“There’s an MMA match right here. Right here in this sinus!”
That’s what Keegan-Michael Key, half of the famous comedy duo Key and Peele, says while trying to hold himself together after consuming a hot wing. What’s more, he’s not even done, since he has to continue to consume chicken wings in rising levels of hot sauce heat while answering interview questions.
What platform puts together such vastly different actions, eating wings and sitting on a talk show? None other than YouTube channel First We Feast’s show, “Hot Ones.”
Whether you live for the gossip or whether you love food, you will still find something refreshing about this program. The host, Sean Evans, invites celebrities to consume a series of hot wings, in rising intensity of heat on the Scoville Scale, while answering unique and often deep questions.
This show strikes a universal thread because it focuses, firstly, on food, and on celebrity happenings. Even if you really don’t know the celebrity guest on the show, the show is entertaining simply for the humor of watching famous celebrities break down over a series of chicken wings.
Whereas a regular talk show host depends on the conversation to be gripping, “Hot Ones” eliminates the emphasis on image and performance and instead focuses on the resilience of the body against the heat of hot sauce.
Here are some other reasons why “Hot Ones” is the hottest talk show online.
1. Hearing a “Real” Message
On a typical episode of “Ellen” or “The Tonight Show” starring Jimmy Fallon, the talk show sounds scripted and prepared because, many times, it is. Audiences might not realize this as they are watching, but behind all of those “revealing” and “proving” conversations are scripts and lines prepared to construct and maintain the images that these celebrities have branded for themselves.
This is not the case for “Hot Ones.”
The answers on “Hot Ones” could still be fake, exaggerated or just plain false; however, for many of the celebrities on the show, it’s hard to believe that, amidst all of the pain from the hot sauces, they could still maintain their constructed images and deliver inauthentic answers.
For example, Tyra Banks visited the show to take on the hot wings challenge and even for a supermodel, known for her many flawless faces and impeccable image, she completely crumbled under the influence of the heat.
Reaching one of the hottest sauces on the show, Banks completely spit up the chicken wing, coughed free range all over her plate then laughed hysterically while spooning piles of ice cream into her mouth to cool down. She exclaimed, “That’s not even food,” and even burped on camera, asking Sean and the camera crew, “What is happening? I feel loopy.”
The scene epitomizes the point of no return, when celebrities have reached their max level of handling spice and can’t even understand Sean’s questions let alone think of complete answers. The answers that do come out audible and comprehensible seem truthful and even believable to audiences, such as when Kevin Hart answered about which muscle he is proudest of amidst his gym workouts.
Hart responded that his mind is the strongest at that moment and he is proudest that he has a strong mental game to continue his success. On any other show, this response might seem insincere; however, after pulling himself together after tears and burning lips, the answer comes across in a different vain.
2. An Awesome Host
Evans is also one of the most impressive hosts in media, and not just because he continually consumes hot wings for the sake of the show. Most might think that Evans loves hot wings and that’s why he hosts the show, but, truthfully, he suffers alongside any of the guests.
When him and his guests reach the last wing and the famous “Last Dab,” where each person may choose if they want to add a little extra dab of sauce to the outside of the wing, he never pressures the guests into adding the extra sauce and even explicitly states that its “not a peer pressure situation.”
What’s more, Evans must consume the wings quickly so that he can keep the interview going and he rarely ever shows that he is affected. He also judges where the actors and celebrities are at and adjusts to their needs and states of pain. It makes for a talk show that feels real because he actually conducts a conversation with them and pauses or stops to make sure they’re okay.
Evans never seems star-struck, never gets overwhelmed and yet speaks his mind when appropriate and laughs alongside his guests as they wonder why they would ever eat this much hot food. While other hosts might think its trendy to dance in a silly way on-stage or play a ridiculous game, Evans takes it to a new level without adding a cringe-factor to his hosting skills.
3. A New Middle Ground
The most refreshing aspect of “Hot Ones” might be that it creates a new middle ground between celebrities and the public.
On other talk shows and late-night shows, even when celebrities talk about areas of their life that relate to the audience, it can still feel like they live in a higher celebrity sphere while the audience watching lives in a lower, mundane sphere. “Hot Ones” eliminates that gap and creates a middle ground.
One of the ways “Hot Ones” accomplishes this is by the very nature of their medium. The fact that the show is on YouTube and is so easily accessible allows for a wide target audience. Many of the celebrities coming on the show admit that they are big fans and have seen many, many episodes already.
For example, Ty Burrell, who plays Phil in the television show “Modern Family,” even asks Evans questions about the sauces and how they are picked and arranged because he is genuinely interested in how the unusual show is filmed and created.
“Hot Ones” also creates a middle ground between celebrities and audiences by the nature of the challenge. Even the wealthiest celebrity, dressed-up in the fanciest clothes and with perfect makeup and physique can crumble under the challenge of the hot sauces.
This model is ingenious for a program because fans of the celebrities will love to see how they stack up against the heat, while even sworn enemies of these well-known faces can enjoy seeing them suffer from a simple chicken wing. It’s real, it’s challenging and, most importantly, it’s entertaining.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to see “Hot Ones” yet, pull up your web browser and find your favorite celebrities compete against their taste buds!
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