Benito Skinner and Mary Beth Barone are so in sync that you’d think they’ve been friends since birth — but the comedians have actually only known each other for a few short years. In that span, though, they’ve fast-tracked their friendship and are now co-hosting a new podcast called Obsessed, which is available exclusively on Spotify, where they give fans an intimate look into what it’s like to hang out with them.
For the latest episode of In The Know’s pop culture interview series, We Should Talk, Benito Skinner — also known as Benny Drama on Instagram — and Mary Beth Barone open up about their friendship and how they met, the fleeting nature of viral fame and having their sights set on longer form content.
“There’s a lot of noise right now — not that I think a lot of the content is bad, a lot of it is amazing. But, I definitely have felt a little exhausted by the internet at times lately, where I’m just like, ‘There’s just, like, so much to watch!'” Benito told In The Know. “The sketches I’m thinking of are longer, and I wrote a pilot and pitched that out. I’m definitely thinking in longer form, which is really gratifying to do that and also make videos. It feels nice to know there’s both, because it’s fun to make something that could hit with your audience, but hit with new people, as well, and maybe take some of that energy from the internet and put it onto TV and film. That’s definitely where both of us would love to be, but I’ll never leave the internet.”
“It’ll take the pressure off of those smaller things where you’re like, ‘I have this larger thing that I’m working towards in the background, so I’m supplementing that.’ As opposed to the other way around, which feels like we’re supplementing the long-term stuff with the short-term stuff. So it’s just about flipping that once you make it past that milestone, which I think will feel really nice,” Mary Beth agreed. “For a long time I felt silly publicly being like, ‘I wanna be a movie star and I want to be on TV.’ If you can’t talk about what you want, then it’s just harder to receive those things and manifest. I’ve tried to be more open about that, because I have nothing to hide, ultimately.”
Listen to Obsessed co-hosts Benito Skinner and Mary Beth Barone’s full episode of We Should Talk below, and keep reading for highlights from the interview:
Benito Skinner on working with the Kardashians on his latest KUWTK trailer: “It was so sweet, because a lot of people were like, ‘Aw, I’m so glad you got that!’ I was like, ‘Oh, my god, I guess everyone was cheering for this thing I didn’t know I needed.’ I didn’t know I needed it until I got it. But E! came to me and they were like, ‘We have the final trailer, we’d love for you to make one for the final season. Obviously we’ve seen the 500 videos that you’ve put out about this family. Honestly, stop using our logo…’ [Laughs] It was so fun. because I had already had the idea. I wanted to do ‘Kardashian Kris-tory’ — and there’s still an extended version coming, I will say that. I wanted to do a through the years where it leads up to now, and I had an idea to have Kris in it, but when I sent it through to them it was kind of just, like, ‘Okay, this is a shot in the dark.’ […] Then the next day they were like, ‘Yep! Kris can do it. She has a press day, and she’s down.’ They sent me the footage three days later, and they were silent in between, so I was like, ‘She’s not going to do it.’ I had backup endings, and I shot all this stuff. The weirdest thing is that she sent it in, and I was wearing the exact same outfit that she had on in the video. I was wearing a black blazer and that’s exactly what she had on. It was meant to be. […] I was like, ‘Oh, my god.’ Not only did she send it through, but she did such a good job. She went in! It was actually more intense than I had written it to be. I guess it’s good that we weren’t ever in the same room, because that would’ve probably warped my brain.”
Mary Beth Barone on her recent Tonight Show appearance: “It was actually a fun challenge, because that show has to be clean, so it was a clean five minutes, which doesn’t sound that difficult. It’s not like every joke I have is about sex or I curse a lot — I really don’t curse very much in my stand-up at all — but it’s a lot about the female experience, which inherently leads to sexual things or stuff that’s not appropriate for Jimmy Fallon’s show. I wrote some jokes new for that set, but what was great is that the booker for The Tonight Show, Michael Cox, is so amazing at his job and was getting so granular with the jokes and what to cut, what to keep, what to change a little bit. He really helped me structure it and fine tune the performance, and I have never had someone dig into my stand-up that specifically before, so I found it to be so rewarding. It was also really nice because so many of my parents’ friends watched it and they weren’t hearing me talk about d–ks and vaginas. I could really put forth a set that was appropriate for everybody, so I never felt awkward hearing that, like, my gynecologist watched it. […] I was really pleased, and I was so grateful for that experience.”
Benito Skinner on what it’s like to go viral: “It’s always funny to me, because it’s the videos that I wouldn’t have expected, and I think that that is what I tell people who are starting to create. Sometimes I can see when people are creating for reaction, and it’s so obvious. That’s something that is making the internet a little bit tiring to me right now. I’m seeing a lot of the things that are just being made for virality, and that’s not how special things are made. I know that, too, because at times I would do something and I would be like, ‘I know this is going to hit!’ And then the world will be like, ‘No… you thought wrong.’ It’ll be something that you have no idea that you actually loved making that will blow up. I never thought that people would care about me doing Kim Kardashian Snapchats. That was, like, a throwaway video for me. I thought, like, ‘Maybe this is something that I only think is funny and people have a lot of Kardashian in their life. They don’t need me to give them more.’ And then it did better than the rest of my videos and low-key changed my life. It’s so random and kind of beautiful because it can reignite creativity in you and make you take risks.”
Mary Beth Barone on what it’s like to go viral: “I completely agree. It’s always the stuff that you don’t expect. Sometimes it can be frustrating because, if it is something that was just a quick thing you did and you throw it up to see what happens… the internet is so fickle. You have that wave for, like, a day, and then it’s over. I don’t really let myself enjoy the high. It’s like, ‘Well, this isn’t fulfilling me. This is no longer validating me. Now my thumbs hurt because I’m just replying to people.’ It’s nice, in general, to look back on the things that have really hit with people. It’s weird to say, because obviously anything can go viral — even people who aren’t comedians who don’t dedicate their lives to making work for live performances or online — but I think it’s nice to look back at the moments that things really popped and say, ‘Okay, that is probably what kept me going in that time, even if I didn’t acknowledge it in the moment.'”
Check out Benito Skinner and Mary Beth Barone’s new podcast, Obsessed, exclusively on Spotify, and watch our full interview with them below:
If you enjoyed this interview, check out our recent interview with podcast host Mariah Smith!
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