If ‘Hot Ones’ Isn’t Already Your Internet Obsession, It’s About to Be

Are you ready to call yourself a spice lord?
Natalie Portma Hot Ones Thumb No Logo
By  · Published on June 26th, 2018

Are you ready to call yourself a spice lord?

One-on-one interviews have gotten a bit bland over the years. You have the celebrity guest and the interviewee converse and divulge some kind of interesting information. Many interviewers just as Ellen and Jimmy Fallon have games that provide hilarious results. But what happens when that just isn’t enough? Look no further than Hot Ones to spice up this bland formula.

What is Hot Ones? It’s a YouTube show that features interviews between host Sean Evans and a celebrity. The celebrity is coming on to promote some kind of upcoming project while Evans is knocking back the shows signature ingredient. That’s right, Hot Ones is a chicken wing challenge show where guests have to complete of a gauntlet of hot chicken wings.

Hot Ones is now in its sixth season and features a brand new selection of hot sauces for the guests to try. The first sauce is something mild you can find in the supermarket. They give each one of the hot sauces a rating in Scoville units, so you know how hot these wings are getting. As the guests make it through the wings, not only do the wings get hotter, but the interview changes form. It might be about the guest and their latest project, but it soon turns into witnessing the struggle that the guests are going through. Only after guests have completed eating all ten wings, can they promote their project. If they don’t complete the contest, then they can still promote their project, but they get added to the show’s Hall of Shame.

The first five seasons had some amazing guests on to try the hot sauce gauntlet. Some guests that have been on the show include Neil deGrasse Tyson, Charlie Day, Michael B. Jordan, Charlize Theron, Cara Delevingne, and a lot more. Hot Ones did not imagine the show as a contest, but sometimes constants try to push the limits. Dax Shepard asked for an extra wing after he had finished the gauntlet. Then YouTuber Philip DeFranco finished the gauntlet with drinking nothing and then adding two extra wings on the end. We’ll have to see how long that stands.

Hot Ones has gotten quite the following over the last few years. Each episode of the two most recent seasons has over 1 million views, with the most viewed episode, Kevin Hart, has a whopping 15 million views. The parent company of the show, Complex Media, has a website dedicated to selling hot sauces that have appeared on the show. Going a step further, Hot Ones has their own hot sauce brand they claim is the hottest in the world. They sell it on the website and it sells out, demanding ridiculous prices from re-sellers on eBay.

The sixth season made its debut at the beginning of June and airs every Thursday morning. The season premiere had Johnny Knoxville of Jackass fame, promoting his new movie Action Point. Knoxville talks a little about his career, about the intensity of the stunts he still performs and a discussion of where prank culture has gone in the wake of YouTube. It is an interesting enough interview, but it was more enjoyable because it was the first episode of the new season and we got introduced to some new hot sauces of the season. A mainstay from season 5, Da Bomb, continues to be the rotation of sauces because every guest hates it. It is no different with Knoxville.

The next episode was a guest I never imagined would take the chicken wing challenge. Natalie Portman, known more for her roles in Jackie and Black Swan, took on the gauntlet for her documentary Eating Animals. It would be counterproductive for her to eat chicken during her time on the show, so she eats vegan wings for the interview. When she gets further down the list of chicken wings, she soon finds out the crutch of the show, “it’s a lot to be talking at the same time.” Something happens when you are eating food that hot and being able to conduct an interview at the same time becomes daunting. Portman becomes concerned about the half-life of the wings because she can’t feel her tongue anymore. But the interview also explores more of the life of Portman and her thoughts on dreams, dancing on TRL, and her love for ballet dancing.

Hot Ones takes a boring formula and spices it up. Each interview is exciting in a different fashion as guests either provide some great responses or suffer at the hot wings. It has no business being as entertaining as it is, but in this household, it has become appointment viewing on Thursdays. If you haven’t seen Hot Ones yet, there is no better time than now to get into it. Just be prepared to become familiar with the sauces and get a slight craving for chicken wings. Perhaps you will become a new spice lord.

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News Writer/Columnist for Film School Rejects. It’s the Pictures Co-host. Bylines Playboy, ZAM, Paste Magazine and more.