Since its debut in January of this year, Ginormous Food has been one of Food Network’s top new shows, with viewership in the millions over the course of its first two seasons. At the helm of Ginormous Foods is Los Angeles-based comedian and longtime MMA fan Josh Denny.
After wrapping up filming on Ginormous Food’s second season, Denny spoke with MMAWeekly.com about his love of MMA, how he became a Food Network star, and his thoughts on two proposed bouts of mixed martial artists versus boxers.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Josh, tell us a bit of how you got into MMA.
Josh Denny: I’ve been a fan since the early days in the 90’s; watching the VHS tapes of UFC 1, UFC 2, and UFC 3 with a bunch of my buddies when we were kids. I’ve really just kind of tracked the sport ever since. I did some martial arts when I was a kid, so it was a big part of my youth. I only really had any familiarity with it from action movies, and then when I really saw the application of it in real life I was addicted right away.
MMAWeekly.com: What do you think of the recent mainstream direction the sport has taken as compared to its beginnings?
Josh Denny: I love it. I think a lot of fight fans have a hard time where it has gone because they’re kind of nostalgic for the days of old. But I kind of understand where Dana (White) and the Fertittas wanted to take the sport, and where WME-IMG wants to take the sport, and I think it can absolutely can go there.
All the politics, all the pushing – and you hear about a lot of guys bitching about not getting promoted properly right now – and the thing I love about it is when the cage door closes, none of that matters. It all comes down who’s the baddest (expletive) in the cage that day. I think that’s what I love about the sport, and that’s one of the things that no matter what changes, that part will always stay the same.
MMAWeekly.com: How did you go from comedy to Ginormous Food on Food Network?
Josh Denny: I kind of did (comedy) alongside traveling corporate jobs for years, but then in 2013 I started focusing on it full-time. I started doing a food and comedy podcast called March of the Pigs in 2014, and that led to the production company who produces my (Food Network) show finding me. In 2015, we started developing the concept for the show.
It’s been an incredible ride. It turned out to be a hit. When we premiered in January we were one of the highest premiered shows on Food Network this year and got an immediate renewal. I just wrapped filming on season two, which is airing right now.
MMAWeekly.com: You’ve also been featured on the Unpops Podcast Network many times, including co-hosting The Darkest Hour companion podcast to the live comedy show with Adam Tod Brown. How did that all come about?
Josh Denny: Adam helped me conceive Darkest Hour, and we started running the monthly stand-up show at the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, and through the nature of Adam’s brain always working on podcast concepts, we thought we should have a Darkest Hour podcast that accompanies the show and make it more than just a West Coast thing.
It’s important that people understand the distinction between The Darkest Hour and something like Sam Tripoli’s Naughty Show. This isn’t a show where people tell fuck stories for an hour. It’s more about people taking things that are really difficult to discuss and finding ways to make comedy out of it. People can really mine things they normally wouldn’t mine for comedy and put it out that way.
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MMAWeekly.com: Last year we spoke with Danger Van Gorder about a proposed fight between he and fellow Unpops host Jeff May. Who do you have if that fight goes down?
Josh Denny: I’ve got to go with Jeff May. Jeff is a former Golden Gloves boxer. I’ve been in the gym with Jeff, and he’s got some pop with his punches. You’ve got a guy (in May) who is six-foot-four and probably 235 pounds of just muscle who has a real nasty hook and a real nasty jab, so I’ve got to go with that guy. That’s not a slight on Danger. I don’t know anything about Danger’s skills, but if we’re talking about anything that involves punching, I’ve got to put my money on Jeff.
Josh Denny: I think it’s great. A lot of people think… (continued)