Interview with Drew Kaufman and Jordan Olds | By John Silva | Photo by Drew Kaufman
While FEST is known for music, over the past few years, the annual Gainesville, Florida-based punk gathering has added a lot of variety to its lineup, including some top-notch comedy acts. Alongside a handful of fabulous standups, FEST 17 featured a performance from the popular YouTube show “Two Minutes To Late Night.”
There are hints of influence from Conan O’Brien, but, for the most part, “Two Minutes To Late Night” is like no comedy show on network TV. It’s a talk show made by metalheads for everyone, and that aesthetic runs throughout, complete with a house band led by loud guitars—Brooklyn’s own Mutoid Man—copious skulls, and a host donning a suit and black metal—or KISS?—style face paint.
Below, cocreators Drew Kaufman and Jordan Olds discuss the genesis of “Two Minutes,” their DIY influence, and tease their first-ever FEST performance.
Why did you decide to do a comedy show specific to this niche of subculture?
Jordan Olds: I came up with the idea when I was designing a music video for a band. They were a local stoner metal band in Brooklyn called Godmaker, and they wanted to do a performance video, but they didn’t have a lot of money and all the songs are really long. So, I came up with a fun idea to do a thing where it’s like a fake musical performance at an old ’90s talk show, and I thought the idea would be really fun to design a talk show that looks really satanic and stuff. Then, I realized how fun a talk show like that would actually be. The real concept for the show comes from wanting to show people how fun metal is. Even though it is about the metal genre, we want it to be a show for everybody who just loves music in general. We don’t just have metal guests, we don’t always cover metal songs on the show, but the wrapping paper is metal.
Drew Kaufman: Yeah, and to add to that, when we came up with the idea, we were living together, and I’m one of the editors of The Hard Times, so I was churning out punk and hardcore and metal jokes on, like, an hourly basis. So, we were kind of just living in that world. That’s who we are, and that’s what we like, and we’re both also comedians and filmmakers. It was all just like this blend of, “Oh, this is the thing that we were kind of born to make.” It really worked out well, ’cause it’s kind of the ultimate passion project. I can’t think of anything more “Hey, let’s do something purely out of love” than making an entire season of television for no money whatsoever.
Is there a lot of overlap in New York between the comedy scene and the punk and metal scene?
Olds: I think more so for punk than metal.
Kaufman: Yeah, I think we got really lucky these past three years. It’s become a thing that is more visible now, but I think, maybe five years ago, it was more of a weird thing. Like, I remember it being too metal for the comedy scene and too comedy for the metal scene, and I never really knew where I fit in. Really recently, I’ve met people like us, and they help us make the show now, which is really cool.
Olds: I think there’s a lot of overlap with punk and comedy now. I think now, with our show, people are starting to open up to aggressive music in general. They’re starting to see, like, “Oh, metal is one of the funniest music genres ever!” It’s so over the top. Every song is about dragons or getting high. I think a lot of our fans are probably punks who are dipping their toe into metal.
Besides the subject matter, what are some ways in which the influence of the DIY subculture comes into play? Do those ethics influence the way you create the show?
Kaufman: Let me tell you what we did today: Jordan and I both showed up at Saint Vitas Bar, where we film the show, and we carried all of Mutoid Man’s gear out of the basement and into a van, which we rented, which we then brought to Mutoid Man’s practice space. So, I can’t think of any other—like, I don’t think Conan O’Brien ever carried Max Weinberg’s drums down the stairs. We’re as low budget as we can [be]; everybody does everything. There’s so much help from so many amazing people, ’cause they like what we do. The show is almost all volunteer—’cause we don’t have any money. I think the end product speaks for itself in how much we’ve grown and learned and done stuff. It’s like, if we were a band, we went from making demos to making fucking Ride the Lightning.
Olds: Ride the Lightning but with a studio that we built—just all the kids in the town got together and built a recording studio. It’s really nuts; when people see the show, they’re like—I don’t really wanna toot our horn or whatever content-wise, but it looks like a very impressive show. The camera [people] we have are amazing, the people who do all the sound mixing—like, we’re recording and mixing live music, plus a bunch of sketches. It’s pretty nuts that it’s made with just Patreon money, and not even that much!
Kaufman: Yeah, and the Patreon is pretty new too; we just started doing that. Originally, it was just Jordan and I out of pocket. The DIY thing is like—it’s kind of like the Henry Rollins thing, like, “I’m the biggest fan of your band. Let me fucking lead it into the highest quality it’s ever been.” Three years ago, I was just a comedy writer. I never picked up a camera in my life. And now, today, because of “Two Minutes To Late Night,” I quit my miserable office job and I’m a professional freelance videographer, and that’s just because I learned so much from following other people.
Olds: Yeah, and I’ve learned a lot about—like, Drew and I have sort of divided a lot of the work into audio and video, and I handle a lot of the audio. Before then, I had never mixed music. I had used GarageBand once, and now, I know more instruments, I know Logic and Pro Tools inside and out now from working with [Mutoid Man’s] Steve Brodsky and all the other people who have donated their time to working on the show.
Kaufman: I don’t wanna sound like we’re tooting our own horns too much, ’cause feel free to hate our shit. I don’t have a problem with that if you hate it. I just want you to know that, like, we did our 10,000 hours—even though Malcolm Gladwell fucking sucks.
Olds: Yeah, fuck him!
Kaufman: Fuck that dude. But we did our 10,000 hours.
Let’s wrap it up by asking what FEST-goers can expect from “Two Minutes To Late Night” at FEST this year. Can you give us a sneak preview?
Kaufman: Well, first off, we have War On Women. They’re gonna hang out with us and be our house band, and War On Women are amazing. I love them so much.
Olds: And they’re fucking really funny!
Kaufman: They’re so funny. And the other thing that we’re gonna do—Jordan, can we give a little bit away?
Olds: Yeah, well, I’m gonna say the reason to go see us is not really to see us. We’re OK, but you get to see a lot of bands that you love in a really goofy—you’re gonna get to see them be themselves and be really funny and hang out with us, and you’re gonna learn a lot about them, but in a way that isn’t just a normal interview. I think the format of what we’re gonna do for the show is: we have a house band, and we’re gonna do, like, a debate game show with a couple different people from FEST. We’re probably gonna be working with a couple different bands—and Effy, the FEST Wrestling champion.
Hell yeah! I love Effy!
Olds: Effy is so cool! He’s a huge fan of the show, which is super flattering, ’cause I’m a huge fan of him. I’ve wanted, like, a gay metal wrestler, that’s just like—I’m pretty sure that when I [played] fighting games when I was a kid that had create-a-character things, I’m pretty sure I just built Effy every time. Like, lemme get some studs and fishnets on that shit!
Support “Two Minutes To Late Night” and get access to all kinds of bonus content by going to patreon.com/2m2ln.