In 2011, the cast and creators of Nickelodeon’s eccentrically glorious comedy The Adventures Of Pete And Pete reunited at Cinefamily in Los Angeles to the delight of legions of ’80s babies. For the first time since 1996, both Petes, Danny Tamberelli and Mike Maronna, talked publicly with creators Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi about the show and the impact it had on a generation. Little did these old friends know the adventure was just beginning.
In 2012, the cast and crew reunited again, this time with the help of the AV Club, in New York City’s Bowery Ballroom — again illuminating the very real fan base surrounding this late ’90s ode to the last true American subculture. There’s been nothing but momentum behind Pete and Pete ever since.
The Adventures of Mike & Danny draws from the Pete premise. In the podcast, Tamberelli and Maronna (pictured) literally go on an adventure, and offer up a postmortem for the listeners. The first episode aired in September and featured comedian Kurt Braunohler.
Danny, the founding member of the popular sketch comedy group, Manboobs, and Mike, now known for his work behind the camera (he’s a lighting technician) answered a few questions for me about the podcast and the Pete and Pete legacy. One note: This interview was done in mid-October, so the Comikaze in LA has unfortunately come and gone. My bad.
So, a lot of the cast remained in touch since the show’s last episode aired in 1996, a rare feat in show business. Why do you think you all bucked the trend?
Danny: well we weren’t hanging out all the time, but we did stay in touch and wish happy birthdays and holiday stuff. Mike and I stayed in touch and talked mets/giants over texts. I think the reason everyone is still friendly is obvious. The cold hard cash…
Mike: The reason we all stayed in touch is that we didn’t make it to syndication. If we had made it, I’d be asking you “Danny who?”
Mike, you studied documentary filmmaking. Is that something you remain passionate about? Did that inspire the work you currently do behind the camera?
Mike: Documentary/nonfiction – the most important type of filmmaking there is. Still interested in making docs.I don’t think it informs my current work as I have been working mostly in lighting. Nothing verité about that.
Danny, manboobscomedy.com is the real deal. Great sketch work. When you were younger, was sketch comedy something you saw yourself doing? Is a pilot still a possibility?
Danny: Thanks, I love doing it. I wrote on the last season of the original All That. So between that show and watching Mr. Show, i was hooked on sketch comedy. I let it fade out during college bc I was so into music but found it again 5 years ago with a friend from home, Brendan and his buddy Jeremy. Yes, we have a few pilots in the works and some web series too. Stay tuned.
Mike: Oh so now the story comes out. Jeremy is a friend of Brendan’s? That explains some things. More than one thing.
You guys played a formative role in the childhood of many an ’80s baby. When did that start to resonate with you?
Danny: These reunions have shown us just how much the show affected people. I think its great bc it changed me the same way. Its a cool thing to really be on the same page as the fans.
Mike: The show is about growing up so I think it began to resonate right away, as I was constantly growing up.
Many site your show as proto-hipster programming. How many dudes with ironic facial hair do you encounter on a weekly basis with a Pete and Pete story?
Danny: a few. I think I fall into that category with my stache and chin pubes.
Mike: Weekly? I only reliably encounter Dan Tamberelli, chin-pube purveyor. But some of our fans have outlandish getups.
I have my own favorite guest star from the show: Gordon Gano, in case you were wondering. I imagine you weren’t star struck at the time by Iggy Pop or Chris Elliot, but is there any one person who was on the show that you look back on and wish you’d gotten a little more face time with.
Danny: I was totally star struck with Chris Elliott! Also Bill Hickey, who I cherished as the grandpa in National Lampoons christmas vacation
Mike: Gordon Gano. Didn’t get to chill with Chris Elliott. LL Cool J. Sarah Shannon. A number of them.
How did Sketchfest enter the picture?
Danny: Our producer Marianne Ways put SF sketchfest and Pete and Pete people together. We are going back again this year to do a live ADM podcast and do a manboobs live show.
Mike: I am going to agree with Dan for this one because I have no idea. Way to go Marianne!!
What’s next for the podcast? Are you guys considering a weekly show?
Danny: We are off to Comikaze in LA 11/1-3 to do our first ever live podcast. It’ll be a little extra pete-centric as our special guests are Toby Huss, Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi from the show. I think thats gonna be pretty epic.
We might try to do an extra every other week, but it takes a little bit of time to figure out the adventure, where its going to be and how we can find time in our schedules.
Mike: I don’t know if those guys have confirmed yet but that would be our most rocking show to date (out of three episodes) Planning the adventure takes some time, then we have to live that adventure right after that. So that takes time too.
Weekly podcast? That’d be like this was my job…We would have to get assistants and tablet computers and coffee makers (I hate coffee but whaddaya gonna do?) and index cards and push pins and things! Let’s go to Staples!