We sat down with Allan Mustafa and Hugo Chegwin – aka MC Grindah and DJ Beats from the multi-award-winning sitcom People Just Do Nothing – to hear about some of the very-special guests on their new podcast, Chattin’ Shit.
Charlie Cooper (This Country)
Mustafa and Chegwin say that People Just Do Nothing fans have always asked them for a This Country/People Just Do Nothing crossover, probably because the styles of the show – naturalistic mockumentaries both – are so alike. “Our journeys were very similar,” says Mustafa, explaining that several years before This Country aired, Cooper and his sister Daisy May had made a pilot for TV but didn’t like what they saw. “They fucking hated it,” he says, “and it took away the essence of the original show they wanted to write.” This happened to the PJDN crew as well. Both they and the Coopers “thought it was all gonna be over”.
The other reason that Mustafa and Chegwin feel an affinity with Cooper is that he does not come from a theatrical background. “There’s a lot of people in comedy that do, and it’s interesting to speak to someone who comes from a similar place as you,” says Chegwin, who had never met him before. The pair also learned that Cooper used to be a model. “Legs up to his chin,” says Mustafa.
Favourite sandwich: Because it was the first episode, Cooper didn’t realise this part of the podcast was so serious, says Mustafa, so he panicked and said beef immediately.
Tim Key (comedian)
“Tim’s amazing, man,” says Mustafa. “You’ve always got to be on your toes when you’re talking because he’ll pick you up on anything.” The pair were so awe in of the comedian, they say, that the only way they felt superior is that they are so much younger than him: “Poor bastard,” says Mustafa. He couldn’t work out how to use Zoom for 45 minutes and was near-invisible to the pair because he was sitting in front of a window. “He didn’t get the concept of not having light behind you,” says Mustafa.
Chegwin, who hadn’t met Key before, says that he lived up to the stories that Mustafa had told. “He’s really clever; way past our level,” he says. Key gave them a minute-by-minute account of the story of how he got into the Cambridge Footlights by successfully pretending to be a student there when he auditioned. And, as well as being an intellectual, Key impressed them by painting his own outdoor decking before the call.
Favourite sandwich: Although Mustafa thought that Key might be a Ploughman’s kind of a man, he surprised the pair by choosing ham and tomato. “He seems to think ham and tomato is a classic sandwich,” says Mustafa.
Clara Amfo (Radio 1 DJ)
Mustafa knew Amfo’s brothers when he was younger because she is from Kingston, as is he. He says that it was fascinating to hear how she got into being a radio presenter. “She always enjoyed listening to a wide range of eclectic music,” he says. “It meant that she had an ear for music. She was always obsessed with that.” After university, her first job was helping out at Kiss FM. “She’s just a super hard-worker. There’s no sitting around and getting a lucky break. Me and Hugo aren’t hard workers.”
One of the admirable things about Amfo, says Chegwin, is that she uses her platform to talk about topics like Black Lives Matter. “She speaks up on matters that are important to her but still has a Radio 1 job and is really good at what she does.”
Favourite sandwich: One of her favourites, Mustafa says, was tuna mayo. “You can’t go wrong” with tuna mayo, Chegwin says. “For me you can,” Mustafa replies.
The Alchemist (rapper)
The American musician helped “raise us”, says Mustafa. He reached out to them a few years ago to tell them that he liked People Just Do Nothing, and the team met him at a Red Bull studio where he was recording. “We’re huge, huge fans,” says Mustafa.
The podcast with him is one of their favourites. “He tells us his journey of how he was a rapper from Beverley Hills and how he met Cyprus Hill and what turned him towards production,” says Chegwin. During the call, the musician FaceTimed Action Bronson, the rapper and chef who is one of his collaborators, and the hosts tried to interact with him. “It was a mad situation,” says Mustafa, and very awkward because Bronson couldn’t really see the pair and Mustafa was merrily showing him the bottle of wine from which he was drinking.
Mustafa says that one of the first hip-hop albums he bought was Cyprus Hill‘s ‘Temples of Boom’. On the podcast, The Alchemist blew Mustafa’s mind by telling them that before he had his own career as a rapper he did basslines and samples on the album.
Favourite sandwich: The Alchemist’s favourite sandwich was lost from the podcast due to technical problems but the pair remember that he mentioned loving Katz’s Deli, the New York diner famous for When Harry Met Sally‘s most iconic scene.