Icing: We Talk To BRAD GAGE About His “Smashed” Series ‘Drunk Driving’
What’s America’s favorite pastime besides baseball? The consumption of alcohol, of course! Would Cheers have been such a great success if it took place in a post office? I think not. Do you think Homer Simpson could ever be separated from his Duff beer? Never! Drinking is our passion and drunken tales are our rites of passage. The web series Drunk Driving with Brad Gage brings us those cherished drinking stories, but from a fresh location, the car. Relax, no one was driving intoxicated. Sober host Brad Gage invited his comedian pals to get properly wasted and then gave them the ride of their blitzed lives. Brad not only acted as the comedians’ personal chauffer, but he recorded the hilarious interviews for posterity. The guests/victims included WOMEN sketch team members Dave Ross and Jake Weisman, Dead Kevin’s Ryan O’Flanagan, We Watch Wrestling’s Matt McCarthy, Me & Paranormal You’s Ryan Singer, Beth Stelling, Lisa Best, Anna Akana and unofficial professor of spirits, Randy Liedtke. For the final episode Brad became the interviewee and his driver was none other than pal and comedy partner Christian Spicer. Fasten your seatbelts and pack those breathalyzers while you soak in our interview with Drunk Driving creator BRAD GAGE. Cheers!
COMEDY CAKE: What was your inspiration for creating the “Drunk Driving” series? What is your opinion on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History”?
BRAD GAGE: There’s something about drinking stories that we all connect with. Most times, drinking leads to crazy decisions, weird nights, and a lot of specifics people remember. I drank a lot when I was younger, so a lot of my own stories revolve around being drunk and crazy, and I knew I would have a lot to talk about with guests. I wanted to do a show where I got to showcase my favorite comics for a long time, so it seemed perfect. Owning a Go-Pro also made it a lot easier.
Drunk History really nails it. It’s the perfect blend of listening to a funny drunk person talk, and getting something out of it as an audience. Plus, it’s ripe for celebrity cameos. I love that show.
CAKE: Have any ideas for new alcohol-oriented comedy series?
There are a lot of web shows out there where people get drunk and make things or undertake activities. If I had some actual funding (unlike the no-budget Drunk Driving), I would make a series about what it was like to be a teenage alcoholic. Almost like a Dazed and Confused, but in Wisconsin where I grew up. Not a lot of movies or TV shows really portray that lifestyle realistically because the reality is VERY irresponsible and dangerous. Lucky for me, none of my friends ever got in big trouble or hurt anybody when they were drunk, but there were plenty of opportunities for stuff to go bad.
CAKE: Was it easy finding comedians to participate?
BG: Fairly easy. Once we got the first couple episodes out there, comics knew what they were getting into. If we do a second season, we might even get some actors in on it. I think people just like the opportunity to recall these ridiculous memories.
CAKE: How many people were confused by the title of the series and immediately thought you would be driving around drunk and filming it?
BG: A lot of people have a confused look on their face at first, but then loosen up when I tell them the premise. I guess there is a part of me that would LOVE the recklessness of doing one episode where I actually drunkenly drive, but of course I can’t do that. I don’t think a lot of people would admit it, because it’s SO dangerous and stupid, but people would definitely watch that.
CAKE: What was it like behind the scenes shooting the episodes? Where there any stories/bloopers that got cut that you could talk about?
BG: There are a lot of great stories that get cut for time. I let the comics meander a lot because you never know where their mind is gonna go. The funniest stuff stays in the cut. No real bloopers. Just too many stories. I’m bummed I only got to fit one of mine in the season finale, because there are just so many.
CAKE: We know alcohol tends to loosen inhibitions and expose the truth. Do you think it’s a valuable elixir when it comes to comedic performance?
BG: I think that it’s great for storytelling because it allows for a looseness and dims the nerves. It definitely brings out raw truths. It works great for the show, but as far as comedic performance, I don’t think it helps. Live comedy calls for a sharpness of mind and wit that gets messed with when you’re too drunk.
CAKE: Our votes for happiest “Drunk Driving” drunks are Ryan Singer and Matt McCarthy. Who gets your vote and why?
BG: That’s WAY too tough. Singer is more philosophical happy. He’s reached a point of zen with comedy. And McCarthy is a bundle of energy and patter. Those are definitely the happiest though. McCarthy was the one who drank the longest before we got our cameras on him. He was at the bar for like 6 hours before I got there.
CAKE: Randy Liedtke seemed the most knowledgeable about booze. Do you have any of your own snippets of alcohol wisdom that you’d like to pass on to the masses?
BG: Randy covers a lot of things I had no idea about in the “Professor” episode. I didn’t know about the process of distilling liquor and had no idea what a digestif was. I would say the most interesting was his bit about the differences between types of whiskey because that’s what I drink.
CAKE: Are there any “Drunk Driving” questions you didn’t get ask that you wish you had?
BG: I think going forward, I’m going to try to get some more dark stuff. The bad boy/bad girl behavior stories that we all have and want to forget. Comedy audiences now, me included, really crave raw honesty and secrets when they come out, and I’d love to get more surprising/shocking stories out of people. The problem is that they need to be game to share them. We all do bad things when we’re drunk, and I want to hear about more of that.
CAKE: That four horsemen shot you talked about in the final episode sounds truly frightening. What was it like have the tables being turned and Christian interviewing you?
BG: Honestly, I was craving it the whole season. It was a blast. Christian is a comedy partner of mine, and a great host. That was pretty perfect and it was nice to get some of that stuff out there. I became aware while editing that a lot of my stories are a little cringy because they involve a lot of vomit. Those aren’t my only ones though! I swear!
CAKE: Can we expect another season of “Drunk Driving”? If you do more episodes would you ever consider driving home 2 drunk comedians at the same time?
BG: That’s a great idea! I’d love to do that. I definitely think I’ll do more, but I would really like to get a brand behind it moving forward. It’s a simple, cheap, fun show. But yeah, I like it too much to stop doing it.
CAKE: What projects do you have coming up?
BG: I’m in post right now on a 6 episode web series I star in and wrote with my buddy Drew Spears. It’s called ROUGH DAY, and it’s about an angry, old-fashioned guy interacting with different annoying Los Angelenos as he walks from the east side to Venice. It’s silly and satirical and the biggest thing I’ve produced for sure. That’ll be out probably in September.