BU grad and comedian Dave Ahdoot and his co-star Ethan Fixell, host of comedic dating game show Dave & Ethan: Lovemakers (on NBCU’s new streaming comedy channel Seeso) have some dating experience—more than 200 double dates’ worth. The pair solicited the dates through YouTube and Craigslist as part of a YouTube comedy series, which led to their new show, for which the two pick people at random off the streets of New York and try to make a love match. We tapped the two for some dating knowhow.
Ethan: Basically, trial by fire is the answer. Dave and I, in 2008, put up a video on YouTube in which we asked ladies to double date us, and we hooked that video up to Craigslist ads in every major city in the US, which resulted in us going on over 200 double dates. It’s pretty crazy. That became the basis for our YouTube channel, where we started doing videos about that, and those transformed into videos where we tried to pick up more people, and that all became the basis of our live show, and the live show became the basis for our new show.
Dave: There were a lot of strange ones. One of the dates came to NY from out of town and requested we find them hard drugs right off the bat. That was a good one.
Ethan: We had a lot of issues with people not being upfront with us. At one point, we met up with two ladies who said they were 21 or 22 but they were definitely not. They were way younger. Way younger.
Dave: There was a pair that we both dated for three months, then there were a lot of situations where Ethan’s girl wouldn’t be into him… [Laughs]
Ethan: It was very rare that both of us would have a successful night out with both women. It was always that one of us was really into one of them or one of them was into us or we were into the opposite girls that were into us. Whatever it was, there were a lot of different combinations that rarely resulted in everyone being happy.
Dave: Every time we did that the girl was upset—the one who ended up with Ethan.
Ethan: We would also set up codes for ourselves so that whatever it would be, we would change it that night. But we’d set up a code that so if we would bring up a certain topic we’d know that it means that we either have to eject or switch. So if he started talking about Sex in the City, which was popular at the time, then we’d know that the other person was not happy.
Ethan: I would say that my number one tip in general is to get out there and not be afraid to fail. If you’re a single person, the number one thing you should do is be OK with approaching someone and being rejected. We made our careers off of that. Just getting rejected. Once you build up an immunity to that, and you’re no longer afraid to fail, you’ll actually end up meeting someone who is great for you.
Dave: After years of fear, he got himself out there and now he has a wonderful wife that I’m envious of. She’s so great.
Ethan: This interview got a little weird.
Dave: I didn’t mean that I wanted her to be my wife.
Ethan: Are you sure?
Dave: Let’s move on. My dating advice would be that there are a lot more first dates occurring with this online world and Tinder and all of that. And I think that it’s very important that on the first date you keep it kind of light, as far as conversation. There are a lot of times when people want to talk politics or abortion. You don’t want to speak about anything that can just steer the date in the wrong direction early on. Like heavy religious beliefs. I like to keep it light on the first date. Just fun.
Ethan: Oh God. There’s a lot. I always come back to the same one for myself because it was so depressing and humiliating. Dave and I went out with two women who were friends and they could drink us under the table. I don’t know, I think one of them was [in the] military or something—or she was an undercover frat guy. Anyway, they were drinking so much, and I wanted to impress them and keep up with them, and when we split off, Dave went with one person and I went with the other girl. I literally fell asleep mid make-out! And she ended up leaving and going to hang out with Dave and the other girl, and then they had a whole date. I was sleeping like a baby.
Dave: She came back and told us the story. It was pretty funny.
Ethan: Wasn’t funny for me!
Dave: That’s another great lesson. Don’t try to drink more than your date. Always try to keep pace with them or drink less than them. You don’t want to be the really drunk one.
Ethan: We get a lot of people who are weirded out.
Dave: New Yorkers have a really high threshold for weirdos approaching them on the street. We would say some crazy shit and people would just be completely unphased. I was surprised by how many people were into it, like right off the bat. We thought it’d take a lot longer.
Ethan: Even though New Yorkers are pretty jaded, I think a lot of the foreigners too, some of them , whether they said yes or no to us, they would be like “Oh yeah. This is what happens in New York. This is what happens when you come here.” [puts on a vague accent] They were just assuming that that’s what happens. Apparently, all the foreigners were from Germany according to my accent. [Laughs] But, they weren’t really.
Dave: Through this particular show, I don’t know. I think out of the six episodes, four actually went on a date but I don’t know if anyone is still seeing each other. There is one contestant, the person who chose her, she became my friend on Facebook and she’s kind of been asking me: “Hey, is this guy gonna take me out?” That’s messed up. So, I’m trying to get in touch with the guy.
Ethan: There was one couple in which the girl and the guy totally didn’t like each other. I think the girl didn’t like the guy more than the other way around. She ended up going out with somebody from our crew instead.
Dave: We did a wonderful gay episode. I think one of the losers was persistent to go out with the guy… Even though that breaks the rules of the show.
Ethan: We better! Yeah!
Dave: We’d have a part in it and we’d make our grandmas so proud for our matchmaking. But just a little more backstory, Ethan and I had a live show in New York called “Double Date Us” and we started touring universities. To date, we’ve done at least more than 300 colleges and at the end of every show we would do this dating game where we would bring up random people from the crowd. It’s very similar to the show. That’s kind of how we got used to the format. We did it a few hundred times.
Dave: Yes. Lots.
Ethan: All sorts of ridiculous questions. I’m not even going to repeat them actually. A lot of the times, when they’re not crazy, the questions are very, very simple and borderline almost sad. Because it’s like “Hey, how do I tell a girl I like her?” Things you think that a college kid would have a hold on.
Dave: I think that the technological age that we’re in, we’re so used to using phones and stuff, and not used to going up to people in person, and I think that a lot of younger people have struggled with that. It’s just interesting.