Comedian Hannah Hart became Internet famous by filming herself cooking things while drunk and putting them on YouTube. Now, her YouTube show My Drunk Kitchen, has earned her millions of “likes,” a recently-released book of the same name and a spot on a comedy tour, #NoFilter, with fellow Internet comedians Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart, hitting the Wilbur Theatre on August 15. In advance of the show, we checked in with Hart to talk drunk culinary skills, her favorite YouTube videos, Instagram and more.
So, essentially, you cook stuff — while hammered — on camera. It sounds a little…dangerous.
Um, well, yeah. [But] You know, I say that it’s not that dangerous because I try to make sure I don’t hurt myself. And it’s pretty fun. Basically, My Drunk Kitchen started as a joke for a friend. I was living in New York and I made a video as, like, a ‘hey, I miss you dude. I hope you’re doing well!’ sort of thing, and put it up on YouTube, and then discovered that people had “shows” online, via the comments section of this video. And I was still trying to figure out why strangers were commenting on a video that I had put online! [Laughs]
What was the first thing you ever drunk-cooked? Publicly, at least.
Yeah [laughs], publicly, at least, right? It was a grilled cheese sandwich. But, unfortunately I forgot that I didn’t actually have any cheese. So it was really a hot-buttered-toastwhich.
Did you eat the whole thing?
So now that you have a more professional operation what sort of safety precautions do you have in place when you’re filming?
I would say I make sure that there’s a sober person who will be seeing me later that night. You know, it’s good to have a destination. I find drinking too much and staying in all night is super, super depressing, so having something to go out and do really lifts the spirits.
Do you ever watch the show Drunk History?
I saw it for the first time the other day, actually, as embarrassing as that is to admit. I love it. I’m dying for a chance to get on there and kind of spout my storytelling as well. It’s so, so funny, and I like it so much because I think it’s so useful to give people information that they didn’t know. Like, My Drunk Kitchen always tries to have a self-help parody-esque message in it. And I think Drunk History also has that info-tainmet aspect to it.
Yeah, I love it. I read something behind-the-scenes about that where they talked about how drunk they actually get, which, apparently is pretty drunk. How many drinks do you usually have before you film one of your segments?
Oh my God, I am a lightweight beyond lightweight. I have zero drinks before [starting filming] and if I have started drinking before it’s incredibly obvious, because those become the more drunk episodes. [Laughs]
So was it kind of trial-and-error at first, to see how many drinks you could have without it being too much of a mess?
Yes, and I wish that I had exacted more of a science behind it. But it’s funny because people always say, ‘oh, are you really drunk when you cook?’ and I always say, ‘I am exactly as drunk as I appear.’
What do your parents think of your show?
Oh, I’m sure that they’re very, very, very proud.
So when I was in college, whenever I came home drunk, for some reason I tried to cook stir-fry, and I ended up eating a lot of semi-raw chicken. What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever cooked drunk and eaten?
Oh God, you don’t want to eat raw chicken at all! That sounds terrible.
I know, but I survived.
Ok, good. Thank God. Lived to see another day. Actually, I’ve been talking to a zombie all along.
What’s your best tip for cooking while drunk?
Um…cook in good company?
How about your go-to drunk food?
Oh man, I’m a big sucker for burritos, tacos… I guess it would have to be Mexican cuisine.
I read that one of the recipes in your drunk cookbook is a pizza cake? That sounds like the best thing ever.
That’s because it is! Pizza cake is both a pizza and a cake. Basically, you take frozen pizzas, and you stack them one on top of another, and you cook them for a few additional minutes until they’re fully cooked and crispy on the outside. Then you slice it, like you’re slicing out layers of a cake.
So you cook them stacked so that they melt together?
You know it.
How did you come up with that?
Well, if you really ever actually want to make it, the best way to do it is to cook them so that the bottoms get brown, and then start stacking them, and then let the finished product mesh together….but anyway, that’s just a real tip How did I come up with that? I don’t know, I just thought of it. [Laughs]
What’s one of your favorite viral YouTube videos of all time?
Fail Cat. It’s like only 20 seconds, and it makes me really happy.
Do you still go back and re-watch it?
I’m probably going to watch it the second we get off this call.
I probably am too, because I don’t think I’ve seen it.
Oh man, it’s so great. Oh also, ‘I Am Your Grandma,’ which is another video I really like.
I don’t think I know that one either. I need to get up-to-date on my YouTube videos.
Oh these are all super old. Trust me, I’m not a cool, hip Internet kid. I’m like the big sister of this whole group.
Are you friends with other YouTube celebrities?
So who would you count among your YouTube friends?
Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart are friends of mine; they’re other YouTubers. We’ve done some live comedy shows together and we released a movie online together last year. And then, Tyler Oakley is a sweetheart. John and Hank Gree, the Vlogbrothers, and the Fine Brothers. I guess those are my only Internet friends.
Do you guys hang out IRL, or just online?
John and Hank live far away, but when we’re in the same state, we hang out in real life.
So they say, as an online journalist, you shouldn’t read the comment section. Do you ever read negative comments and get upset?
You know, blessedly, the community that I’m a part of has been kind of self-policing, so I actually feel really fortunate that when I’m glancing through my comments they are very happy and positive and sweet and encouraging. It’s like getting all these affirmations from strangers, and I wish that everybody had something like that that they could check in to every day.
On the reverse end, then, do you ever find yourself getting a big head?
I mean, ask my friends, right? I’d like to hope not, but like, maybe. You try and stay grounded, but it’s easy to lose perspective.
You, Grace and Mamrie are coming to Boston for the #NoFilter tour. Can you tell me a little bit about the live show—do you guys do your YouTube bits live on stage?
Not really, fortunately. You know, My Drunk Kitchen is a dangerous thing to try to do live, but we just do play improve games with the audience, and do a little bit of stand-up, a little bit of sketch. It’s just kind of a raunchy variety show.
So you will not be drunkenly cooking.
I could be, though. Put it in. Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll try and cook My Drunk Kitchen live for the first time on Boston’s beautiful stage.
And then you could serve pizza cake to the whole audience.
Oh my God, you’re right! [Laughs] Dude, you have just inspired me to serve pizza cake, or silver dollar pancakes…oh, it’s all so beautiful.
The show’s called #NoFilter. What’s something you’ve said recently that, in retrospect, maybe you should have put a filter on?
I think I made a promise to cook live on stage for a Boston theater recently, that I maybe should have put a cap on before it got out of my mouth.
Last but not least, you’re pretty active on Instagram, what’s your favorite Instagram filter?
Ooh, I’m going to go for Lo-Fi.
I like Lo-Fi. You what filter I don’t think anybody has used, ever? Kelvin.
Ugh. I can’t even believe you said the word ‘kelvin.’ Didn’t we make that pact, when we all downloaded Instagram, never to speak of it?
It’s like Beetlejuice. If you say it too many times your whole life will get filtered in kelvin.