VICE Is Doing It Live

A new two-hour variety show, aptly named 'VICE LIVE,' premieres on VICELAND on Monday, February 25.

by Alex Norcia
Feb 25 2019, 1:35pm

Photo by Piotr Sikora

It seemed to happen overnight—the lobby of VICE's Brooklyn headquarters transformed into a production studio; a third-floor conference room, its windows covered in black shades, turned into a control center. Advertisements of a goldfish in a blender started appearing on the walls of subway platforms. At night, after the regular office hours had ended, a security guard manned a foldable table next to the front door, anticipating the audience that would soon come to watch VICELAND's newest foray into television. Rehearsals had begun.

Now, it's almost here.

VICE LIVE—a two-hour live variety show that will run Monday through Thursday, from 9 to 11 PM EST—premieres on Monday, February 25. Details, even for those inside the building, have been relatively scarce.

"Our audience lives in the world of very live, and instant, gratification,” Guy Slattery, the president of VICELAND, told Variety in January. "Being live is also a bit more dangerous and makes us a bit more vulnerable. People are going to see things happening in real time. They’ll be watching the show while we’re making the show."

It'll be a makeshift yet ambitious hodgepodge, something akin to The Chris Gethard Show, said Zack Fox, an Atlanta-raised musician, designer, and standup hybrid who is one of the four hosts.

"I hope this will be a platform to feature people who might not get to be on other late-night shows," said Sandy Honig, another host and co-creator of the sketch comedy group the Three Busy Debras. "Like, stand-ups you won't see on Fallon or whatever."

Besides Fox and Honig, there's Marie Faustin, a New York City–based actress, and Fat Tony, a well-known alt-rapper from Houston's Third Ward. (He is neither fat nor the character from The Simpsons.)

"I've never done TV before," Fat Tony told me when we sat down to chat about the upcoming launch. "The hosts, we've been trying to hang out a lot—on the set, and off."

VICE LIVE has been promised to be reflective of the messy culture around us, with quick takes on food, fashion, sex, drugs, music—you get the idea. There will be taped bits and segments from all across the world. And, perhaps most notably, it'll be ever-changing.

"This isn't going to be the final product... I do the same thing with my music, you know?" Fat Tony said. "Songs can get cut, or beats can change. Everything, for me, has to be a little TBD. It allows room for growth."

The show arrives in the wake of Desus and Mero, the fast-talking Bronx duo, leaving VICELAND for Showtime and the end of VICE's weekly news show on HBO. So I asked Fat Tony and Fox if they felt any added pressure. Both were relatively laissez-faire about it, with Fat Tony saying that he, and everybody else on staff, was excited. He mainly spoke about the healthy, ongoing dialogue between the network and the four hosts—that it has been a respectful back and forth. (They even let him bring on two of his own stylist friends.)

"At the start of the day, they tell us what to do," he said. "At the end end of the day, we're telling them what we want to do."

He continued, "This isn't going to be generic bullshit. It's going to be like nothing you've ever seen before."

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