'Too Many Cooks' Only Happened Because of an Awkward Pause at a Party

"I had this idea but didn’t know if I could keep it going for 11 minutes."

Four years after the release of Too Many Cooks, Inverse spoke with 10 key people who helped bring the surreal sitcom parody to life, from creator Casper Kelly to the puppeteer who made Smarf, to the extra who stole the show as a surprise villain. The result is this 6,000-word oral history about making weird art on the fly that you think no one will see — and having it “go viral” at around 20 million views.

Among the stories in this history assembled by Inverse: Too Many Cooks later became a musical. The creators finally confirm they just ripped off the logo from Full House. The actor who played the killer would keep a machete in his car for selfies. The song nearly turned into the theme from The Office.

Below’s a pull-out from our feature. This one’s about how Too Many Cooks only happened because of an awkward pause at a party.

There Was a ‘Too Many Cooks’ Musical

It’s one thing to come up with a crazy idea like Too Many Cooks, it’s another to actually make it happen. In this case, creator Casper Kelly got lucky. He didn’t even have to pitch it. Instead, a friend brought up the idea in front of Adult Swim boss Mike Lazzo at a party during an awkward pause in the conversation.

“I had this idea but didn’t know if I could keep it going for 11 minutes,” Kelly told Inverse. “I told a coworker. Then we were at a work party with our boss, Mike Lazzo. There was an awkward pause and he 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.”

The news that Too Many Cooks was actually happening clearly took Kelly’s coworkers by surprise, too.

“I was working on Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell with Casper,” says Matt Foster, who worked on Too Many Cooks from the start. “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.”

“I was in from the start,” adds video editor Paul Painter. “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.”

Read the ‘Too Many Cooks’ oral history.