Guy Fieri Roadshow Report: A Real-Life Drama in Three Acts

ACT ONE - in limine

fieri-roadshow-schlow

Photograph: Doug Quint / Bryan Petroff

DOUG: 8:06pm The theater is 2/3 full, and the audience my brethren: Northern Crackers. I purchase the drink of my people (a Michelob Light) and return to our seats as the show begins. The man at the microphone is, I surmise, a local DJ who is going to introduce the opening act. You know the sort of fellow — you ignore him every time he takes the stage.

BRYAN: Before the start we are hearing 70s and 80s rock songs. Van Halen's "Ice Cream Man" plays. Do they know we are here??

8:08pm After two minutes of garbled Fieri-praise (the sound amplification was disastrous all night) we pieced together that the man in front of us is not the local morning guy, he's Chef Michael Schlow. Schlow talks about his stint on Top Chef Masters, and bemoans the current lack of a stove-top camera. The scene is disturbingly quiet — so far this night of rock-and-roll has no soundtrack. I am reminded of a Ginsu Knife demonstration that I once watched at a K-mart.

BRYAN: Throughout his stories of Top Chef, proper pasta technique and the ONLY tomatoes to EVER use (you can guess which if you are reading this blog) he cooks up one dish, bemoans repeatedly no one can see it, serves it to the high rollers sitting on stage, and insists to the rest of us that it is good — even though we can't see or taste it. After all, why wouldn't it be? He's the guy with a 4-star restaurant in Boston, you see, not the guy sneered by Girl Scouts over his Top Chef dessert creation. I agree that it is eerily quiet. The old guy that did carrot-peeling demonstrations in Midtown was more lively.

8:33pm Schlow plates some pasta, concluding his time with us.

 

ACT TWO - bibo ergo sum

fieri-roadshow-mixing

Photograph: Doug Quint / Bryan Petroff

DOUG: 8:46pm The only "flair bartending" I've ever seen is a barkeep opening two bottles of Budweiser at once, so the evening's second set, by Hayden "Woody" Wood, intrigued me. My lasting impression is of the enormous amount of splashing; his bar must be intensely sticky. I suspect one doesn't learn to "flair bartend" unless they somehow divorce themselves of cleanliness.

Mr. "Woody" Wood has a raucous soundtrack behind him, and his microphone is poorly positioned. I truly understood only one thing that he said in his time onstage: "Who likes a good margarita?" In my notes: "yadda ingredient yadda who likes to drink yadda America yadda ladies like yadda."

BRYAN: With Woody the crowd really got into it, basically confirming the night would reach fratboy levels of drunk by the end of the show. Woody broke a glass on his VERY FIRST flair routine. If he was actually making potable drinks I couldn't tell. Blaring music, combined with his Madonna-cum-Britney hands' free mic made for 30 minutes of muffled, "phlah mwah jasmine mumble spice eh meh margarita HAH!" or some variation on that line. Bob Dylan at his most indecipherable could've instructed us better on what to make. From what I can gather, he only actually made two drinks the entire time — but out of jasmine, apples, bananas, sugar, vanilla, spice, rum, and tequila — and what went into what glass I have no idea what those drinks were.

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12 Comments

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  1. Fluxgirl

    I was starting to feel embarrassed for him just reading your article. What a trainwreck!

    I don't know how he can face yet another chili-cheese-deep-fried-taco-bacon-buttered au jus concoction on his show.

  2. Cindy

    We went to the show in Wallingford CT last night, and thought it was great! It was a unique show...not too much cooking...but a fun night. I wasn't expecting just a "cooking" show, that's not how it was billed anyway. Everyone around me seemed to have a great time as well, maybe they worked out some kinks.

  3. Great reporting! I hope EMD uses these guys more often.

    Can't stand Guy Fieri and not unhappy that his road show is tanking.

  4. rebecca maidenberg

    Hey people - don't feel embarrased if you weren't there. The show was awesome and these dudes are TOTALLY off. It wasn't quite when Schlow was up there, no one left early and every had a great time. Bryan + Doug...not cool reporting all around.

  5. Shelley

    I was in lowell also and it was awesome!!!! "by the way... i was one of those GIRLS that got up on stage to sing." Bryan and Doug lets see you get up there infront of all of those people and do it. the nerves get the voice!!! I dont think it was a train wreck, i think it was a new kind of entertainment for culinary!! keep rocking it GUY!!!

  6. Marny

    I went to the Atlanta show and the writer is DEAD ON. This show was embarrassingly awful. We left early, even though we were given the tickets for free. I'm sure some people were having a good time-- just not people I would ever want to spend time with.

  7. Chris

    Worst. Show. Ever. If I ever see Fieri on the street, I will punch him for wasting 3 hrs. of my life.

  8. Josh

    Boy I wish I'd read this blog before going to the Atlanta show last night. My wife and I both enjoy Guy's shows on the food network. He's a charismatic guy, and so we figured this would be pretty good.

    Boy were we wrong! The show started at 8:00 and ended at 11:30. Those were absolutely the most excruciating 3 and a half hours of my life! I'm still completely bewildered by the whole experience, and your blog is spot on. Just be thankful your karaoke contest only had 3 contestants. Ours had 7!!! Which lasted almost an hour. If I want to hear bad karaoke (which I don't), I can drive down the street from my house!

    The whole thing felt like a bad skit put together at the last minute by some 13 year old boys. Except they charged 55 bucks and it lasted 3 hours!! Completely pointless and juvenile. I want my money and those hours of my life back!

    It's clear after this experience that Guy has an enormous ego...something that hadn't really come across in his network shows. It's as if he's always really just wanted to be a rock star, so he orchestrated this whole debacle to make himself feel like one. I don't think I'll be able to tune into his shows anymore after seeing this...it was that repulsive. It was torture.

  9. Jpeazybreezy

    OH NO, Previous Post. His enormous ego shines fully through all his shows,especially "Triple D" as he calls it. He seems like an alright guy, and I LOVE diners, but if you pay any attention to his attitude on the show, yeah, the ego comes out.
    At any rate, I do applaud him for this interesting concept. Maybe there should have been some more conceptualizing prior to it's release, but it is definatly a landmark idea. Nothing like this has never been done on this scale it's a lot like Emeril Live by what I've read, but on a much larger plane. I hope that they can fix the issues and bring this revolutionary idea into better light.

  10. tori

    Oh Lord, Im scared now. I am going to the KC show tomorrow nite and I hate loving someone on TV and them seeing them in concert or meeting them, and have my love of them tarnished. I hope it is good. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

  11. UKstages

    i saw the show last night in council bluffs, iowa. they're halfway through their tour. while it's still very much NOT a coking show, things have improved considerably since the first performance reviewed here.

    there are no longer any microphone problems and you can hear every word woody says. whether or not that's an improvement, i don't know. i mean, essentially this is a guy mixing drinks on stage for twenty minutes. the novelty wears off after about a minute or so. he did get the crowd pretty energized, which is more than can be said for the opening act, two executive chefs from the local venue, a casino hotel. like watching paint dry. not entirely their fault, of course. if you only allow overhead camera shots for the star performer (fieri), any cooking (or mixology) demo is going to fall flat.

    guy is a good showman and can rally a crowd, but for all his energy, he is not a very good storyteller. this event desperately needs a qualified stage director to set things right and provide some shape and form to the evening; they need somebody to edit the show, provide some discipline and say "no." the thing started at 8 PM and wasn't over till 11:15.

    less is more.

    the show is no longer the embarrassment it sounds like it was in lowell. there were no walk-outs. then again, how many paying members of the public attended, i couldn't tell you... it was a casino crowd and many were comped. still, people with free tickets are often the first to walk out if they don't like it. and these folks genuinely seemed to enjoy it, especially the VIP crowd at the onstage tables, which here weren't actually onstage but in front of the stage. (the show was presented in a hotel ballroom.)

    the 25-gallon margarita (seems a wee bit redundant after we just watched a guy mix drinks for 20 minutes) and the karaoke contest are still the main set pieces in the show. they both go on far too long. guy still cooks the hong kong noodles and the pork sandwich, but i honestly have very little idea how he made it or what's in it. the cooking is truly incidental in this "show."

    "guy fieri's road show" is much better than "emeril's cooking challenge," which i was unfortunate enough to witness in its premiere engagement in atlantic city last month. the biggest problem with "emeril's cooking challenge" was emeril, who appeared frequently in canned video clips that had nothing to do with the action onstage. at least here you have the man himself onstage and he's an entertaining guy, to a degree... he just doesn't have a show to back him up. there's nothing very interesting or dramatic happening onstage.

    unless you're participating in a master class, cooking, it turns out, is actually better on TV.

    as it happens, "guy fieri's road show" is not really a very much of a show at all, just a very loosely connected series of highly rehearsed yet seemingly spontaneous events. if you like guy fieri, you'll love it. if you don't or have never heard of him (like the winner of the karaoke contest last night, oddly enough), you'll be either completely baffled or very pissed off or, perhaps, mildly amused.

    but pay $30 or more to see it?

    never.

  12. Zoey

    went to the kc show last night. Can't believe that I paid $55 to see this awful show. So terribly disappointed. What was the
    point of the audience members singing on stage? Who cares? Even
    the bloopers from DDD were not that funny. What a rip off.

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