I’m split on Anthony Bourdain. His entire old tough punk, cool guy schtick is annoying but also hilarious, albeit largely unintentionally. He’s such a perfectly realized parody of a specific type of masculinity that prevents men from aging as gracefully as they think they are. I pretty much love his food and travel shows, though, both because of and in spite of his ridiculousness, and despite his bravado he seems like a guy who’d be pretty fun to hang out and drink with. Whenever I head to a city for the first time I try and find the corresponding Bourdain episode to help inform my dining plans, and I haven’t really been burned yet. But, like, turning a Boston episode into a weird homage to Friends of Eddie Coyle, and roping in a random friend who plays in a mediocre local garage band to act as tour guide? That nicely sums up what I find so funny about Bourdain. He’s so dedicated to trying to look cool, at all times, and it’s a very specific kind of cartoon “rock ‘n’ roll” cool that might still work on twentysomethings playing house shows or dive bars but just looks kind of sad on a man about to turn 60. He seems like he’d unironically love HBO’s Vinyl, is what I’m saying.
This strong, somewhat cartoonish personality should make Bourdain a perfect target for parody. His type of food-oriented travel show is definitely easy to mock, too, as is foodie and restaurant culture. Jonah Ray, the host of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival and the co-host of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail on Comedy Central, tackles both with his upcoming show Hidden America with Jonah Ray. Watch a clip above featuring Ray and Randall Park and keep an eye out for the show when it premieres on the Seeso online network on June 2.