Rhett and Link have been best friends for a long, long time. Using YouTube as their primary content fountain, these two “Internetainers” have delighted their millions of Subscribers (over 11.2 million and counting!) with hilarious music videos, sketches, cheesy local business commercials, and the beloved Good Mythical Morning talk-show which recently celebrated its 1,000th episode. Now, Rhett and Link are launching their brand new show, Rhett and Link’s Buddy System as part of YouTube Red’s block premium exclusive content. On October 18th, I had the pleasure of interviewing the internet’s Dynamic Duo over the phone; below is a transcription of that conversation!
How long has the idea for Rhett and Link’s Buddy System been around? Is it a fairly new idea, or one that has existed for a long, long time like Gutless Wonders?
R: Haha, good question! The idea of us wanting to do something like a scripted musical comedy where we’re playing ourselves as friends getting into ridiculous scenarios…THAT idea has existed for a long time. When we finally conceptualized it, and landed the show with YouTube and secured the funding that allowed us to make what we wanted to make…that’s when this specific iteration was born.
We never actually referred to our friendship as a Buddy System; but when we were trying to find out what we were going to call the series, it hit us that “AH! THAT’S A GOOD NAME FOR THE SERIES”, because it really represents what our friendship is and the system of two friends and how we approach so many things in life together. Buddy System tells the story of us trying to regain control of our professional lives that are spiraling out of control because Link’s phone has been stolen by our co-ex-girlfriend who’s now an evil infomercial queen. It’s all about how we come together to solve that problem, and that in itself is the Buddy System.
The show seems like it’s very different from what you’ve done previously; what’s been the most challenging aspect so far? Is it the writing? The production? The post production? etc
R: Uh, well you’re right, but Buddy System does represent the culmination of everything we’ve worked on up to this point, I would say. We just poured a lot of ourselves into this thing creatively and, I mean it’s got music videos, local commercials, and it has acting…
R: …which we’ve done in sketch form, but to do it in long form…basically, if you string this thing together you can experience it like a movie. Once all eight episodes are out. Obviously with things like the music videos we had a lot of confidence going in, we’ve done those in the past with pretty good success, and we’ve done sketches that people like, and commercials that people like…but I think, to me, the most intimidating thing about Rhett and Link’s Buddy System is the question of are we going to be able to bring this all together to make a quality product? We really wanted it to be OUR baby; we wanted to write it, and we wanted it to be from OUR minds, and have it come together as the culmination of a lot of things we’ve been working on together for a long, long time. You mentioned earlier Gutless Wonders, the screenplay we started to write together when we were in middle school…and I think that it was important for us to put these ideas that have been flying around in our heads for a long time together into one product. I would say that the most challenging part was just the amount of attention to detail and the amount of effort and hours that go into making all of this happen while we’re continuing to make Good Mythical Morning and run our business, and do everything else that we do.
I wouldn’t say it was really a surprise, but a welcomed outcome of it was that it did all come together in a way we’re very happy with, and very proud of. We don’t think we’ll be winning any academy awards for our acting, but we were also but we were also…Comedy can…well, it can be difficult for comedians to come across in a way that’s compelling…we evaluate each other; I think Link did a great job…and this is where Link’s supposed to say…
L: I think I did a great job too! Thanks Rhett!
R: We’re very proud of the show, and we think our fans are going to like it and, just as importantly, it has the potential to reach beyond our fan base and get people who may not have ever seen Good Mythical Morning, or any of our music videos or local commercials, or…
L: Even the people who hate us!
R: Yeah, even the people who hate us! This is going to turn the tide and now they’re going to like us.
Who forgets their lines the most?
R: Interesting that you asked that, because definitely…historically, Link.
L: What am I supposed to say right now? I can’t remember…
R: We thought that was going to be a problem. We really thought that was going to be a problem but Link went off and did some kind of Zen practice…I don’t know! I never saw him do it, but once he was on set he didn’t have any trouble with it.
L: I had a diagramming of my script approach; you know how in grade school they taught us how to diagram sentences in order to understand sentence structure? I actually applied that system to my script…and if Buddy System is successful I’m actually going to EBay my diagrammed script for tens of dollars.
R: Thankfully that wasn’t an issue, so I believe the answer to your question is…neither of us. We remembered everything.
L: We also mouthed everyone else’s lines while they were saying them.
R: Hehehe…ahhh….that’s enough.
Will there be any special guests showing up in Rhett and Link’s Buddy System? Any huge surprises you could maybe tease us with?
R: Sure! We’ve got appearances from Molly Shannon and Chris Parnell, both of those great SNL alums did an episode. We’ve got Aimee Brells, our co-ex-girlfriend, played by Leslie Bibb from Talladega Nights and other things that you have seen before. We’ve got Page Kennedy from Blue Mountain State and Rush Hour; he’s also a very popular online star, he plays our friend Maxwell…and then there’s us. There’s other ones in there, but that was another thing that was a highlight of us doing this; we like each other okay, and we’ve acted against each other quite a bit, but it was cool to get some people who are not us, especially really talented people who have a lot of experience acting and being funny. Seeing those people recite the lines that we wrote on screen…that was an experience that we’ve never had before. When we watch each other deliver lines, we’re just constantly critical of one another, like “You didn’t say that the way you should have said that.” You know? We’re like two brothers trying to do something, but when Chris Parnell suddenly delivers a line that you wrote, you kind of just stand there and watch. You can forget that you’re actually supposed to be acting at the same time.
It’s almost Halloween; do you guys have your costumes picked out already?
R: Ah, well that’s a great question!
L: That’s a loaded question for us because we have been arguing quite a lot about this. We wanted to go as Batman and Robin, but it just wasn’t simple.
R: We haven’t straightened it out yet, but we can tell everyone that if you watch Good Mythical Morning on Halloween, on the 31st, you will see what we finally ended up deciding on. It’ll have to be a little bit of a teaser.
Do you guys have a favorite Halloween costume of previous years, and has there ever been a time where you were particularly envious of each other’s awesome costume?
R: Well, for the past few years on Good Mythical Morning, we’ve tried to coordinate…lets’ see, what have we done?…We were the Guardians of the Galaxy last year,
L: Rhett was Groot, and I was Rocket Raccoon. I think as a child, Rhett was Big Bird, or something else that was tall.
R: That was my first ever Halloween costume, was Big Bird; are you jealous of that? Is that what you’re saying? Because you should have been.
L: I was Wile ‘E’ Coyote, but it was like that plastic mold, two-dimensional mask because it was the 80’s, and that’s all that existed. One year you went all out though, you were Albert Einstein and your wife was a thought bubble of the Theory of Relativity.
R: Yeah, we were connected by a string of thought bubbles that gradually got bigger until it burst into her, and she was e=MC².
L: …and I saw that on Halloween Day, and I was like “Man, I gotta get something…” and so I made a mask out of Duct Tape.
R: Yeaaaah, it wasn’t very cool.
Good Mythical Morning very recently celebrated its 1,000th episode; what are some of your favorite moments that have stood out over the past few years?
L: Ironically, I think it’s actually our least favorite moments that stand out as being the most memorable. Eating the Carolina Reaper pepper was stupid. I’m going on the record. Experiencing certain symptoms 11 hours later was just horrible. I don’t recommend drinking urine, or your friend’s urine.
R: ESPECIALLY your friends urine.
L: That was stupid. So yeah, I think those are my lowlights.
I re-watched that yesterday actually, you guys are way braver than I am.
R: Just yesterday my wife was reading an article and she was telling me that some dude burnt a hole in his esophagus from eating just a Ghost Pepper, not even a Carolina Reaper. It was a Ghost Pepper puree on a burger, and he was eating it at some spicy hot contest…and that condition often proves fatal! She was telling me that he was in the hospital for like 23 days. She told me “You should not be eating that stuff on your show! You’re going to make other people try to eat them!” and I was like “No, if you get an idea that you want to eat a Ghost Pepper, or a Carolina Reaper after watching us do it…then you’re NOT watching! You’re NOT paying attention!“ If anything, this should be preventative. This is what happens to two grown men who eat these things…DON’T DO IT!
What is the most disgusting thing you guys have ever eaten on Taste Test?
R: Oh man, there are a lot of things we tried that we haven’t actually been able to get down. For me, it’s the organs, man…I just can’t do it. Actually, I did manage to get some liver down in some episode not too long ago, but for me…when you get into the heart area, or liver, or congealed blood…all that stuff, there’s just a trigger in my body that says “You are NOT supposed to have this inside of you.” I just can’t do it. I find the insects to way easier than all of that stuff. Even the brains are easier than the liver. The brains are difficult though.
L: Yeah, unless they’re on a pizza.
R: Nope, they’re still horrible.
This one is actually a fan question from the lovely Amber Rodarte-Merlin, she says, “You’ve done quite a few things with SMOSH, it looks like you guys have tons of fun. What is something you really enjoyed doing with SMOSH? I also love that you guys like to give back; what are some of your favorite charities you two have worked with?
L: Uh, we consider working with SMOSH to be a charity (Laughs)
R: Hahaha, oh gosh…
L: That’s a joke, but print it! Let’s see what happens. It’s cool to work with another comedic duo because they feel our pain. We both have that “attached at the hip” thing going on. I think playing “”How Well Duo You Know Each Other?”, and then the other game where we reenacted stuff….? Oh! One of the worst experiences we ever had on the show was when SMOSH…
R: Oh yeah, we had to drink vinegar.
L: …We had to guzzle a whole liter of vinegar….and that was actually the sickest I’ve ever gotten.
R: I was sick for two days.
L: But I vomited that night, or like an hour later I think. It was a violent, violent episode but I felt immediately better.
R: I was sick for like two days after that, man. DO NOT DRINK LARGE QUANTITIES OF VINEGAR! That is a HORRIBLE idea.
L: And SMOSH didn’t make us do that, they were just guests on our show when we did it…but that was the sickest we’ve ever been for the show.
R: Sicker than the pepper. In terms of charities, we worked with a few, but I think one that’s been very special multiple times has been Make-A-Wish. We’ve had a number of Make-A-Wish kids who made the decision to see us and we were humbled and honored that there were kids that wanted to do that. We had the honor and privilege to bring them on the show, and we’ve gotten just as much, if not more than the kids themselves have.
Bonus Question: Are pineapples an acceptable pizza topping?
R: Uh, I’m pretty wide open when it comes to pizza. When people ask me what I want on my pizza, I just say “I dunno, whatever the new special is at Papa Johns” or something. If a commercial has been made recently about it, I’ll probably enjoy it, and if that involves pineapples, I’m probably going to be down.
L: We’ve eaten pork brains on a pizza. I think it’s fair to say pineapple is a welcome topping. I’ll also eat it on a burger. Just top my hand with a pineapple and I will gladly eat it.
R: A peeled pineapple though.
L: Yeah, it’s hard to get into an unpeeled pineapple.
Take THAT, Boydston. Anyway, a huge thanks to Rhett and Link for taking time out of their super-duper busy schedule to answer my questions. It’s been an honor, a privilege, and an absolute delight!
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