Max Silvestri is one of the most motor-mouthed comics in the game. His hilarious new album King Piglet is a demonstration of his gift for verbosity. Gabe & Max Need Help, a new webseries where Max goes to couple’s therapy with his longtime frenemy Gabe Delahaye, premieres on Thundershorts.com on June 26th. Nerve talked to Max about food, sex, and food & sex.
I’m gonna start with something, I feel like you would have an opinion about this.
Okay, I have opinions about a lot of things.
My office is in DUMBO, and a new Shake Shack opened here today.
So I just had lunch there about a half hour ago, and I feel it, so I apologize if I—
Haha, sure. You seem sluggish. I don’t know normal Liam, but now that you’ve given me that context, sure. How’s the line on day one?
Not so bad, shockingly. I was in and out in 20 minutes.
Oh, that’s great. I feel like the one in the Fulton Mall is never slam-packed either. It’s really just asshole office workers that make it terrible in Manhattan, Battery Park, and the Madison Square one.
Yeah, and the Battery Park one is in the Goldman Sachs building, so you don’t wanna do that.
They probably just buy it as a joke and then throw it out. At 11 am every day they put in an order for a thousand burgers and then flush them down the toilet just to fuck with the people who actually want to enjoy them. They light their cigars with those burgers. They’re flammable.
I kid. Goldman Sachs, they’re a great company. They build wealth, it’s so important. I think it’s so important. Haha! As someone who’s on the precipice of being interested in family estate planning and wealth building, I would love to have a good relationship with them. In print.
I read your New York Diet from the other day —
So funny that those are called diets, ahhhh, hey! So intense to see all that in print. Thank you for reading it.
I think the other comedian who knows as much and is as passionate about food is Aziz Ansari. Who do you think has a more refined palette?
Well, the great thing about food is that we all have to do it every day, we all have to do food, so there’s no winning or losing. I guess if you live in a country with no access to fresh water or vegetables, you lose? Aziz is very well-traveled and is very good at finding great spots to eat, so I think nine times out of 10, 10 times out of 10 I would defer to him about where to eat in what city. He tours so much, much more than I do, and I’ve been on tour with him a handful times, and he does not mess around as far as finding good spots or remembering spots from cities.
For awhile, I felt like my deal was I was a better cook. Aziz didn’t really cook and I was always into cooking. But now he’s into cooking, and like most things that he’s attempted, he’s gotten really obsessive and great at it. Sometimes we’ll text about recipes or whatever, and I’m like “you’re already operating at a sphere above me.” So I’ll give it to Aziz on that one, but I have more money than him, haha. I think that there are a lot of comics who are into food. Aziz is someone who has talked about it a lot, in print and elsewhere, but I think food in general has just become more of a normalized lifestyle thing as opposed to being a weird niche for enthusiasts or foodies.
How do you manage eating well on the road? I know it’s very difficult to, say, be a vegan in Omaha, or something like that.
My tastes are pretty high/low, so if I have time in a city that I’m visiting to search out a good meal, I will do it, but at the same time I’m happy to eat a Domino’s pizza at two in the morning in a hotel room. I’m not above that.
Because that’s good, too.
I’m very good at babying myself in the sense that if I have accomplished even the smallest thing, I think I deserve whatever little baby wants. So, if I just did a show at a college and I’m all alone, well, I’m going to go drink a whiskey alone at a bar and then get a Domino’s pizza and eat it in a hotel room, and no one can tell me I can’t do that, I’m an adult, I don’t have to check in with anybody.
Okay, so this is Sex Advice From…
I’ve never had sex, but I’ve read a lot about it. I’ve read a lot of short stories and online fiction about Mulder and Scully and Skinner in situations that did not happen on the show, so I’m eager to pass that along.
So you’ve never had sex, but you can fake it. Got it. Have you ever thought about food play?
I mean…no. Do you mean using food objects, or do you mean weird fetish feeder porn? Because both no, and I know that both exist. In South Korea, there’s these things called mok bang, have you heard of this?
No, what’s that?
So over there, livecasting is a much bigger thing. Many people people tune in for strange things to be livecasted over the internet. Mok bang, which usually has an attractive female as the host, is sort of like a webcast where they just eat gigantic meals while people watch. And it’s not entirely a sex thing, as much as it sounds it. Mok bang, like, surprisingly is more innocent than that. I’m sure there are some people that just wanna see a pretty girl eat a lot or whatever, but there’s also, like, empowerment wrapped up in it. I think a surprisingly high percentage of the viewers are young women who like seeing this positive vibe of, “don’t feel that you have to be a delicate, feminine creature, and live up to this idea of whatever, you can eat big meals.” I’m into that, haha.
But believe it or not, I don’t bring food into every part of my life. It’s something that I do three to five times a day, and then I do other things in between.
From your comedy, you don’t seem like you’d be very good at sexting. Like you would get too abstract or go too long.
I’m not good at direct expression. My comedy is very indicative of how I write, how I think, how I talk, which is lots of digressions and parenthetical thoughts and asides, and as much as I’m at peace with that mode of expression, I do not think it’s a particularly sexually forward way to communicate. I’ve never been a sexter or really online dated or used Tinder or anything where how you are able to communicate in short, cute bursts is how you’re judged beyond your pictures. I don’t think I’d be good at it. I probably haved avoided it in the past for exactly that reason, like I don’t think that one-sentence me is the best me.
I don’t think I’m a strong sexter. I think I’ve pulled it off alright in the past, but I don’t like living in that mode for that long. I think it’s always surprising when I sext.
Right, I’ve had that experience too, where it’s like, “oh, really, we’re doing this? This is what we wanna do? Okay.”
“Alright, alright,” I’m never not into it, but it’s like “alright, okay, this is different than how I normally am, but I’m down.”
“Is it okay to wake up my partner for sex? My partner and I don’t have sex too often. He went to bed 45 minutes ago. I’m on vacation from work and I had some wine. Now I wanna wake him up. Is that okay?”
Is the person writing this female, or is this a man-man couple? Actually, that doesn’t matter. I would say that, and this is gonna sound gendered…you know what, you should always wake up your partner for sex. You should never wake up your partner in the middle of sex. You should start while they’re awake. People don’t like to come to while they’re en media coitus or whatever. I just feel like people are never that upset to find out that sex is happening. Yeah, like life gets in the way, you’re like “I really needed a good night’s sleep tonight, I’ve been tired” but I think, ultimately, everyone is pretty happy when it happens. Unless you’re in a miserable relationship, in which case you should just go to the bathroom, turn on the fan, masturbate, and then sign up for Ashley Madison. People like to be surprised, especially if you’ve been in a relationship for awhile and you don’t have sex as much, like this person is saying they don’t have sex as much as they’d like to, or they used to, surprise is a helpful element.
“I can’t get hard when masturbating, but I can with a woman. Is there something wrong with me?”
Uh, I think you’re the only normal one. I think you’re literally the prodigal son, the second coming of Christ, I’ve literally never heard of that. That’s such an old-fashioned problem. I feel like in this day and age, porn has ruined two generations of people, like “I can’t get hard unless a tan person spits on it,” so the idea that a real live in-front-of-you woman gets you hard but wanting to make sad junk alone doesn’t is great. It is surprising; you’re different. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. I think you should somehow bottle that. I mean, don’t bottle what you’re doing, bottle your specialness. Unless you are trying to be a sperm donor, and you need that money today or someone you love is going to get their thumbs broken, I can’t really imagine — or maybe you don’t date that much, and you’re swelling up and your head’s about to explode, and you’re thinking of, like, buying an Eastern European woman off the internet, then you’re going down a dark path.
Yeah, I think that’s probably this person’s problem.
If that is your problem, maybe don’t get into prostitutes or strip clubs, just do Cross-Fit or something. I feel like everyone who does Cross-Fit doesn’t come enough. Yeah, that’s my quote: “People who do Cross-Fit probably don’t come enough.” Instead of trying to lift things so quick and jump on boxes, have a long shower, enjoy yourself.
I’m excited about Gabe and Max Need Help.
Oh, me too! We just got the final cut of the third episode. We’re very, very excited to show the world. We’ve made videos together for a long time, but Gabe moved to L.A. a couple years ago, and we’ve each been working on projects individually, so it’s been awhile since we have. So to have the opportunity to come back together and do this has been so, so fun for the both of us. I really think it’s the best thing we’ve ever made. These are more narrative, and Kumail Nanjiani is such a funny comedian and actor and is so fun to play off. The videos say “written by Gabe Delahaye and Max Silvestri,” but so many of my favorite lines in the videos are things Kumail made up on the spot. They premiere on ThunderShorts.com June 26th.