Based on gustatory adventurer Joe Ricchio's cult foodie blog Portland Food Coma, Food Coma TV (foodcomatv.tumblr.com) has had a revelatory first season. Centered around Ricchio's widely entertaining personality and anchored by comic foil Joel Beauchamp, producer Alex Steed, and director of photography Kurt Graser, Food Coma TV has become a viral sensation in just three months.
I caught up to the team for a conversation about their future plans, foodie idiosyncrasies, and foul mouths. If you've seen the show, you'll know how to read this conversation. Interruptions, loud shouting, and raucous laughter implied.
SO (JOE AND JOEL) HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR A LONG TIME. HOW DID KURT AND ALEX COME INTO THE FOLD?
JOE Alex basically created the fold. Actually, originally it was an idea for a tour . . .
ALEX Yeah, a long time ago I wanted to put Joe on a punk rock tour without music and just have him do readings. And the idea (to do it) with Kurt came up (last) summer. Kurt and I had been working on a project that's been on hold for a little bit, this documentary on an old Jewish communist.
JOE It was gonna be kind of like a Henry Rollins-meets-Rachael Ray kinda thing.
ALEX Right. And we thought, what's cooler than an old Jewish communist? Henry Rollins meets Rachael Ray. And so we came back to Joe with the idea and have been trying to make it happen since.
SO ALEX WAS JUST KINDA FOLLOWING YOU AROUND FOR A WHILE?
JOE We had talked about him quote-unquote managing me in whatever I was doing before, and basically he had this idea.
ALEX I was on an elliptical and saw a special about Jimi Hendrix. It was about how the guy who was managing Jimi Hendrix saw him and was so electrified by (him) that he needed to manage him immediately. And I called Joe from the elliptical and was like, How about I manage you?
SO JIMI HENDRIX NATURALLY REMINDED YOU OF JOE.
JOE It's because he has a prediction of me choking on my own vomit.
JOEL An untimely death.
JOE He's like, I'm looking for somebody who's gonna die out fast so I can move on and have a reputation.
ALEX It was a lot of heavy lifting for a little bit of time. And then just knowing Kurt, because Kurt is so well skilled with video production. I asked him, Does this sound like something that could actually happen? and he was like, Yeah, definitely!
WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO BRING JOEL ABOARD?
JOE Well, it was my idea to bring Joel to Lewiston just to be a guest for an episode. After Lewiston, Alex called me (while editing) and was like This is awesome. What do you think about Joel (being on the show)? and I said Yeah. Every episode. Done.
ALEX It felt really good to have Joel around, but it was like something was unleashed in Joe to have Joel around.
JOEL We have a good rapport.
JOE We have a very healthy relationship. Especially after spending all that time in France . . .
WHAT ARE THE REASONS WHY JOEL MAKES A GOOD FOIL FOR JOE?
ALEX I mean look at him.