too many cooks

The world changed forever on October 28, 2014, at four in the morning, but most of us wouldn’t know it until almost a week later.

When Adult Swim debuted Too Many Cooks in that early morning time slot, almost no one thought it would find an audience. Within a week, the surreal 11-minute parody of a ‘90s sitcom theme song had racked up over 5 million views on YouTube and earned public praise from the likes of Zach Braff and Star Wars director Rian Johnson. (In the years since it’s pulled in another 15 million streams on YouTube, and that’s not even counting all the parodies, explainer videos, and unofficial rips.)

It took a full year, a skeleton crew, and dozens of extras to bring this half-baked concept to life. To mark its four-year anniversary, and shed a little light on how a bit of late-night stoner comedy won over the internet with surrealist humor and a catchy tune, Inverse spoke to 10 people behind Too Many Cooks, from creator Casper Kelly to the musicians who wrote the song, to the villain.

Here’s the story of Too Many Cooks, in the words of its unlikely creators…

Check out a behind the scenes look at how this article came together and read on for the full oral history of 'Too Many Cooks'

How It All Started

Casper Kelly (creator): I knew Adult Swim had that 4 a.m. slot where they were doing weird experimental stuff, and I guess I saw an old sitcom with people smiling and looking at the camera in the opening. Something gave me a funny feeling looking at that, and I had the idea of continuing it for an uncomfortably long time.

Matt Foster (crew): I was working on Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell with Casper. This was an idea he’d said he had floating around for a while. He’d written it out before but didn’t know if he would pitch it.

Paul Painter (editor): I was in from the start. Casper had the idea, and we would go out to lunch all the time. We were brainstorming at lunch for a few months, and then all of a sudden we were shooting.

Casper Kelly: I had this idea but didn’t know if I could keep it going for 11 minutes. I told a co-worker, Nick Gibbons. Then we were at a work party with our boss Mike Lazzo. There was an awkward pause, and Nick told my idea to Mike to fill time. I don’t know if I would have ever pitched it, but Mike liked it, and I didn’t want to let that opportunity go by.

Alex Orr (producer): I grew up in Atlanta, and I’d done a couple live-action pilots for Adult Swim. So, I knew all those guys from around. It was something they wanted to do, and they just told me about it over lunch. Kind of like this endless credit sequence — and lizard people. It sounded funny.

Planning and Prep

Casper Kelly: I said to Mike, “I’m not sure how long that will work.” He said, “I don’t know either; you should have some other stuff ready.” I just wrote everything I could think of and things started developing in real ways. I started forming a narrative. Not much dialogue, but I wrote the ideas out.

Paul Painter: Basically, Casper had an idea, and I was like, how are you gonna make that interesting for 15 minutes? We were all spitballing and coming up with ideas. I had the idea to put in a Hannibal Lecter Silence of the Lambs sequence and have him in the background of all stuff. An Udo Kier type of character.

Casper Kelly: I worked with Paul, and we pulled in a bunch of sitcom openings off of YouTube and started building the story and figuring out the rhythm before we even shot anything.

Paul Painter: I downloaded a bunch of sitcom openings off YouTube — Full House, Small Wonder, the Urkel show Family Matters — and put them all together with fake stock music tracks. The Too Many Cooks font was a direct lift from Full House.

Full House Too Many Cooks

Matt Foster: We pulled a ton of stuff, and it took a while. I’d come in, and they’d pull five shows each day. I walked in one day, and it wasn’t even Beast Master; it was Manhunter. I had no idea what they were even watching, just women turning into falcons. We watched probably 40 or 50 sitcom intros and used nearly all of them to create that early video.

Paul Painter: We practiced seeing how long we could keep that going. Once we saw stuff that was working, Casper had someone storyboard it up with classic sitcom moments, like accidentally roller-painting someone’s face. That one feels like a trope, but we couldn’t find it online.

We didn’t think anyone but the four of us would enjoy it, so we just tried to make each other laugh. All the best stuff comes from that, making your friends laugh.

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Original storyboard for 'Too Many Cooks' (1)
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Original storyboard for 'Too Many Cooks' (2)
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Original storyboard for 'Too Many Cooks' (3)
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Original storyboard for 'Too Many Cooks' (4)

Casting

Casper Kelly: We didn’t have a ton of money, so we used extras for casting. Usually, with extras, you just go off a photo, but I actually did want to see how they’d look when they did their action. I had them audition a little bit. Nice thing about that is going off the immediate look: That looks like the smart daughter. That looks like the crazy daughter. I also called a few friends I knew who looked a certain type.

Alex Orr: When you get called to do background work, you expect to be pantomiming. Instead, we were like, alright, you’re a lizard, now you’re an alien. They had a blast because they’re usually not participating. My baby’s in it. Finding babies was like, who’s got a baby? I had one, so we just threw it in there.

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"Finding babies was like, who’s got a baby? I had one, so we just threw it in there."

Matt Foster: People would come in and know what their particular scene was for the most part, but only got a sense of what was going on. The waiting room was a circus. Monsters. All sorts of normal people. A bunch of chefs. Other crazy things.

Casper Kelly: I think I did explain the concept. I don’t know if that helped. I don’t know if they understood anyway. I tried to explain it to give them as much context as possible. I remember the sequence where the credits and the people are flipped. I tried to explain that to the graphics company. I tried to draw it. They still didn’t get it. It took a long time to make it make sense.

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"I tried to draw it. They still didn’t get it. It took a long time to make it make sense."

Matt Foster: None of these people were really actors. We cast by look. For the fireman, by example, we went through better actors for a guy who had the look. But everyone came in and nailed it. They were mostly extras, and we were friends with the local improv company Dad’s Garage, so they helped out.

Paul Painter: We cast for a while but continued to cast up until the day of shooting. There were so many roles we cast that all needed a very specific thing.

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"None of these people were really actors."

William Tokarsky (plays the villain): I got cast on Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell because I had a receding forehead, and the cast who play demons need to have horns glued on. I’m not a handsome man, but I am photogenic. I just hit it off with Casper. We became friends on set, and I never thought any more of it. Then I got an email from his producer Alex Orr asking me to audition for the short. He said, “I want you to stab forward with a knife with a menacing look on your face.” I recorded it on my phone and got the role. That’s how I did it, and I had no idea what we were gonna do.

Katie Adkins (girl who runs from the villain): My agency contacted me and were like, “Hey this is something. You don’t have to audition if you don’t want to.” They weren’t paying a lot, but I’d pretty much work for free for Adult Swim. Then I did the audition. It was just a self-tape recording. They wanted me to act like I was getting attacked and scream, and then be completely frozen. That part was simple and straightforward.

Matt Foster: For the role of Pie, originally we were like, David Lynch is Pie. Casper and I were both huge Lynch fans, but it felt a little too obvious. So we were like, who’s another freak-ass director we like? And we picked Lars Von Trier.

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Original shot list (1)
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Original shot list (2)
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Original shot list (3)
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Smarf

Shane Morton (practical effects): Casper and I had been working on Your Pretty Face. We became friends and talked about movies a lot. He started talking about this project, this crazy thing he’d been working on for a while called Too Many Cooks. He needed some reptilian aliens. Of course, there was no budget. He had some ideas. He had this Smarf the Cat who turns into Terminator 2.

So I drew some sketches of Smarf and this reptilian alien. I actually had a pretty nice mask already built for this weird albino alligator person. So I showed him that and he said, “Maybe we can change this thing up, put some different eyeballs in it and stuff.” In a very short time, we built the suit.

Casper Kelly: I’m really happy with how Smarf turned out. I wanted it to look off-brand. Like, there’s Jaws, and then there’s like the five knockoffs. That’s what I wanted for Smarf. It’s sort of Alf. Sort of other things, but it doesn’t look quite right.

Matt Foster: Casper wanted an Alf-type character. I just found a really terrible cat puppet from another show. It became more of a rough cat instead of a puppet alien

Paul Painter: Chris Brown made it. He’s a professional puppeteer. He works with Henson people and does mascots for sports teams. He threw Smarf together so quickly because of how little prep time and money we had. He just tossed it together and only made one. When we covered it in blood and it kind of got destroyed, he was a little disappointed. He said he could have done better. But that puppet really latched on.

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"Of course, there was no budget."

Shane Morton: Chris Brown is my top puppet guy. He fabricated Smarf the Cat. Then I took that sculpt and fabricated the robot version.

Chris Brown (made Smarf): Yup, I made Smarf. I worked with Casper on Your Pretty Face, and he asked me to create a cartoon cat. I think I made it from start to finish in a week. It was fast. My Smarf looks like it drank too much coffee for days on end. He has that tweaked look like he could go for your throat.

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Smarf creator Chris Brown posing with his puppet

Shane Morton: I wouldn’t change anything about Smarf. I thought it was perfect. Maybe the thing I would have changed is doing a practical head explosion, which was something we hoped to do when his head blows up, and he becomes Smarf Terminator. But all the stuff with the sparks and smoke was digital. We didn’t have the time to shoot the practical effects. But it kind of works. It gives it this cheesy quality that makes it funny.

Chris Brown: I was puppeteering Smarf as he crawled across the floor, and it was my hand that used his to touch the button. I’m also 6-foot-5, but that’s the weird thing about puppeteers, you gotta hide a person attached. In that final moment, with all the characters, I’m laid stretched out across the floor with Smarf high-fiving some guy.

Shane Morton: In the business, you kinda know the worst thing to work with is puppets because they just eat up your day. It takes forever to shoot puppets. We got lucky. Chris was such a good puppeteer.

The Music

Casper Kelly: The music was a hard process. We had a bunch of sample tracks that I liked. I think one I really liked was The Facts of Life because it has a real happy theme. Also, the Golden Girls theme. I did a lot with the first composer, Michael Kohler. Then we tried to do the genre shift, and he couldn’t do it. We went to another composer, Shawn Coleman. He did a bunch of themes, but it was missing some of what the first theme had. I didn’t want to offend either of them, but I ended up combining it.

Michael Kohler (musician): I think the first thing I recorded was something I sang into my phone in 2014. I kept singing it in my head before I got to the studio to lay it down. I sang it into my phone because I’m always worried I’ll forget ideas, but in this case, as soon as I started singing it, I couldn’t stop. My wife asked what I was singing, and I said I didn’t know yet. Once I recorded it I thought, “OK, I’ve poisoned someone else now.”

Paul Painter: I had to hear that song more than anyone else on Earth. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever worked on. I hated it when we were making it, but I really did love it but hated it at the same time.

Shawn Coleman (musician): We both did demos. Michael‘s was the main one. Then I got it back on my side, got all the instruments, sang the main part, and hired a female singer. The first few minutes are the theme I arranged. That was quite time-consuming in its own right. Just making sure the main jingle was carrying us. So I did all the arrangement and played all the instruments.

Casper’s first feeling was it would be the same 30 to 40 seconds of music looped the entire thing, but I got the sense that wouldn’t be funny. After the first few loops, it would be bludgeoning and assaulting. To keep it engaging and weird, you’d want it to adapt.

I know the trick of dancing the line of nodding to those songs but not ripping them off. I want you to remember it. The trick is to jam a bunch of things from that era together. Your brain remembers. Like with GI Joe, also use ThunderCats. I steal a bunch of things so it’s not illegal; you’re not just straight-up ripping anyone off.

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Script with the original lyrics for 'Too Many Cooks'

Michael Kohler: Once I gave it to them, they went away for a while. After that, I saw pieces of it, and I knew Shawn was starting to do different versions and sweeten it. Once Shawn took it, he ran with it. I just breathed a sigh of relief to get it out of my head. I kind of felt bad for Shawn.

Shawn Coleman: It was pretty stressful. Typically, they lock the picture and don’t change the timing anymore. But I would do some music, and then they would come back in a few weeks and have changed everything. So I’d have to rework where the hits were. It’s kind of an ass-backwards way to compose music. For a surreal thing, it’s probably why it has that energy. Picture informed music, informed picture. It’s like a snake eating its own tail.

Casper Kelly: It was lot of back and forth because we would get the music and put it in the edit. They would be like, “Music doesn’t work that way.” To edit something, usually, you do the music to go with it. But here we were doing both at the same time.

Paul Painter: It was really tricky because when editing to music, you have to stay within rhythms and bars and measures. But Sean Coleman and I were working in-time. We were standing on each other’s shoulders, like an M.C. Escher process. I don’t know how we pulled it off, but we did.

Shawn Coleman: When you work on music in any kind of audio mixing, so much of it is listening to it over and over again. I would hate to be in the back of the room listening to it on loop. Over the course of the year, it was pretty insane. It was like the Apocalypse Now of audio mixing.

There are still some things I wanted to change, too. I figured we’d put it out and then make additional changes. But then it went viral, and I couldn’t change it. It never resolved. Kinda bothered me, but that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. It just keeps going up. It never resolves.

The Shoot

Casper Kelly: We shot on some set with extra materials over two or three days, and then a day of pickups — like the tennis court or the woman we shot through the door. But most of it was in just a few days. I was animated by fear of not doing enough. I was worried there wouldn’t be enough. Even while shooting, I would add ideas. It was a rare moment where I didn’t second-guess myself

Paul Painter: We had it storyboarded, but it was a circus. There was a general sense of confusion on the set, which was kind of fun. A handful of us saw the big picture, but most didn’t. They were enthusiastic but didn’t know what they were part of.

Alex Orr: There’s only like a couple very small dialogue scenes. Everything else is just, “Alright get in front of the green screen and pretend you have a laser gun.” Each little bit you can shoot in two minutes. They had a pretty good storyboard, and Casper knew what he wanted. We’d move quickly, which was key so he had enough elements to work with. We had to plan our bloodbath appropriately so we could destroy everything and spill blood as we went. It was as normal as it would be for shooting something that weird.

Katie Adkins: It was pretty funny seeing random people come out in their costumes. We all had no freaking clue what was going on. One guy was wearing a wizard outfit. At one point, I was supposed to be in a pillow fight with a robot and a lizard, but they traded me out for the cop to make it funnier.

I tried to ask what exactly this is. Everything I shot was in one day. Every time I asked, they were like, “Oh, you know, it’s like a sitcom.” Then I saw them painting blood on the Smarf puppet, and I was like, “What’s this guy?” and they said, “Don’t worry about it.”

William Tokarsky: When I showed up on the sound stages, I was impressed. For the performers, there was no script. Casper would have an episode or scene of the show we were gonna mock and show it to us.

Paul Painter: The shoot itself was a pretty herculean undertaking from our perspective as well. We didn’t have anything near the budget to pull something like that off. That’s where Alex Orr stepped in. He had access to sets and production studios we needed, and the know-how to make the best use of everyone’s time.

Alex Orr: We shot on a borrowed camera, so that was free. We shot on a borrowed set on the weekend and didn’t ask for permission. I was the first assistant director, gaffer, and lighting shots on set. I just did whatever I had to do to get it done. The few times we rolled sound, we just had a Zoom recorder. The sound department was just borrowing gear. This was a total non-union, DIY kind of thing. It cost maybe $45,000. It was super cheap.

Shane Morton: It was a crazy shoot. We were running around. They were shooting The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and we were using their sets and jumping from set to set. It was so big we were using scooters to get the props from set to set. This thing was so low-budget. Casper was pulling every favor he could. Everyone just did it because it was such a cool project, and he’s so awesome.

The Toughest Scene to Shoot

Matt Foster: I think the hardest shot to capture was the camera spinning in the middle of the kitchen table. That was unpractical. Behind the camera, two people are changing out in chairs. That included people in costumes and a puppet. We had about six takes. And there was basically something busted in five of them — but we got one to work.

Casper Kelly: The shot where you’re rotating around the table was very tricky. People had to constantly run away, and we had to do a few takes to get that right.

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Alex Orr: It took some time to figure out the way the camera spins around the table and the characters are changing out. Gosh, I had a video of that somewhere. It was me sitting on top of the set on a ladder barking at people to lay on the ground or jump up as the camera moved around. The camera was on this crummy plug-in turntable someone had for something else. That was tough.

Paul Painter: Someone rigged up a mechanical Lazy Susan. Everyone had to enter and leave before the camera got around. There were no cuts in it or CGI.

The Murder Scene

William Tokarsky: When I crawl out from under the bed and go to kill the girl in the closet, I actually scared her. We joke about it now, but she was actually intimidated. That was fear on her face.

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Katie Adkins: Oh yeah, he did. I didn’t get a chance to get to know or talk to him before filming. And seeing him out of my peripheral slowly coming at me actually freaked me out a bit. I’m fairly convinced I was cast off my horror movie scream. That’s my actual scream. But I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t a very challenging role.

William Tokarsky: The fun part was doing the scene where I’m eating the human flesh. We had BBQ that day for lunch.

Katie Adkins: There was a lot of running. The only awkward or challenging thing was the running. I run too fast. So I had to slow down and still run frantically. A lot of friends make fun of me for the running, but I blame it on that. I tried to go for the dramatic, “Oh my God, running from the bad guy; I trip here and frantically look behind myself.” I also had to keep with the same pace as the camera guy, so it was a frantic half-jog.

William Tokarsky: The jacket was my own jacket. The sweater I put in a cardboard box and lost. The original machete, too. I wasn’t worried about money one way or another. Alex Orr comes up to me and says he needs to pay for the extra day and asks me to sign a release. I got paid $200 a day and $350 for that last day.

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Left to right: William Tokarsky, Smarf, Karen Cassady

Casper Kelly: Will was on a show of ours called Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell. He’s the first guy in the pilot. He has a great look, and I liked him. He worked at an auto company and was a Vietnam vet. He’s retired but working as an extra just to get out of the house. He was driving his wife crazy. Now he’s got roles. He’s in Jumanji. He’s got a great look, and like so many actors, he’s different than the roles he played.

Matt Foster: He’s the sweetest, softest talker, but man he looks scary sometimes.

Paul Painter: He’s the most gentle guy in the world. He had kept telling me during shooting that it was gonna go viral, and I thought he was crazy, but he knew.

Matt Foster: I think the killer has a name that only Casper knows. But that’s a secret he likes to keep. I think he said there’s a name hidden in the scramble, but I’ve given up.

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Shane Morton: I’ve got William’s head chopped off sitting in my lab. The lab is set up like a museum you can tour. Everybody that comes through, I would say 80 percent say, “Holy shit, it’s the killers head.”

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The original script (page 2)
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The Stuff That Didn’t Make It

Casper Kelly: We were gonna have this thing, it’s hard to explain, where we showed a different view of reality where everyone is still but they’re moved by these lizard people that we can’t see. Like, when you move your hand up to wave, you’re a puppet where a lizard moves your hand. But we decided that was too much.

Matt Foster: We were gonna have a Matrix shot of aliens going through a mucousy world. Basically, we were gonna see behind the scenes through another dimension through a viscous portal.

Paul Painter: We were gonna have a second show, too. In the original ending, when he walks in and says, “Hey honey I’m home,” we filmed something for an upcoming show to preview, but that never happened.

Matt Foster: It was something like Clarissa Explains It All. She was just being droll about a pregnancy scare. That was the one where we were like, “No, that’s too many. Just roll the credits.”

Paul Painter: We were gonna call it Two in the Bush.

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The original ending for 'Too Many Cooks' teases another show.

Shawn Coleman: Initially, I did The Office music when we get into the office setting. I did a Dunder Mifflin-y kind of thing, but at that point, we were still trying to bludgeon the main theme.

Shane Morton: There was supposed to be an entire army of lizard people. You see him sitting on the couch in the living room. He’s kind of this green half-Godzilla. We had planned on having, like, an army of them. We did shoot a bunch of blue screen things where they had different armor, but that didn’t make the final cut.

Editing

Casper Kelly: It took a very long time to edit, far more than I expected. We didn’t do it full-time, but we spent a year off and on working on it. My feeling was, “I love it, but I don’t know if anyone else will like it.” I probably could have done a movie in that time. So career-wise, I wasn’t sure.

Paul Painter: It was like crafting a fine ale and cheese. Let it age and come back and visit it. We just had to make it so we were as not-sick of it as we could be.

Matt Foster: We would sit and watch it every day, every other day. Paul and Casper would work on it constantly. We had a 20-minute discussion about how many times the falcon would turn its head. We were advised to take that out. But we were being stubborn because it made us laugh.

William Tokarsky: They had huge monitors and a half-dozen people sitting in chairs and couches discussing how they’re gonna do it based on many cuts. It’s kind of a collaborative genius. They’d take suggestions from anybody.

Alex Orr: I remember when they finally had a rough cut together with the song. I went to see it without any special effects, and I said, “Oh, we fucked up, that’s not funny at all.” But then when I saw it with all the stuff in there, I said, “Oh, that’s fantastic.” When you can see the blue screen, it just looks ridiculous. It looked like we had been huffing gas for two days. But when they had gone through the paces with awesome ink, I was like, wow this is next-level silliness.

Shane Morton: There was so much really imaginative VFX work that really informed the scene. So I had no idea it was gonna be as good as it was. I knew it was gonna be weird and fun, but I had no idea it would have this effect on you when you watched it. Watching that thing, it makes you feel like time and space are distorting, and your whole reality is affected. A lot of that is weird editing and smashing through fourth walls that aren’t there.

Shawn Coleman: [Casper] would bring in sound effects when it went off the rails. For the killer, he brought in four different drones and buzzes. It’s pretty amazing how he was able to puppeteer this into what it was. I think in some ways, Casper always knew how he wanted this to land.

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Going Viral

Paul Painter: It aired for a full week at 4 a.m. and nothing really happened. And then somebody captured it and posted it on YouTube, and it spread online. We left that link up for a few days so the momentum didn’t die. Once people knew where it was, we were able to shift that over to Adult Swim on YouTube.

William Tokarsky: They never expected that song to take off like it did. Someone that Friday bootlegged it on YouTube. Monday morning it had 5 million views. My son was in the Coast Guard and someone shared it to him with no idea of the connection. So it was crazy for a while.

Alex Orr: It caught us all off-guard. When it came out, I think we were all prepping for Season 2 of Your Pretty Face. That morning we were like, man the video’s got like a million views, that’s crazy, and then it caught fire. Nobody saw that coming at all.

Casper Kelly: I wasn’t worried as much about what people were going to think about it. It was low-budget enough. I didn’t expect it to take off at all. I think our producer Alex Orr told me it was on BuzzFeed and also AV Club had written about it and gotten 200 comments in just over an hour. Then, when it got really big and, like, James Gunn and Rian Johnson were tweeting about it, it sort of permanently rewired my self-confidence. You know, like, in Dungeons & Dragons, my confidence was a 4-15. It wavers. Now, the base was a six. It was a permanent add of two points. Still not high, but better.

Paul Painter: We knew it would get made. Didn’t think anyone would watch it. Didn’t think it would be as popular as it was. We were scouting for Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell, and a little article came in after about a week from AV Club reviewing it. We all thought that was really cool that AV Club liked it. That night it just kind of exploded in popularity. Next morning, it was at the top of Reddit. Suddenly, Casper was getting interview requests from The Washington Post.

Matt Foster: I always knew it would be good, but didn’t think anyone else would. Mark Hamill said it was the best 11 minutes he’d seen in 20 years. So I got that going for me.

Shawn Coleman: I had no expectations. The true way to go viral is to not care. Do your best. Make it as crazy as you can make it and release it into the world. Maybe it will catch on, maybe not. But that’s how that goes.

Michael Kohler: I didn’t even know at first about the buzz online because it happened so quickly. I try not to spend a lot of time on social media. I went on Twitter and someone sent me a link where Zooey Deschanel was singing it. Then someone called and asked for the stems to do a remix of it. And I was like, well Turner owns it all, anyway.

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Too many cooks with @billyeichner

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Katie Adkins: I wasn’t the first one to know when it came out. That night, I got this phone call from my friend who I guess had been drinking or something. He was freaking out: “Why are you on TV; why are you being murdered; why is everyone being murdered?” It was so long, I had forgotten about it. I tried to look it up to watch it but couldn’t find it. All I had was phone recordings of me running awkwardly. About a week later is when it exploded on Reddit and that was bizarre. All my friends were sending me message saying, “Why didn’t you tell me about this?” And I was just like, “Because I didn’t know what it was.”

Shane Morton: It aired, and I finally got to watch it, and I was like, “Holy shit, this is, like, amazing.” I called Casper and was like, “We need to make more of these; it’s gonna blow up.” He was like, “What are you talking about, no one’s gonna watch it.” He called me back later and said, “Man, I don’t know if you have psychic abilities, but I don’t think any of us had an idea of how big it would be.” It was really great for us because Smarf was such a big character. They put a picture of Smarf in Time magazine.

Chris Brown: Later on I found out people were really into Smarf. I have fan art made by people. I purchase T-shirts of Smarf. I have a Smarf figurine that was put out by Adult Swim. I reached out to a few people who made pieces. Someone sent me a painting of Smarf. Another guy contacted me because he made a Smarf and gave it to his girlfriend.

William Tokarsky: It opened many doors for me. For the first year, I would go for a quick trip to get gas and someone would ask for a selfie. I actually used to carry a plastic machete in the car for selfies.

Too Many Cooks the Musical

William Tokarsky: Most of the people that were on Too Many Cooks still stay in touch. I would say a good third were from an improv theater group called Dad’s Garage in Atlanta. I’ll go to Dad’s to do stuff for them, and we even did a musical version. They got permission to do a 10-minute skit, and they invited me to participate. It was a fundraiser to build their new house, which they successfully did. We did two performances there as a dress rehearsal and the final show at the Fox.

The premise was basically a musical tribute to Too Many Cooks. They did three montages. They had a blank wall standing in the middle, and they had the mother and father, him getting off to go to work. They had a little song about how all she does is make lunches. All the characters would parade through and pick up lunches and then change costumes. They had the coat rack and the coat himself, and he put the coat on. That revealed me. Then they did a thing like The Lion King with Smarf singing, and they sacrificed someone.

The finale was everyone dancing in a line, and I come out with a machete and kill them one by one. Then I take off the mother’s head and do a Rocky Balboa pose while the father is singing. Then I slay him, put my foot on his chest, throw the machete down, take the microphone, and go into song. But everything goes jumbled like in the video, and that’s how it ended.

Will There Ever Be a ‘Too Many Cooks’ Sequel?

Casper Kelly: I have some ideas. I probably should have done it a year afterward. Maybe it will be like Twin Peaks, where I wait 16 years.

Photos via Adult Swim, Chris Brown, William Tokarsky