‘Watch What Crappens’ Hosts Share the Secret to Their Bravoleb Impersonations

For Bravo fans, the Watch What Crappens podcast has become prescriptive audio serotonin during uncertain times. Hosts Ben Mandelker and Ronnie Karam seem to have found the secret to keeping their audience feeling happier during hard times, simply by making each other laugh.

The comedy team’s podcast has consistently delivered the laughs despite pandemic and societal injustice darkness. Karam and Mandelker spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about how they remain positive during such a draconian time and how they have created an audio caricature of nearly every Bravolebrity. 

'Watch What Crappens' podcast live performance
Watch What Crappens podcast live performance | Photo courtesy of Watch What Crappens

“You know, it’s interesting. When we started this show we just wanted to make each other laugh,” Mandelker says. “And at the end of the day, that’s ultimately what I want. I’m just trying to make Ronnie laugh. And if I can make Ronnie laugh, I’ll make everyone else laugh.” 

“But nowadays I do feel like also some sort of obligation to just provide an hour to an hour and a half of escapism for people. And an escape for people who have been homeschooling their children to people who are looking for work,” Mandelker adds. 

‘Watch What Crappens’ is keeping the hosts sane, too

“It’s a really good escape for us to get away from stuff for sure,” Karam shares. “Just having to sit down and take notes on these silly shows and get all worked up about this stuff, really helps with us too. When we leave this, I’m much happier after I’m done. I’d probably be a wreck by now if we weren’t doing this every day.”

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“We really get to channel our emotions through doing these recaps,” Mandelker adds. “And a lot of these, we go into episodes where we’ve just read some terrible headline about something that’s happened in the world. Either with coronavirus or an injustice. We get riled up and then just pour it into trying to make each other laugh. It really works in a weird way.”

The team describes how they build their characters

By now their audience is familiar with terms like having “honey eyes” or the endless number of times Ramona Singer from The Real Housewives of New York City says, “OK?” These affectations are built on a single joke or moment and then allowed to explode.

“We don’t have a formalized process where we sit down and workshop,” Mandelker says. “We just kind of do the impersonations and then when we sort of land on a take that makes us both belly laugh, and that makes the audience laugh a lot.”

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“And then [the audience] tweet at us like, ‘Oh my God, that was so funny.’ We’re like, ‘OK this is where we wanna go with it.’ We just lean in and then just do that joke for the next five years,” Mandelker laughs.

Thank you for the joke, Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio from Top Chef provided significant fodder for the Watch What Crappens hosts. The team used him as an example of how they cling onto one detail and it mushrooms, so to speak.

“We have an ongoing joke with Tom Colicchio that he’s deeply unsatisfied with his son who chose to be a mixologist,” Mandelker shares. “And we’ve been doing that joke for about a season a half. All because in one episode of Top Chef Kentucky, he was like, ‘Oh yeah my son’s a mixologist.’ And he said it so sadly, like so disappointed.”

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“It’s just a tiny sliver of something where he made an inference. And we built a joke around it and just ran with it for a year and a half,” he adds.

They miss touring, but fans can still see live shows

Karam and Mandelker admit they were taken aback by the demand for tour dates. The team was on the road more often than they were at home up until the pandemic hit. And while travel is exhausting, they miss doing their live shows. “I’m a huge ham,” Karam admits. “I really do it for laughs so being able to do that and actually hear people laughing, I just love it. We both just drop down to the floor and roll around. We both ham it up and love it.”

While the guys appreciate the months at home, they want to continue to perform live. “We really can’t wait to get back on the road,” Mandelker says. “But the good news is we are doing a virtual live show, Friday night on July 24. We’re gonna recap the latest episode of The Real Housewives of New York City.”

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“We’ve done that a few times and it’s been really fun,” Mandelker says. “What we do is hop on Instagram Live for about 30 minutes and we sort of chat with whoever comes on. It’s like a pre-show. Then we do our live show on Patreon. So we basically do that live and we have software where people can comment and we see their comments. And we can respond live on the fly during the show.”