Guy Fieri has had his share of bad press. He’s been accused by a former producer of, well, not being such a great guy. Pete Wells, restaurant critic for the New York Times asked, after dining at his Times Square restaurant, “When you cruise around the country for your show Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives rasping out slangy odes to the unfancy places where Americans like to get down and greasy, do you really mean it? Or is it all an act? Is that why the kind of cooking you celebrate on television is treated with so little respect at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar?” A billionaire once paid him $100,000 to be his friend for the day. (That one is actually great and I would love to take any billionaire up on a similar offer posed to me.) (NO WEIRD STUFF.) In addition to those, he looks, sounds, and acts the way he looks, sounds, and acts. Through all of the bad, though, two men have stood by him — or, his television show, at least — and together they make up the Canadian synth-funk duo Chromeo. I chatted with P-Thugg recently about Chromeo’s shared Diners, Drive-Ins, And Dives love.
P-THUGG: Triple D FTW!
KELLY: Hahah, so I take it you’re a big fan of Diners, Drive-Ins, And Dives?
P-THUGG: Oh yes, big time. Love it.
KELLY: I feel like that’s sort of a rare opinion these days — what makes you like the show so much?
P-THUGG: Well we travel a lot and it’s good for 2 reasons. It’s a great “turn your brain off” show to watch on the bus, and we actually get to those same cities, so we get to explore the restaurants being reviewed. Most of them are actually really good.
KELLY: Oh wow, really? How often do you make specific Triple D stops?
P-THUGG: As much as we can. Some of them are hard to get to because they’re out of the city, but when it’s feasible we go or send somebody to get food.
KELLY: Do you have a favorite spot you’ve been to from DDD?
P-THUGG: I forgot the name, but it’s in Denver. The show is so funny on so many levels, it’s all about the interaction of hipster-owned restaurants with Guy and his thumb rings and highlighted spiked hair. It just works.
KELLY: I read that Dave thinks of Guy as a style icon, do you feel the same way?
P-THUGG: Yes, absolutely. He’s so late ’90s that the cycle is almost closing on him and he’s about to be cool again. The fire shirts are so in right now for a different crowd. Full circle. Wait long enough and your style will comeback.
KELLY: Hahaha wait, what crowd are fire shirts in for right now?
P-THUGG: Avant-garde hipsters, thrifters, fashion designers. People are already on it.
KELLY: The future holds just a bunch of trendy Guy Fieris walking around.
P-THUGG: Yep. And what a great world this would be. Oakleys.
P-THUGG: Thumb rings.
KELLY: Baggy shorts.
P-THUGG: Big watches.
KELLY: Baggy swim trunks worn as if they were shorts.
KELLY: Painfully damaged hair.
P-THUGG: ATROCIOUS highlights.
KELLY: And a whole lot of ’TUDE.
P-THUGG: Yes, “tude” is the way to say it. Proper. It’s the comeback of macho late ’90s style. Skinny guys are over. Bring bowling shirts back.
KELLY: Hahah, bowling shirts have FOR SURE waited long enough.
P-THUGG: Dad jeans.
KELLY: Give them their time.
P-THUGG: But you know, the most fascinating thing about Guy is if you see him on the street, you’re like wow, look at this dude, he’s a dinosaur. Then you see how he interacts with hipster chefs. It’s always the same thing at the beginning of the show. It starts off awkward and the chefs are always like “who the hell is this clown.”
KELLY: “Did I forget to wake up this morning?”
P-THUGG: “I make kale salad sandwiches, what does he know.” Then he starts giving props on cooking techniques and taste, and the chef warms up to him. Then he starts with the fist pounds and the high fives. And the “kickback is good, all about the texture, starts off sweet then gets spicy, it’s tangy.” And then by the end of the show they’re best friends. It’s a win-win.
KELLY: So Triple D is really just a sweet story about friendship, and not judging a book by the horrible cover it chose for itself.
P-THUGG: Absolutely, an underdog story. I love to see how he gets to people to like him. I actually really respect his hosting skills. He really deserves a show.
KELLY: Wow! So you’re really on his side. Do you feel like he gets a bad rap?
P-THUGG: He goes in against all odds, not looking like a highly graded chef. And he wins them over, he knows the technique and he’s probably a really decent chef himself. I think he’s misunderstood, like us.
KELLY: Do you relate to him as a performer?
P-THUGG: Haha absolutely. We also had to win people over for YEARS. Like, “look at these 2 dudes making ironic ’80s black music, can’t be serious, they’re on Vice records.” We’ve had to convince people too, same with Guy.
KELLY: Right, that definitely makes sense.
P-THUGG: You would NEVER expect a guy like this to show you how to make a chocolate souffle. And he stays true to himself.
KELLY: VERY unapologetically.
P-THUGG: BarBQ, mom and pop joints, dives. Like that’s the dopest concept. At least he doesn’t go for chains and pretentious restos. He’s the quintessential man of the people. A renaissance man.
KELLY: Hahahah, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him described that way before.
P-THUGG: Haha, you get what I mean.
KELLY: I do.
P-THUGG: I find that very dope of him.
KELLY: I never really thought about it that way, but you’ve opened my eyes.
P-THUGG: Long live DDD. I hope I can one day finish the whole list of restaurants across the country.
KELLY: I hope you can, too. I’m sure you can.
P-THUGG: I should plan DDD tours.
Chromeo’s White Women is out now on Big Beat.