy. Making a semi-viral metal music talk show and developing enough of a fan base that regular folks will pay for you to make eight-or-so more is Randy Quaid insane. We couldn’t be more grateful. We asked a ton of people for help, all of whom went above and beyond what any sane person should offer. We only got the show made because we pulled favors. My dream would be for us to come back with a major financial backing so our crew can get paid what they deserve, which is free pizza and a comically large check for a small amount of money.
J: When we finished shooting the finale I was devastated. Right before the musical performance it was really hard knowing it was the last time I was gonna be on that stage dressed like the Mayor of Oreos, at least for a while. However, in the last few months I’ve talked to literally everyone who’s been a part of the show and they all gush about how they love being a part of it and they can’t wait to make more. The devastation then turned into excitement. I’m excited to have some time off to rest, focus on other projects, and jump back in the suit when the time is right. I’m so proud of what our team has made together and I can’t wait for everyone to see this finale. It’s batshit.
What’s next for the show?
J: For now, we’re going to keep doing sketches when bands we like scoot through town, and we’re going to be putting more time into the podcast. We’re also planning to travel to some other states to film more live episodes like the special we made at The Fest. Other than that, we’re just gonna hope that eventually there will be a video platform that isn’t afraid to feature music.
D: Hopefully someone reading this is a millionaire TV executive with a soft spot for classic rock and corpse paint.
You can watch every episode of Two Minutes to Late Night and listen to their podcast for free on their YouTube Channel. If you like what you see, consider donating to their Patreon at www.honorableswords.com.