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A Second Helping of

A Second Helping of


What are the ingredients for the perfect casserole?

One part humor, one part flamboyance, and two doses of twisted genius.

This recipe for success is on full display in Jeffery & Cole Casserole, the sketch comedy show on Logo now entering its second season. Stars Cole Escola and Jeffery Self became friends when their paths crossed in New York. The busy city wasn't busy enough for the pair, so they took to YouTube making comedy shorts as the VGL (very-good-looking) Gay Boys.

Logo recruiters signed Escola and Self to make their own programming for the network after seeing them do their off-color jokes at a live show. Their comedy bits have soared past 100,000 views online, and their momentum is only getting stronger with their Logo show's underground fan base.

With season 2 premiering Friday, the pair say they're still finding ways to build success while sticking to the basic formula that made them a hit.

Escola and Self take time from their busy lives as Internet comedians, popular bloggers, and television stars to talk to The Advocate.

The Advocate: What were your lives like before the show started?
Jeffery Self: About two years ago, we were just kind of bored, sitting around the apartment, watching reruns of Designing Women. One day we were like, "Let's do something to distract ourselves." We started making YouTube videos.

Cole Escola: They got more popular, and then we decided to do a live show because people were watching the videos.

Self: And we needed some money to buy cheap wine.

Escola: Then we did a live show, and then some people from Logo saw it, and they gave us a little deal.

And then we sort of made the show the same way we were making the YouTube videos -- with our webcam, using iMovie, and editing it ourselves and writing it. It was really kind of going from making a two-minute YouTube video to making 21 minutes of YouTube videos.

Do you do most of the production and writing work yourselves?
Self: This season we have a couple of producers who work with us, you know, get us things that we need, when we need props and stuff. You know, will come hold a camera when we need them to. Kind of being involved, but not being involved when we want to be left alone. It's kind of been a neat, gradual transition to having more than just the two of us.

Is there anyone producers tell you you can't touch with your jokes?
Self: Hillary Clinton doesn't like it when we say things ... we're kidding.

Escola: We've had a problem with showing pictures of poop. They got really upset.

Self: We had this 10-page e-mail chain going last week between lawyers, ourselves, and our producers, trying to find an appropriate photograph of poop to put on television.

Escola: I'll give the joke away. The joke is that we're talking to someone, and then it cuts to a picture of them, and you see that we've been talking to poop the whole time. So they melted a Snickers bar a little bit, but that was too graphic. We've said stuff like I would kill Tom Arnold and marry Laurie Metcalf, but we can't show poop. Poop is like a hot-button issue right now.

Self: Poop is a hot-button issue. Poop's done weird things to the Hot in Cleveland production.

Escola: Yeah, it's really slowing them down.

So how did you two meet?
Escola: We met, actually, at a flea market. The Broadway flea market.

Self: That's not true. He's lying. We met through mutual friends. Yeah, it's kind of boring. Gay guys get to know each other in New York. Yeah, we met through mutual friends. That sounded sort of misleading. We weren't, like, doing it.

What was the first joke you told to each other?
Escola: I think we had a lot of first jokes that we told to each other. Pretty much, we're both exhausting people to be around. After about a year or two of being here ...

Self: We exhausted pretty much everybody else. So we were kind of stuck with each other. We obviously grew up without many friends. I think that's pretty apparent. We both have weird relationships with our moms. And television from the '90s, so we bonded over that.

Why is your show called Jeffery & Cole Casserole?
Escola: Because it's so catchy, of course. It's a casserole. It's like a lot of little things leaked into one. Like a buffet.

Self: But Jeffery & Cole Buffet doesn't really have the same ring to it.

This is the second season of the show. What should viewers expect to be similar in the show, and what should viewers expect to be different?
Escola: Well, unfortunately, the picture is going to be a lot clearer. We got a little bit better of a camera, so you're going to be able to see the days where we've obviously been drinking heavily the night before. You'll see bags under our eyes.

Self: I don't know if you've seen Cole lately, but he wears an eye patch now, after something that happened over Christmas.

Escola: No, not really.

Self: I hope the show is similar to what it was the first season. I'm in a new apartment. I got evicted from my old one, so this is a new, classy apartment in New York City to look at.

You do most of the taping in your apartment?

Self: Pretty much everything in the apartment, and around the city sometimes too.

What audience do you have in mind for the show?
Escola: We do try to have fun regardless, and not care who watches it. But I will say, I love teenage girls.

Self: Me too. And they're my favorite people. When they watch the show, it's really cool. Somebody IM'ed me last night on Facebook and told me that she and her best guy friend, which I think we know what that means, watch our show. And they work at a Chick-fil-A in Mississippi.

Escola: Oh ...

Self: They make you sign that religious thing at Chick-fil-A ...

Escola: That you can't come out.

Self: But anyway, we like it when teenage girls like our show.

Escola: I think we kind of are teenage girls at the end of the day. And moms. I love them too.

How does doing a show on Logo affect your material? Do you feel pressured to make jokes for a gay target audience?
Self: We're inherently pretty queer. I don't think the jokes we do on the show would be any different if we did our show on "blank" TV.

Escola: It's just that fact that we are so obnoxiously flamboyant and feminine about anything we do.

Self: I think the show's more feminine than gay.

Escola: Go. women.

What's your favorite skit so far that you've done?

Self: Anything where I get to wear a hat.

Escola: There's a silly lady character that I play throughout season 2, but she doesn't have a name.

Self: I like that she doesn't have a name. She's just sort of "unnamed,silly lady." I think one of my favorite skits we've ever done is when we did an acting classes commercial. I thought that was funny. And any time we do movie trailers, I get a big kick out of that. And any time we get to use a laugh track. If you watch the show, you'll notice when we think a video's not working, we add a laugh track to it, and then we'll feel a lot more confident.

What advice would you give to people who are trying to get popular using viral videos?
Escola: Take your shirt off.

Self: No.

Escola: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Self: I mean, I guess it doesn't hurt.

Escola: You gotta get a gimmick. And our gimmick is two gay guys that take their shirts off.

Self: A lot.

Escola: And spend too much time together. And act like teenage girls. I mean, there's not another duo like that. Besides Tegan and Sara.

Self: And let's make sure we promote Hot in Cleveland again.

Escola: We want to let everyone know how excited we are to be on the same season as Hot in Cleveland.

Self: I think it's a celebration of women of a certain age this summer with Jeffery & Cole Casserole and Hot in Cleveland on TV Land and Logo.

Escola: We're hoping, hoping, hoping for a crossover. We'll see.

Self: If anybody from Hot in Cleveland watches our show, reads this article, talk to me on Facebook ... or at Chico's. All we want is to be on Hot in Cleveland.
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