Brunch is the absolute worst. At least it is according to the hosts of The Dinner Party Download. They're out with a new book titled "Brunch is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party." It's a manifesto for civility, cocktails, and camaraderie.

WFDD's Bethany Chafin spoke with Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano ahead of their visit to the Triad this weekend.

Interview Highlights

On what readers will find when they open "Brunch is Hell":

RG: It's sort of two books in one. It is both a kind of an observational humor, funny look at dinner parties, sort of identifying all the stuff that we deal with whenever we have dinner parties and the types of characters and the types of silly things people do. But there is a real emotional core to it which is we kind of take brunch as the straw man villain embodying everything that's wrong in the world and hold up dinner parties as the antidote to them. And that we actually believe. There's a deeper layer to this book. We need to be having people over to each other's homes, we need to be more civil with each other and we need to be having deeper conversations, and the dinner party is the best place for it.

On the part of the dinner party where guests can "save the world":

BFN: We think the real, real change happens in the middle, in the part of the meal we call a deep conversation. This is after the entrees have been served, after people have had some drinks, they've gotten to know each other if they hadn't already before, and then you start talking. And this is where we encourage people to really get into it - to talk about anything you'd like. You know the old rule was don't talk about politics or religion. We think you should. You don't have to. But if it occurs to you, why not? What better place to have these discussions? You can't really have them at home or maybe with your checkout person at the supermarket. You should have them around your friends and so we think that this is the part where the world could change. And you know those are big ambitions. But we do think if not in someone's home in that warm atmosphere that's been created, if you can't kind of talk about some problems or talk about some differences of opinion there then all hope is lost, so we think that central part of the dinner party is the key moment.

On being coauthors and having one "voice":

BFN: This was a new journey for us, but we wrote our show [The Dinner Party Download] every week, and so this was a different project. I feel like we really blended our voices and that sort of thing. But all the really funny stuff is any time you laughed out loud, that was probably my stuff. And then also the really poignant parts that made you reconsider what it means to be a human being. Those are probably my parts. Rico did a lot of pronoun stuff, a lot of punctuation. 

RG: [Laughs] And I'll just say that all the stuff in it that are lies, which is everything that Brendan said, that's Brendan's.

On the surprising notion that food is the least important part of the dinner party:

BFN: The food is just the trick to get people into your home and to get them around a table. The community part of the dinner party is what we think is important and is the best part of it. And we also make that point and we make it that way because I think that's part of the anxiety people have about throwing dinner parties. I feel like as foodie culture has taken over, it's wonderful, but people are intimidated that they're not going to cook a perfect meal. And we actually think that you don't need to cook a perfect meal. That's the beauty of entertaining at home. If you go to a restaurant and the chicken is off or dry, you're going to send it back. At someone's home, you're not going to do that because you know that that's not the point. And you know that humans are imperfect, or maybe you can't even joke about it. So we kind of frame it that way to let people know this isn't something that you need to be intimidated about. That said we give you recipes; we love fine food and we talk about strategies for having a fantastic meal.

You can meet the guys of The Dinner Party Download and hear about their new book, "Brunch is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party" this Saturday, December 16th. They'll be at SECCA for "Brunch is Hell: A Dinner Party Primer!"  Ticket information available here


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