When BTV approached professor Ryan Vaughan about getting involved with the station, they were trying to raise their profile and respectability.
“I can provide neither of those things,” Vaughan said. “But the first thing that came to mind was a show where I interviewed people while eating an entire pizza. Hence, ‘Pizza with Vaughan.’”
Vaughan was the obvious choice for a comedy show. He’s a popular professor whose classes fill up so fast, even seniors have trouble getting in.
“Pizza with Vaughan” has come a long way since it premiered last spring. In just six episodes, the show has graduated from being shot using a green screen in the basement of New University Union (which Vaughan referred to as a “shithole” on the most recent episode) to Casadesus Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building. The show also now has a much larger production crew, new cameras and microphones.
Each episode begins with an opening monologue by the coveted English professor, where he sits on a child-sized chair with a cartoon of a slightly more chiseled version of himself emblazoned in the back. The show also offers student-produced comedic sketches and an interview segment where Vaughan shares Nirchi’s pizza with his guest.
While the show made impressive strides in production since its first episode, the content “has managed to maintain a consistent level of stupidity,” Vaughan said.
“Pizza with Vaughan” offers an impressively accurate and hilarious insight into Binghamton University campus culture. Notable guests have included Larry Shea, the owner of Tom & Marty’s, and Ben Eisenkop, a Reddit superstar known as “Unidan” and a doctoral candidate in biology.
The show’s next episode will feature its first musical performance, an unnamed project combining the talents of guitarist and singer Christine Spilka, a senior majoring in chemistry, and DJ Daniel Kadyrov, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. The two longtime friends began their musical collaboration just two weeks ago.
“This is the first TV show I’ve done. It’s a really exciting experience to be a part of,” said Spilka, who is also a member of the band The Jean Jackets. The episode will feature Vaughan attempting to name their band and interviewing the two musicians.
“Pizza with Vaughan” has certainly raised BTV’s profile and will continue to do so with future guests and web shorts like “Marketplace with Vaughan.” As the title suggests, Vaughan asks students hard-hitting questions in the Marketplace, like “Who would win in a fight?” He doesn’t give the interviewees options for answers. It’s an open question.
In addition to putting BTV on the map, “Pizza with Vaughan” is about “bringing the Binghamton community together in a not fake way,” Vaughan said.
“It’s not as polished as other shows you’re gonna see, but the ideas are original. We’re just trying to make each other laugh, and hopefully other people will laugh as a result,” he said.
Links to all six episodes are available on the show’s Facebook page. Taping takes place every other Thursday in Fine Arts Room 117 from 7:30 to 9 p.m., and all students are welcome.