By Alisa Samadani, A&E Editor Originally published in Issue 11, Volume 33 of The University Register on April 9, 2021
On Friday, April 2, I had the opportunity to interview Aaron Kheifets, seasoned comedian with extensive work in the comedy world, from CollegeHumor to Cracked, as well as The Onion News Network and TEDx.
Kheifets comes from a long line of people in the sciences background, and sought to follow in his family’s footsteps by earning a PhD in cognitive psychology from Rutgers University. He was on track when he stumbled upon an opportunity to write and perform comedy. “I got sideswiped by the comedy truck and now that’s what I do for a living.”
Recently, Kheifets has become the host of MCS Media’s newest podcast, “MAKE COOL SH!T”, and with Season One’s episodes already rolling out at full speed, I hoped to get some insight into the behind-the-scenes docu-series and what the future of the podcast entails.
“MAKE COOL SH!T” takes listeners through the ins and outs of creating content, with raw, unbridled chaos in detailing the experience from start to finish. Season one features the birth of a horror/comedy feature called “Scare Me,” which stars writer and producer Josh Ruben (CollegeHumor), Aya Cash (The Boys), Chris Redd (SNL), Becky Drysdale (Key and Peele), and of course, is hosted by Kheifets.
“[Ruben] is a hell of a dude and everybody that works for him or with him agrees he’s the type of guy you want to be around, he’s so giving and generous, and from the beginning of his project, one of his themes is to show that you can be successful, you can make something great, you can do it all on budget and on time without being a monster, you know, it’s not impossible and it’s kind of an uplifting story for that reason.”
The podcast reveals a lot about the process of creating, and I was curious as to how they were able to document so much information about Ruben’s movie, including a lot of personal information about the cast.
“I think one of the virtues of this project is that it is totally financially independent from the movie that it is documenting. A lot of the times, these sort of like behind the scenes things will be an add-on to the movie, and essentially a promotional tool for the movie, and the fact that our interests do not coincide with the movie financially, or even in terms of what makes a good story is not necessarily what makes people look the best. I think that that offers us a more interesting, a more raw, and more honest look at this process and at the people making it. We had a huge degree of independence because Donny and Mike [the producers of MAKE COOL SH!T], as you’ll find out in later episodes, invested in the movie, which was like the ticket that granted them access to things behind the scenes. We had unfettered access and did not need the kind of sign off that most behind the scenes things do.”
MAKE COOL SH!T is available on Spotify, Stitcher, and everywhere else that podcasts are available, but Donny and Mike are also eager to hear from fans about places they should include their podcast. Reach out to the podcast on social media @mcs_media, or use #makecoolshit.
Image courtesy of UCB Comedy