Is it just me or do the Oscars feel less relevant every year? Maybe it’s the death of the monoculture, or the Academy needing to be dragged kicking and screaming out of its white past, or it’s too long, and then the Academy thinks the solution is cutting certain awards from air instead of the dull hosts. In a time when so many people are suffering physically, mentally, and financially, the celebrity adulation is grosser than ever. But despite these mounting problems, who doesn’t love an Oscars viewing party?
Unlike the Super Bowl, with queso and hot wings and varied dips, there is no culturally agreed upon menu for an Oscars party. But over the past few years, a small trend has emerged, led in part by comedian Demi Adejuyigbe, who you may know from his September 21st videos or his work on The Good Place. At his annual viewing party, Adejuyigbe serves dishes with punny names names inspired by the year’s nominated movies. There are dishes like “We Live In A Salsa-ety” (Joker) or “Mound of Kettle (Corn)” (Sound of Metal). These lowbrow brilliant spreads usually go viral, and now every year fans attempt their own groaners.
For Adejuyigbe, coming up with a list of Oscars-related food puns is an exercise in creativity, and something that gets guests riffing and engaging with each other. Mostly it’s just fun — why serve pasta when you could serve “Drive My Car-Bonara?” Or actual licorice pizza? (On second thought, please don’t do that.) Before this year’s Academy Awards, which airs Sunday, March 27, I talked to Adejuyigbe about the art of party hosting, punmanship, and why the best puns are the long ones that make everyone mad. Obvious caveat: The COVID-19 pandemic continues, so please take this party-planning advice with a grain of salt — and several PCR and antigen tests.
Eater: What’s your general opinion of the Oscars?
Demi Adejuyigbe: I love the Oscars. I think when I say that, people always feel like I’m standing up for it as a perfect institution and I’m absolutely not. It’s really just more that I love it as an event. I feel like it used to be such a performative thing and that was always so cool to me as a kid. Because it just felt like, “Oh, it’s this very old institution that is deciding what movies deserve credit every year,” but then also they have like, Hugh Jackman doing a weird song and dance number.
I see it kind of like the Super Bowl where it’s like, I’m not always into the teams that made it to the playoffs. I’m just really more there for the camaraderie and celebration of a sport that I love. And I don’t think it’s like an objective measure of what is the good movie or whatever. I’m just like, “It’s nice to see movies celebrated in many forms.”
When did you start throwing your own Oscars viewing party,