The Evolution of Bugs Bunny’s Appearance Over His Eight Decade Career

Bugs Bunny is a quick-thinking, fast-talking, wascally force of nature, and a preternaturally gifted physical comedian, too.

But unlike such lasting greats as Charlie Chapin and Buster Keaton, it took him a while to find his iconic look.

His first appearance, as “Happy Rabbit” in the 1938 black and white theatrical short, Porky’s Hare Hunt, might remind you of those yearbook photos of celebrities before they were famous.

In a video essay considering how Bugs Bunny’s look has evolved over his eight-decade career, animation fan Dave Lee of the popular YouTube series Dave Lee Down Under breaks down some early characteristics, from an undefined, small body and oval-shaped head to white fur and a fluffy cotton ball of a tail.

His voice was also a work in progress, more Woody Woodpecker than the hybrid Brooklyn-Bronx patois that would make him, and voice actor Mel Blanc, famous.

The following year, the rabbit who would become Bugs Bunny returned in Prest-o Change-o, a Merry Melodies Technicolor short directed by Chuck Jones.

A few months later character designer (and former Disney animator) Charlie Thorson subjected him to a pretty noticeable makeover for Hare-um Scare-um, another rabbit hunting-themed romp.

The two-toned grey and white coat, oval muzzle, and mischievous buck-toothed grin are much more aligned with the Bugs most of us grew up watching.  

His pear-shaped bod’, long neck, high-rumped stance, and pontoon feet allowed for a much greater range of motion.

A notation on the model sheet alluding to director Ben Hardaway’s nickname – “Bugs” – gives some hint as to how the world’s most popular cartoon character came by his stage name.

For 1940’s Elmer’s Candid Camera, the pink-muzzled Bugs dropped the yellow gloves Thorsen had given him and affected some black ear tips.

Tex Avery, who was in line to direct the pair in the Academy Award-nominated short A Wild Hare, found this look objectionably cute.

He tasked animator Bob Givens with giving the rabbit, now officially known as Bugs Bunny, an edgier appearance.

Animation historian Michael Barrier writes:

In the Givens design, Bugs was no longer defined by Thorson’s tangle of curves. His head was now oval, rather than round. In that respect, Bugs recalled the white rabbit in Porky’s Hare Hunt, but Givens’s design preserved so many of Thorson’s refinements—whiskers, a more naturalistic nose—and introduced so many others—cheek ruffs, less prominent teeth—that there was very little similarity between the new version of Bugs and the Hare Hunt rabbit. 

Barrier also details a number of similarities between the titular rabbit character from Disney’s 1935 Silly Symphonies short, The Tortoise and the Hare, and former Disney employee Givens’ design.  

While Avery boasted to cartoon historian Milt Gray in 1977 that “the construction was almost identical”, adding, “It’s a wonder I wasn’t sued,” Givens insisted in an interview with the Animation Guild’s oral history project that Bugs wasn’t a Max Hare rip off. ( “I was there. I ought to know.”)

Whatever parallels may exist between Givens’ Bugs and Disney’s Hare, YouTuber Lee sees A Wild Hare as the moment when Bugs Bunny’s character coalesced as “more of a lovable prankster than a malicious deviant,” nonchalantly chomping a carrot like Clark Gable in It Happened One Night, and turning a bit of regional Texas teen slang – “What’s up, Doc?”- into one of the most immortal catch phrases in entertainment history.

A star was born, so much so that four directors – Jones, Avery, Friz Freleng and Bob Clampett – were enlisted to keep up with the demand for Bugs Bunny vehicles. 

This multi-pronged approach led to some visual inconsistencies, that were eventually checked by the creation of definitive model sheets, drawn by Bob McKimson, who animated the Clampett-directed shorts. 

Historian Barrier takes stock:

Bugs’s cheeks were broader, his chin stronger, his teeth a little more prominent, his eyes larger and slanted a little outward instead of in. The most expressive elements of the rabbit’s face had all been strengthened …but because the triangular shape of Bugs’s head had been subtly accentuated, Bugs was, if anything, futher removed from cuteness than ever before. McKimson’s model sheet must be given some of the credit for the marked improvement in Bugs’s looks in all the directors’ cartoons starting in 1943. Not that everyone drew Bugs to match the model sheet, but the awkwardness and uncertainty of the early forties were gone; it was if everyone had suddenly figured out what Bugs really looked like.

Now one of the most recognizable stars on earth, Bugs remained unmistakably himself while spoofing Charles Dickens, Alfred Hitchcock and Wagner; held his own in live action appearances with such heavy hitters as Doris Day and Michael Jordan; and had a memorable cameo in the 1988 feature Who Framed Roger Rabbit, after producers agreed to a deal that guaranteed him the same amount of screen time as his far squarer rival, Mickey Mouse. 

This millennium got off to a rockier start, owing to an over-reliance on low budget, simplified flash animation, and the truly execrable trend of shows that reimagine classic characters as cloying toddlers. 

In 2011, on the strength of her 2-minute animated short I Like Pandas, an initially reluctant 24-year-old Jessica Borutski was asked to “freshen up” Bugs’ look for The Looney Tunes Show, a series of longer format cartoons which required its cast to perform such 21st-century activities as texting:

I made their heads a bit bigger because I didn’t like [how] in the ’60s, ’70s Bugs Bunny’s head started to get really small and his body really long. He started to look like a weird guy in a bunny suit.

Lee’s Evolution of Bugs Bunny- 80 Years Explained was released in 2019. 

He hasn’t stopped evolving. Gizmodo’s Sabina Graves “sat down with the creative teams shepherding Warner Bros.’ classic Looney Tunes characters into new and reimagined cartoons” at San Diego Comic-Con 2022: 

In a push led by Looney Tunes Cartoons’ Alex Kirwan—who spearheads the franchise’s current slate of shorts on HBO Max—the beloved animation icons will soon expand into even more content. There’s the upcoming Tiny Toons Loooniversity revival, a Halloween special, Cartoonito’s Bugs Bunny Builders for kids, and two feature-length animated movies on the way—and we have a feeling that’s not all, folks!

…to quote Bugs, “I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque!

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Kill the Wabbit!: How the 1957 Bugs Bunny Cartoon, “What’s Opera, Doc?,” Inspired Today’s Opera Singers to First Get Into Opera

Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

A Stand-Up Comedy Routine Discovered in a Medieval Manuscript: Monty Python Before Monty Python (1480)

A funny thing happened on the way to the 15th century…

Dr. James Wade, a specialist in early English literature at the University of Cambridge, was doing research at the National Library of Scotland when he noticed something extraordinary about the first of the nine miscellaneous booklets comprising the Heege Manuscript.

Most surviving medieval manuscripts are the stuff of high art. The first part of the Heege Manuscript is funny.

The usual tales of romance and heroism, allusions to ancient Rome, lofty poetry and dramatic interludes… even the dashing adventures of Robin Hood are conspicuously absent.

Instead it’s awash with the staples of contemporary stand up comedy – topical observations, humorous oversharing, roasting eminent public figures, razzing the audience, flattering the audience by busting on the denizens of nearby communities, shaggy dog tales, absurdities and non-sequiturs.

Repeated references to passing the cup conjure an open mic type scenario.

The manuscript was created by cleric Richard Heege and entered into the collection of his employers, the wealthy Sherbrooke family.

Other scholars have concentrated on the manuscript’s physical construction, mostly refraining from comment on the nature of its contents.

Dr. Wade suspects that the first booklet is the result of Heege having paid close attention to an anonymous traveling minstrel’s performance, perhaps going so far as to consult the performer’s own notes.

Heege quipped that he was the author owing to the fact that he “was at that feast and did not have a drink” – meaning he was the only one sober enough to retain the minstrel’s jokes and inventive plotlines.

Dr. Wade describes how the comic portion of the Heege Manuscript is broken down into three parts, the first of which is sure to gratify fans of Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

…it’s a narrative account of a bunch of peasants who try to hunt a hare, and it all ends disastrously, where they beat each other up and the wives have to come with wheelbarrows and hold them home. 

That hare turns out to be one fierce bad rabbit, so much so that the tale’s proletarian hero, the prosaically named Jack Wade, worries she could rip out his throat.

Dr. Wade learned that Sir Walter Scott, author of Ivanhoe, was aware of The Hunting of the Hare, viewing it as a sturdy spoof of high minded romance, “studiously filled with grotesque, absurd, and extravagant characters.”

The killer bunny yarn is followed by a mock sermon  – If thou have a great black bowl in thy hand and it be full of good ale and thou leave anything therein, thou puttest thy soul into greater pain –  and a nonsense poem about a feast where everyone gets hammered and chaos ensues.

Crowd-pleasing material in 1480.

With a few 21st-century tweaks, an enterprising young comedian might wring laughs from it yet.

(Paging Tyler Gunther, of Greedy Peasant fame…)

As to the true author of these routines, Dr. Wade speculates that he may have been a “professional traveling minstrel or a local amateur performer.” Possibly even both:

A ‘professional’ minstrel might have a day job and go gigging at night, and so be, in a sense, semi-professional, just as a ‘travelling’ minstrel may well be also ‘local’, working a beat of nearby villages and generally known in the area. On balance, the texts in this booklet suggest a minstrel of this variety: someone whose material includes several local place-names, but also whose material is made to travel, with the lack of determinacy designed to comically engage audiences regardless of specific locale.

Learn more about the Heege Manuscript in  Dr. Wade’s article, Entertainments from a Medieval Minstrel’s Repertoire Book in The Review of English Studies.

Leaf through a digital facsimile of the Heege Manuscript here.

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– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto and Creative, Not Famous Activity Book. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Patton Oswalt to William & Mary’s Graduating Class: “You Poor Bastards,” “You Do Not Have a Choice But to Be Anything But Extraordinary”

Patton Oswalt, William & Mary, Class of 1991, graduated with a 2.8 GPA “into a world full of trivia and silliness and fun.”

The Class of 2023, he observed in a recent keynote address at his alma mater, is poised to enter a “hellscape where you will have to fight for every scrap of your humanity and dignity.”

The comedian seasoned his speech with jokes, but its “hard truth” is one that could find favor with activist Greta Thunberg – namely that the inattention, apathy, and blithe wastefulness of his generation, and all generations that came before have saddled today’s young people with a seriously messed up planet:

Your concerns as you stumble out into reality tomorrow are massive. Democracy is crumbling. Truth is up for grabs. The planet’s trying to kill us and loneliness is driving everyone insane.

The good news?

Your generation has rebelled against every bad habit of mine and every generation that came before it. Everything that we let calcify, you have kicked against and demolished.

He sees a student body willing to battle apathy, alienation, and cruelty, who insist on inclusion and openness about mental health.

(By contrast he was a “little daffodil” who angrily took his Physics for Poets prof to task for having committed an inaccuracy involving Star Trek’s chain of command on the final exam.)

The former English major mangles a quote from author Gerald Kirsch’s 1938 short story Busto is a Ghost, Too Mean to Give Us a Fright!

The real quote is:

…there are men whom one hates until a certain moment when one sees, through a chink in their armour, the writhing of something nailed down and in torment.

The paraphrased sentiment retains its power, however, and his sloppy fact checking squares with his portrayal of himself as a lackadaisical B- student.

Returning to campus 32 years later as a successful writer, actor and comedian, he exhorts the most academic members of the Class of 2023 to take a cue from their peers whose GPAs were less than stellar, “the daydreamers, the confused, and the seekers:”

There are people out there who want to manage every moment. They want to divvy up every dream, and they want to commodify every crazy creative caprice that springs out of your cranium. Don’t let them. Be human in all of its bedlam and beauty and madness and mercy for as long as you can and in any way you can.

He may have dashed off his address in his hotel room the night before the ceremony, but he drives his point home with an ingenious Hollywood insider reference that may send the entire class of 2023, their families, professors, and you, dear reader, rushing to view (or revisit) the 1982 sci fi classic, Blade Runner.

As to why Oswalt merits the honorary degree William & Mary conferred on him, fellow alum and Ted Lasso showrunner Bill Lawrence has a theory:

I guess it’s because he didn’t really deserve the degree he got when he was here.

via BoingBoing

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– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto and Creative, Not Famous Activity Book. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

DJ Cummerbund’s Astonishing Mashups Create Unexpected Collaborations Between Rock, Soul & Hip Hop Icons

“History in the making,” Jay-Z calls out a few bars into Beyoncé’s debut solo single “Crazy in Love.”

The sentiment may be even more germane, when he does it in remix master DJ Cummerbund‘s irresistible mashup “Crazy Together,” above.

The recent assemblage finds Queen Bey splitting screen time with The Beatles, as DJ Cummerbund weaves “Crazy in Love” together with “Come Together.”

The video is as much fun as the seamless audio, with a hammy cameo from Ringo Starr, courtesy of the 1981 comedy Caveman, and Yoko Ono and James Brown doing some heavy lifting.

John Lennon’s take as Brown fires up his Sex Machine is priceless. It really feels as if these unlikely collaborators were active, rather than passive contributors.

Here’s a peek into how DJ Cummerbund arranged the audio clips.

Asked in a 2020 interview with Digital Journal about the source of his inspiration, he responded:

I’m not sure if you can call it inspiration exactly, but I have a neurological condition that causes me to hear and feel melodies and frequencies where most cannot (in the wind, the soil, celestial bodies, etc.) This ultimately causes me to constantly hear songs on top of other songs to the point of extreme frustration and the only way to subdue that is to actually create what I’m hearing in my head. It’s almost therapeutic for me, and I was even told I could die if I don’t continue to create my works. It’s definitely like a curse sometimes but can also be a blessing as my music seems to bring a great deal of joy to millions of people.

An undersung element of these crowd pleasing remixes is how skillfully DJ Cummerbund ties things together by recording supplemental vocals and instrumentals.

Ozzy Osbourne fronts “Earth, Wind and Ozzys,” which marries his 1980 solo hit “Crazy Train” with Earth Wind & Fire’s evergreen “September” so successfully, it’s a let down to remember that a gorgeous, harmonized “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train” is an invented, not sampled disco chorus.

The combinations the DJ comes up with can’t help but force a fresh perspective on artists who would never in a million years have shared a stage or fanbase.

Step into a no man’s land where the rapid fire punk brattiness of the Ramones can coexist with the Hanson brothers’ lemon fresh, Tulsa wholesomeness, and Cotton Eye Joe comes in out of nowhere.

When a title like “Me and Coolio Down by the Schoolyard” pops into your head, it arrives as a self-thrown gauntlet. You can’t not see it through to fruition.

The late rapper’s “Fantastic Voyage” infuses Paul Simon’s gently nostalgic “Me And Julio Down By The School Yard” with some NSFW lyrics and a much harder outlook.

The lo-fi joys of double dutch and playground hoops from the original Julio video present a plausible  vision of a “place where (Coolio’s) kids can play outside without livin’ in fear of a drive-by.”

This being a DJ Cummerbund production, baseball Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle and football coach John Madden, who were on hand for Julio, have to make room for his ever present muse, the late wrestling superstar Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

DJ Cummerbund is willing to consider requests, particularly if you do a bit of homework to ensure that your chosen songs’ keys match up and their BPMs inhabit the same realm.

See more of his mash ups, including Shaxicula, the MTV Video Music Award-winning B-52s/Britney Spears remix here.

In recent weeks, DJ Cummerbund has been opening for the B-52s during their residency at the Venetian.

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– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto and Creative, Not Famous Activity Book. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

A Culinary Videos Series Shows Every Conceivable Way to Cook Eggs, Potatoes, Pizza, Bacon & More

So you think you know your way around a potato, eh?

No doubt you excel at boiling, mashing, roasting, baking and twice baking …

You may make a mean potato chip or pomme frite

Perhaps you’ve perfected some tricks with a microwave or air fryer.

But before you’re puffed too full of bragging rights, have you ever thought to subject this humble root vegetable to a blow torch, an iron, a dishwasher, a juicer or a gasoline powered generator plugged into a giant dimmer switch?


Congratulations on having avoided some truly dreadful methods for preparing a potato, judging by the results of some of Bon Appétit Contributing Editor Amiel Stanek’s more outré, tongue-in-cheek experiments, above.

Wait, maybe there aren’t really 63 ways to cook potatoes?

The preparation we’re legitimately eager to try is pickling, for spuds Stanek declares “very sweet, salty, acidic”, a welcome addition to a cheese board or a crudité plate.

And there’s an argument to be made for turning a waffle iron into a dual purpose device by making hash browns in it.

Stanek fares less well, piping pre-mashed potatoes into a Rollie ® Eggmaster, “a weird, made-for-TV device that is made expressly for cooking eggs:”

Ewww, no, why is it like that? This is disgusting!!!

If you’re wondering how that Rollie ® does with its intended ingredient, Stanek’s got an answer for you:

Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, oh my god, it looks like it’s in a condom. This is the most disgusting egg thing we have made all day…it tastes like bad seafood. I don’t know why, it tastes plastic-y. This is horrible!

Meanwhile, those in long term relationships with partners holding different views on the best way to scramble, fry or poach an egg may find themselves feeling vindicated by this episode.

Either that or horribly betrayed.

Other than potatoes and eggs, the only episode of the 10 in the Almost Every series not exclusively geared toward cooking flesh is the one devoted to pizza, which at 32 methods, ties with chicken breast. (Only whole chicken, at 24 methods, has fewer options.)

Vegans will likely feel unimpressed, in addition to left out, given that there’s nearly that many suggested hacks for melting plant-based cheese.

Perhaps a visit to Moonburger, a meatless Hudson Valley chain where Stanek is Culinary Consultant and the shakes are dairy free is in order?

Those craving ever more offbeat attacks, however, will find themselves entertained by Stanek’s efforts involving an Easy-Bake Oven (yeah, nope, not good at all),  a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pizza Machine (the whole cheese sitch looks a little bit demented…bummer, dude), and a crust that’s baked around a silicone cone, then filled with a “molten, dangerous slurry” of sauce and cheese (this thing looks demonic to me, like an animal horn meant for a Satanic ritual…)

If that’s not our cue to seek out a restaurant with a wood burning oven, perhaps it’s a signal we should order out.

Watch a complete playlist of Bon Appétit’s Almost Every here.

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– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto and Creative, Not Famous Activity Book. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Wes Anderson Re-Creates The Truman Show, Armageddon & Out of Sight as Stage Plays Performed by the Cast of Rushmore (1999)

Nominees of the 1999 MTV Movie Awards included Adam Sandler, Liv Tyler, Chris Tucker, and Jennifer Love Hewitt to mention just a few of the names in a veritable who’s-who of turn-of-the-millennium American pop culture. But for the teenage cinephiles watching that night, the highlight of the broadcast was surely a set of brief skits performed by “the Max Fischer Players.” Directed by Wes Anderson, who had been named Best New Filmmaker during the ceremony of three years before, they present low-budget but high-spirited interpretations of three of the motion pictures up for honors: Out of Sight, The Truman Show, and Armageddon.

Having been a teenage cinephile myself at the time, I can tell you that none of those movies made as much an impact on me as Anderson’s own Rushmore, which introduced the hyper-ambitious young slacker Max Fischer to the world. In it, Max and his players adapt Sidney Lumet’s Serpico, and later put on an elaborate (and explosive) pastiche of various Vietnam War pictures.

Twenty-five years ago, few of us had identified in the painstakingly ramshackle look and feel of these productions the seed of what would grow into Anderson’s signature aesthetic. But it was clear that, if the Max Fischer Players method were applied to the Hollywood blockbusters of the day, amusing incongruity would result.

These skits prominently feature Mason Gamble and Sara Tanaka, both of whom retired from acting a few years after giving their memorable performances in Rushmore. But Jason Schwartzman, who will no doubt forever be identified with Max Fischer, has remained an active member of Anderson’s own group of players, and even plays a starring role once again in Anderson’s new film Asteroid City, which comes out this summer. The Max Fisher Players’ parodies were included on the DVD of Rushmore released by the Criterion Collection — an honor still denied, one might add, to the recipient of the 1999 MTV Movie Award for Best Movie, There’s Something About Mary. (But not to Armageddon, which just goes to show how unpredictable the favor of cinephilia can be.)

via Reddit

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

“Weird Al” Yankovic Breaks Down His Most Iconic Tracks: “Eat It,” “Amish Paradise,” “White and Nerdy,” and His Other Hilarious Songs

Few things could have been more amusing to a twelve-year-old in 1996 than an Amish-themed parody of the late Coolio’s portentously grim life-in-the-hood anthem “Gangsta’s Paradise.” As luck would have it, “Weird Al” Yankovic released just such a song in 1996, when I happened to be twelve years old myself. Like everyone who’s been a kid at some point in the past 40 years, I grew up hearing and appreciating Yankovic’s prolific output of parodies, pastiches, and even original songs. From “Eat It” to “Smells like Nirvana” to “White and Nerdy,” there was hardly a pop-music phase of my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood that he didn’t make funny.

That’s to make funny, as distinct from to make fun of: unlike that of a predecessor in comedy songwriting like Tom Lehrer, Yankovic’s body of work evidences not the least tendency toward harshness or ridicule.

Hence his appeal from his very first recording “My Bologona,” an accordion-based parody of “My Sharona” recorded in the bathroom of his college radio station, to no less an advocate of silliness than Dr. Demento, whose airplay launched the young Weird Al’s career — a career that, as Yankovic acknowledges while telling the stories behind his iconic songs in the GQ video above, has not gone without its strokes of luck.

Yet few living performers more clearly personify the old aphorism describing luck as the meeting of preparation and opportunity. “Weird Al approaches the composition of his music with something like the holy passion of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel,” writes Sam Anderson in a 2020 New York Times Magazine profile. Seeing Yankovic’s notes for “White & Nerdy” “file felt like watching a supercomputer crunch through possible chess moves. Every single variable had to be considered, in every single line.” To work in musical form, even the silliest humor demands his total dedication.

Yankovic has long showed a willingness straightforwardly to discuss what it’s like to be Weird Al, as well as what it takes to be Weird Al. For a considerably less straightforward version, we can watch The Roku Channel’s new Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. Most biopics take artistic liberties with the lives of their subjects, but Weird goes all the way, parodying the very form of the biopic itself while performing colossal (and surely fan-delighting) exaggerations of the facts of Yankovic’s life. In the GQ video, for example, he mentions getting the idea for “Like a Surgeon” by hearing Madonna throw it out in an interview; in the trailer above, Madonna turns at the door at his opulent mansion, a veritable succubus ready to drag him into the musical underworld. And it seems a safe bet that things only get Weirder thereafter.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Watch You Suck at Cooking, a Hilarious Source for Tasty Recipes and Food Hacks of Questionable Veracity

Is it just us, or did half of Gen Z teach themselves how to cook on TikTok during the height of the pandemic?

The recipes that go viral have more in common with gonzo science experiments than Julia Child’s Coq au Vin.

Hacks are golden in this forum – whether or not they actually work – and running time is of the essence.

There’s an unmistakable visual vocabulary, too – from the god shots of manicured hands dumping pre-measured ingredients into mixing bowls to the reveal of the completed dish just seconds later.

One has to be conversant in these tropes to subvert them as gleefully as the anonymous creator of the seven year old online series You Suck at Cooking.

Unlike such TikTok heavy hitters as cloud bread or whipped coffee, most of You Suck at Cooking‘s dishes are things you might consider preparing on a regular basis, however trendy they may be at the moment.

The responsible party’s cooking and editing skills are solid, but his writing is the real star here. We also appreciate the massive amount of planning and care that goes into every five minute episode.

He’s an unabashed coiner of vocabulary and elaborate ways to refer to straightforward appliances and ingredients. His delivery is mild mannered, but he doesn’t mince words when it comes to culinary biases – e.g., condimenting only one side of the bun is a certifiable burger crime and if you don’t like pickles, one thing you can do is seek help.

Simple dishes such as overnight oats require so little instruction, he’s freed up to skewer the questionable claims of food-focused wellness “experts” by leaning all the way in.

The spirit of the project carries over into his written step-by-steps on the rare occasions when mere video demonstration will not suffice.

(His cookbook, You Suck at Cooking: The Absurdly Practical Guide to Sucking Slightly Less at Making Food, was published anonymously in 2019.)

To get the most from your experience, we recommend you first watch his deep fried Korean-style corndog How To, then follow the written recipe:

1. Go to the store 

2. Buy corn dogs 

3. Enjoy 

If you insist on making corn dogs yourself, first read these frying safety tips

The reason home fryers are safer than doing it on the stovetop is because they limit the heat of your oil so it won’t catch fire. It’s easy to let it get too hot which is very bad news. 


    • 1 ¼ cups flour 
    • 2 tablespoon sugar 
    • ½ teaspoon salt 
    • 1.3 teaspoon yeast 
    • 1 egg 
    • 100 ml warm water

Wangjangle until your wrist is furious (I did it for a few minutes tops)

Let it sit for half an hour 

Dry off anything you’re rolling in it 

Peg your dogs 

Roll ‘em 

Roll them in artisan Italian bread crumbs (okay seriously this is a flavor game changer and I can’t recommend them enough. Kortalian food just has such depth. 

Fry for 3 minutes 

Cool for a few minutes 

I think anything else is pretty straight forward

When it comes to cooking hacks, our hero is a champion fabulist.

It’s safe to assume that the first tip is legit, after which… well, let’s just say that some of his orange peeling methods remind us in the best possible way of our old pal Shel Silverstein’s Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book.

Enjoy a playlist of all 150 episodes of You Suck at Cooking here.

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Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.