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Alton Brown live at Cobb Energy Centre for 10 years of ‘Good Eats’

Alton Brown arrived on stage Saturday in a suit jacket and tie, unusually formal for the “Good Eats” host. But he kept to signature sneakers and jeans below the waist.

And he was holding a paper mache chicken.

Brown, for his 10th anniversary “Good Eats” live shows at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, maintained his cerebral, scientific demeanor while throwing around plenty of silly — just like the television program that airs every night on Food Network.

He brought in fellow Food Network star Ted Allen to interview him, like “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” He showed best-of clips from his shows, including him getting bonked in the head many times, Marx Brothers style. (”I was raised on Road Runner and Bugs Bunny. I grew up in a generation where hitting was still fun!”) He did a faux game show facing off against “Good Eats” super fans.

Brown was not allowed to cook anything on the stage, but he showed off his inner McGyver, creating a carbonated fruit shake using a fire extinguisher and a water cooler. It got messy. (He handed out ponchos for the front rows a la Gallagher.)

“Ten years!” he said to the packed house during the 2 p.m. show. [He taped two shows, which will be spliced together for a TV special on the cable network next month.] “Lots of brine under the bridge! And a whole decade of gainful employment!”

Props from old shows were strewn about the stage: an oversized carrot here, a crypt there. He had a live band led by Patrick Belden, who does all the sound effects and music on the show’s 238 episodes (and running.)

Allen, with tongue in cheek, noted: “It’s hard to make a TV show, let alone get a show on the air anywhere to persist. Is that the right word? To belabor is an enormous achievement.”

Brown scripts every show. (I watched him work on one for a feature in 2006.) Each episode is artfully and carefully constructed. “Do you have control issues?” Allen asked.

“No,” Brown said. “I just like to be handy and do everything myself!”

Brown told the crowd he came up with the concept of “Good Eats” years before it started. He found most food shows boring. So he wanted to combine Julia Child, Mr. Wizard and Monty Python. With “Good Eats,” mission accomplished.

“Laughing brains are more absorbent,” Brown explained. “You can teach people who are laughing and enjoying themselves and not drooling at their desk. If they laugh, they learn more.”

A sampling of his favorite dishes he made on the show: monkey bread (”No actual monkey is in the bread,” he noted helpfully), parsnip chips, beef jerky, chocolate lava muffins (the audience “oohed” when a photo of those showed up) and sweet potato waffles (with fried chicken. mmm….)

Brown gabbed about his use of pop culture references in the show, be it “Men in Black,” “Star Trek,” “Jaws” or classic fables and nursery rhymes. “It cuts down on writing time,” he joked. More seriously, he noted, “it’s a short cut. It’s a connecting point.”

32 comments Add your comment

jarvis

August 30th, 2009
5:56 pm

He seems amazingly likeable on Good Eats to be such a unlikeable ba$tard in person.

moses whitecotton

August 30th, 2009
6:32 pm

I was at the 2:00PM show, I don’t understand why I had to pay $50 to watch a show being taped that will be shown on television and will be a money maker for Alton. I have been to other television show tapings and the tickets were all FREE. Also if I am correct and the pancake cooking really didnt happen in real time, and the game show was rigged and the video of Alton in the vomiterium wasnt real, it seems like quite a lot of deception.

Kathiesl

August 30th, 2009
10:18 pm

Wow – sour grapes?

finally

August 30th, 2009
10:28 pm

I was at the 7pm show and it was quite contrived and rehearsed. Sad, we’d like to see the “real” side of all the show’s folks. It just went on too long, the game show part was dull and boring. I agree, it wasn’t worth the 50 dollar ticket price, 25 would have been fair, my husband wanted a T shirt, but they didn’t have any for sale, they were selling aprons, which he wouldn’t be caught dead in-if they wanted to make some cash, sell shirts. Overall, it was an odd event.

nadine.w

August 30th, 2009
10:40 pm

It was so fun to see Alton Brown live!! :) REAL FANS enjoyed the show!!!!

Lauren

August 30th, 2009
11:07 pm

Gee, I’d thought that despite wrestling being aired on TV as well that fans paid to BE THERE, or am I mistaken?

Very few live shows nowadays are free. This was a Live Event first & foremost, NOT a “regular taping.” Yes, it was recording to be shown IN PARTS on Food Network.

I wish I could’ve been there for the live show. I certainly would’ve appreciated it more. I can only hope that maybe the recordings will be available for purchase some day in the not-so-distant future. :)

Firehouse Chef

August 30th, 2009
11:08 pm

Glad I did not go. The last thing I would want to hear is a good man being bashed by his so called fans in person. For shame.

Gator Mommy

August 30th, 2009
11:33 pm

My husband is a HUGE AB fan. I bought him tickets for our anniversary. We went to the 2 p.m. show. My only real disappointment was that I was expecting a little more food focus. I DID learn, however, that I CAN show my daughter’s class how to make “Dippin’ Dots” with the CO2 cannister. Bottom line–my husband had a blast, and I learned something. That made it worth every penny.

AB Fan

August 30th, 2009
11:47 pm

I think some are forgetting that this was a live show to celebrate the anniversary of Good Eats. And it was extra special because the actual show does not include a live audience. There was some food focus. But it was all about the Good Eats show itself. And it seems folks are forgetting that AB has a drama background from UGA. So it was no surprise to us that the event seemed a bit too rehearsed and staged. I think the whole point was to entertain. Not bore us with an interview only format. Again, this was a celebration. We were at the 7pm show and loved it! Although it was a bit lengthy (and we later found out it was longer than the 2pm show), our assumption is that they needed as much usable footage to clip together for the actual 1 hour show that is to be aired on TV. We were glad to be part of the audience for the 10th anniversary show!

Dale

August 30th, 2009
11:48 pm

WOW! I have read a couple times how people think AB is unlikable in person. Let me tell you from expenece the man is very likable outside the show. When he was living in Vinings for a while, he would often come into the restaurant where I bartended and would have a Stella and an app while he worked on his laptop, brought in his producer a couple of times, was always pleasant and respectful. If you had a bad personal experience with AB, I am sorry. If you are just relaying second hand info, get a life.

Chuckles™

August 31st, 2009
12:24 am

Man! It looks like our first couple of posters had a bad time. That’s a shame.

I’ve had an opportunity or two to be around Alton in public situations, and in private.
He can come off as a bit brusque at times, because, believe it or not, he’s not always ‘on’.
He’s mentioned this when he’s been interviewed – he’s a very focused person when he’s working.
That’s why he’s such an efficient producer – and can make a living as an independent tv producer working with one of the cheapest… er.. ‘Thriftiest’ cable networks there is.

As for private – well, he’s a kind, giving, caring person with a family. And, like Neal Boortz, he loves to fly. All you have to know about Alton, you can find out from people who have had the pleasure of working for him, or with him. Ask the folks at Whole Foods (nee Harry’s) in Alpharetta. Or anyone who’s actually been on ‘Good Eats’ as a victim – I mean an actor.

:-)

Fan4Life

August 31st, 2009
1:54 am

It was a blast!!!! (no pun intended…hehe) Alton Brown is hilarious!!!!! So glad I got to see him in person!! Love him!!

Nicole

August 31st, 2009
6:55 am

My husband and I were at the 7pm show. We love good eats and have tried several of AB’s recipes. We had a WONDERFUL time at the show! It was cool to hear about some behind the scenes stuff and just learn more about AB himself. Yes the contestants for the game show were plants but it was funny anyway. I’ve never been to a taping of anything and thought it was great! I can’t wait to watch it on tv whenever it comes on.
And for all you losers who didn’t enjoy it–just stay at home in front of your loser tv and do nothing exciting with your life. The rest of us will enjoy ourselves much more without you there to drag us down!

Kitster

August 31st, 2009
7:04 am

I also went to the 7pm show – anniversary gift for my wife. The show overall was fun and worth the price of admission. It was good to be introduced to the local “ATL Players” too – even though I have been a Lucky Yates fan for a while. The trivia segment was VERY lame. Easily the worst part of the show. The rest? Alot of fun. I look forward to seeing how it is cut and packaged for the Food Network.

finally

August 31st, 2009
7:13 am

Nicole, you are entitled to your opinion as everyone else is-when something drags on and starts to bore me i.e. the game show portion, I can state my opinion and that doesn’t make me a “loser.” Also, I wasn’t born last night so when he was saying that Ted was asked to be on the show on Wednesday-like the show was so off the cuff, when clearly it wasn’t-just isn’t to my taste. My husband found out about it when we went to Beatlemania at the same venue was very excited to get to see Alton, and even he was not too thrilled with the way the show went. I find it hard to believe that our opinions and presence “brought you down,” save the drama please. Alton Brown is very entertaining and a great teacher, but I prefer his other show where he rode a motorcycle and went to different restaurants.

Patty

August 31st, 2009
7:15 am

I took my Mother. We had a great time! It was great to celebrate a Georgian success. It was a lot of fun and the trivia may have gone on a little too long. But I think it was a super show. I went and got the Sweet Potato Waffle recipe.

Lee

August 31st, 2009
7:45 am

had a great time at the cobb center! great show and loved every minute of it.

Jane

August 31st, 2009
9:20 am

We saw the 2:00 pm show and had a blast! I had never seen Good Eats, but really enjoyed Feasting on Asphalt and Waves. The show was very entertaining, and it’s for TV, so some of these folks need to chill out and just enjoy it. It was to entertain, and everyone around me was having a great time. I’ve already set my TIVO to start recording his show. Alton and his troupe are very talented and put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Bravo.

Elaine

August 31st, 2009
10:39 am

I attended the 2:00 pm show and thought it was very entertaining. The show started with incredible live music and the audience was excited and involved. AB and TA did a fantastic job. Some bits may have gone on too long but when condensed should be an incredible show. Can’t wait to see it in October. Having the show live and including his fans was special. We know that we contributed with our enthusiasm and appreciation for his talent and strangeness. I will never look at a fire extinguisher the same way again! Everyone shout on “2″…1…2…, “GOOD EATS!”

GuitarzNFood

August 31st, 2009
11:10 am

Wow I thought the shows were absolutely fantastic but certainly understand some of the negative remarks, especially the game show part but having been to several live show tapings this one was infinitely better than most. The game show in the first show seemed a little funnier until the cellist chick decided to try and steal the show, she seemed like a plant but I found out she wasn’t (I have a friend who worked on the lighting crew). They had to use the same three contestants for the second show for continuity, but the questions were different, and the cellist chick was extra annoying. The video for the vomitron had to be preshot I would think, but the thing was really spinning and AB was really in it.
I thought the chemistry between he and Ted was fantastic, there were a lot of different questions between the two shows. And of course the fire extinguisher and the birthday cake demos were really cool, I loved them using plaster blowers for the icing. Also I thought the band was freakin’ awesome and listening to them was worth my price of admission. I don’t know if any of you got there early but they started playing right when we sat down, about 10 minutes after the doors opened, and I about fell out of my seat when I heard Patrick and his band break into “Badge” by Cream and just rocked it. The range of songs they played was very interesting too, “Rocky Mountain Way” was so cool, how many live tapings have a band with a guy wailing on a talk box? Truly unique, just like I’d expect from Alton and crew. I thought the music during the fire extinguisher scene sounded like a cross between ’70’s porno and Albert Collins.
All in all I thought this was a fantastic show, and given the fact that the overwhelming majority of people stayed for the duration of both (something rare in live show tapings, even ones you pay for) I think many people would agree this was both well worth the $$ a great treat for us AB fans. Can’t wait to see how it ends up edited for TV.

barneyb

August 31st, 2009
12:18 pm

Entertaining show by a great guy. Congrats, Alton! See ya in church on Sunday!

Reds

August 31st, 2009
2:22 pm

Went at 2pm… loved it. I adore AB, and have often thought about stalking the Harry’s in Marietta to hopefully catch him taping… Haven’t done it… just have thought about it. :)

Roswell Folk

August 31st, 2009
2:36 pm

My wife and I are fans of the show but unfortunately we agreed that the event was rather boring and definitely not worth the $75 admission price. The band was the highlight for us.

Chuck

August 31st, 2009
2:41 pm

I was “in” the show and had never met Alton Brown in person before. A true gauge of how “nice” he really is, is the crew people that have been with him. Having been in the film business since 1982, I can tell you that his regular crew are an “A” list of the nicest, most mellow, and well respected people in the business. They wouldn’t still be with him if were a jerk.

Lisa

August 31st, 2009
3:14 pm

I came a long way just to see this show, and it was worth the trip and the money! Alton Brown is a super director, writer, producer and makes a fantastic show. I am so happy for his success with this show and wish him much, much more.

My mom came with me, not a hard core fan like myself, and she laughed and enjoyed the show so much.

I attended the post show event and can tell you Alton was so gracious and every bit a gentleman to the people who come to see him. He actually appreciates us fans.

Patrick

August 31st, 2009
5:36 pm

Well since Chuck chimed in I will too…first, from someone who has worked with Alton for almost 20 years now, I can tell you without hesitation that he is one of the most loyal, gracious and humble people in this business without a doubt. And no I don’t get paid extra for saying that trust me haha.

Second, you have to think about something…they had to balance a taping for a TV show AND entertaining the audience, which is an almost impossible task for a cable TV show based on cooking food in an arena that wouldn’t allow cooking food. Sure some things were hit and miss, mostly hit in my opinion, but the fact that Alton and his crew put together this show (WHILE they are taping Good Eats the TV show I might add), on an extremely limited budget and time is a monumental task and one I thought was quite successful. I saw the darn thing 5 times through in rehearsals and was still laughing at 10pm on Sat. night.
Everyone’s entitled to an opinion of course, so I thought I’d just add mine.

Christa

August 31st, 2009
5:59 pm

We were at the 2PM show, and while it was not what we were expecting, we had a great time. It was fun to get a little insight into Alton and how his mind works. Sure, you could tell it was scripted, but they were taping it for a TV show. Of course it was going to be scripted. Cello girl was pretty annoying, so I can’t imagine how bad it was at 7PM. She’s just looking for her 15 minutes of fame and hoping Alton might hire her as a GE player or something?

Alton, thanks for 10 years of great shows with a little education, too! One day I’ll be lucky and run into you at Harry’s and I’ll get to thank you in person.

PS – great job on the weight loss! You look fantastic, and I’m sure you feel great, too!

Chris Jones

August 31st, 2009
6:16 pm

My daughter took me to the 2 PM show as a belated Father’s Day present and we were both thoroughly entertained, regardless of how scripted it likely was. Even with a limited budget, remote TV production is hideously expensive, so I don’t blame them for keeping the precessings “controlled”. Surely no one thinks “Reality” TV is unscripted, so why should this be? For the 20th though, try to have it where cooking is allowed. Good job, folks!

Janie

September 1st, 2009
1:37 am

While the live show may have had some small imperfections, the EXPERIENCE of being part of the celebration was PERFECT.

vicky

September 1st, 2009
11:17 pm

I drove 13 hours from PA to GA JUST for this event! And, like Janie said, the experience was totally worth it. I’ve been a fan of Alton’s for too long to miss an event such as that! It was fun, silly and in typical AB fashion.

Troopersgal

September 3rd, 2009
8:37 am

My husband and I went to the 7 PM show. We had a blast. AB is so creative and funny. I laughed till I cried when he was reviewing his Beef Jerky episode. The walk down memory lane with all of the episodes and the photos during breaks were the highlights. 10 years! Amazing! He always keeps it fresh, entertaining, and informative. I love learning the “why” and not just the “How” that you get with other cooking shows.
It will be interesting to see the final edited version.

Linda

September 5th, 2009
10:46 am

Went to the 7 pm show…it was great!
Wish the better seats had been a bit cheaper but overall it was a fun evening. AB is a funny…funny man!