'Too Many Cooks the Musical': It Happened, and We Have the Video Footage
There may never be a Too Many Cooks sequel, but that doesn’t mean the 11-minute Adult Swim sitcom parody was a one-time deal. If you ask the creators, they’ll point you to Final Deployment 4, a “spiritual successor” that aired on Adult Swim earlier this year, but if you talk to some of the actors featured in the original viral video they’ll immediately mention something else entirely: Too Many Cooks the Musical.
That’s right, there was an officially approved Too Many Cooks musical. It was only performed three times, but Inverse is proud to present this previously unreleased clip from one of those performances (courtesy of Dad’s Garage in Atlanta). Check out the glorious footage at the top of this post, and read on for an inside look at how Too Many Cooks the Musical came to be.
For the definitive history of Too Many Cooks, check out our oral history here. Article continues after this related video.
First, a bit of background. It should come as no surprise that Too Many Cooks needed a lot of actors to make up the expansive family in this fictional sitcom intro. Plenty of those people were simply extras who got cast to play anything from grandma to a shirtless fireman, but a lot of them also came from Dad’s Garage, an improv troupe based in Atlanta where Adult Swim is based.
"I think anyone would be a little intimidated to be asked, “Hey, would you like to write and direct a musical version of the most popular comedic bit the internet’s ever produced? No pressure!"
After Too Many Cooks was filmed, released, and went viral, that community of actors, extras, and comedians stayed in touch (mostly through social media). So when Dad’s Garage needed to pay for a new theater, they decided to get the gang back together and put on a musical. That included William Tokarsky, the retired veteran and part-time actor who starred as the killer in Too Many Cooks, along with the guy who plays the dad and a pretty convincing looking Smarf puppet.
Dad’s Garage even asked Too Many Cooks creator Casper Kelly to write and direct the musical, but when he wasn’t available they turned to Ed Morgan, one of the troupe’s artistic directors who also acted in the performance.
“I was honored that Dad’s thought of me to step in,” Morgan tells Inverse in an email, “but I think anyone would be a little intimidated to be asked, ‘Hey, would you like to write and direct a musical version of the most popular comedic bit the internet’s ever produced? No pressure!’”
Not unlike the viral video it was based on, Too Many Cooks the Musical came together impressively fast.
“I think we had three weeks to get the thing written and on its feet,” Morgan recalls. “Oh, and we’d be performing it at the Fox Theatre. You know, where Wicked goes when they’re in town. No pressure at all. Luckily it only needed to be 10 minutes long.”
But in the end, Morgan says he was “super pleased” with the final product. Too Many Cooks the Musical features multiple members of the original cast, including Tara Ochs, Karen Cassady, Marc Farley, Rickey Boynton, Dan Triandiflou. There was even a Lion King inspired song featuring Smarf.
To top it all off, Tokarsky returns to kill the entire cast with a plastic machete. In the show’s final moments, the cannibal killer grabs the microphone and opens his mouth to sing, but nothing comes out. Instead, the lights go red, white noise fills the room, and the show comes to an abrupt end. It might seem like a weird finale until you consider the source material.
“I’d call it a success,” Morgan says. “Anyone familiar with the video seemed to like it, and everyone else was thoroughly confused, which I feel is perfectly in the spirit of Too Many Cooks.”