I made Seth Rogen and Al Madrigal eat bagels against their will
Last week, I attended the Just For Laughs comedy festival. Even though it's in Canada, it's the largest international comedy festival in the world. I brought bagels.
The idea? Attempt to solve the eternal "what's better?" debate by making comedians eat New York bagels, and also their sweeter hometown cousin, Montreal bagels. Luckily bagels from the JFK Airport Au Bon Pain still count as New York bagels. I think.
I arrive at the terminal an hour early, buy my bag of bagels, and pass out on a chair Weekend at Bernie’s-style with my coolest shades on. As soon as I do, I’m woken up by a guy tripping over my bulky bag of bread-rings. “So sorry,” he murmurs. Um... it’s Seth Rogen. I foolishly don't give him a bagel.
OK, I'm in Montreal now. First victim: The Daily Show's Al Madrigal.
Al had never tried a Montreal bagel, so by default, he was pro-New York bagel. He also happened to be very hungry.
Thrillist: "You want a bagel? I have a few in my bag."
Al Madrigal: "Absolutely, I’m starving."
I immediately regret offering him the bagel, because it’s definitely stale from sitting in my bag for six hours.
AM: "It’s a little flat, looks like somebody sat on it. And this is how it came? It’s not because it was in your bag?"
T: "... No."
AM: "I don’t like how you whipped it out... seems like it came out of nowhere. Where did you get it?"
T: "I’m afraid you’ll judge me if I tell you where it’s from."
AM: "Is this a good bagel place that you got this from?"
T: "It’s from Au Bon Pain."
AM: "Aren’t all their bagels the same?"
T: "Well, I was already at the airport when I decided I wanted bagels so I had no choice."
AM: "It doesn’t taste very fresh."
T: "It’s from this morning, that doesn’t count as fresh? At least it’s not from yesterday."
AM: "Well, I’m eating it... I don’t mind it. It was probably decent when you bought it. You go to a lot of places and they don’t have good Mexican food and you’re like, 'Oh shit I could open up a burrito place, San Francisco style.' You’d have no competition. What I see is an opportunity for someone who’s really into bagels... you know how they do them with salt water and those are really good. Someone could come up with some really authentic bagels and make a name for themselves in Montreal."
It is now apparent that Al is not familiar with Montreal bagels.
T: "Is there any place in New York that you like to get bagels?"
AM: "I was very spoiled because when I was at The Daily Show, we would have them delivered from H & H Bagels or Pick a Bagel every single morning. They were hot, fresh, New York bagels."
Given that Al Madrigal endured an insultingly stale bagel from my backpack, I bought some fresh Montreal bagels, excited that I’d finally have something good to offer. Then I ran into Bill Burr.
Thrillist: "Have you tried a Montreal bagel?"
Bill Burr: "I’m not a bagel person."
T: "I have some Montreal bagels with me. Want to try one?"
BB: "I don’t know shit about bagels. I’d try something else though."
I decide not to offer him the open bag of Combos I had in my possession.
T: "Are there other foods in Canada that you like?"
BB: "A lot of people from the States make it seem like it’s all maple syrup and hockey up here. But the cuisine here is incredible. Some of the best seafood I’ve ever had was out in the Maritime. Can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I keep a list of places to eat and places to go from all the places I tour."
(pulls out his phone)
BB: "Denmark, France, Rome, London, Oslo..."
T: "Wow, this is an impressive list."
BB: "Yeah because I’m not gonna remember some of the names of these places so I write 'em down. Food is obviously a very comforting thing. There’s more here on the list... Primanti’s in Pittsburgh is famous, it’s awesome. For Dallas I’ve got a list of where to get vegan food and a place to shoot machine guns (laughs)."
That didn't go so well. Next up: Jim Norton.
Thrillist: "So, Montreal or New York bagels?"
Jim Norton: "You know, I’ve never noticed a location difference. I like an everything bagel but I don’t eat them anymore because of the carbs."
T: "Did you ever try poutine before you stopped eating carbs?"
JM: "What is that?"
T: "It’s French fries with gravy and cheese."
JM: "No, I haven’t. It sounds like a sexual euphemism though. Poutine, I like that."
T: "So it appeals to you?"
JM: "Now that I found out what it was, it does not. You should’ve just left it at poutine. I would’ve sought it out."
On the eve of Just For Laughs' annual awards show, I hit the red carpet. Getting a celebrity’s attention while surrounded by aggressive reporters would be tough, but I had the greatest bargaining chip of all: bagels. Montreal variety this time.
Thrillist: "Andy Samberg, over here! Which do you prefer: Montreal or New York bagels?"
Andy Samberg: "I’ve never had a Montreal bagel, but I’m gonna have to try one before I leave."
T: "I have some Montreal bagels in my bag. You want one?"
AS: "I’m going to say with zero embarrassment, I don’t want to eat a bagel from your bag."
You heard it here first, folks: Andy Samberg does not accept bagels from strangers.
Thrillist: "Yesterday at the airport, I fell asleep and woke up to you tripping over my foot. How bad do you feel about waking me up?"
Seth Rogen: "Oh yeah, I do remember that! I feel a little bad, but maybe I helped you catch the flight (laughs)."
T: "Good point. Thank you. Since you're Canadian, are you partial to Montreal bagels over New York bagels?"
SR: "I’m gonna say Montreal bagels. They’re a little bizarre when you first see them, but they’re really tasty. You don’t even need cream cheese on them. You can eat them plain."
T: "I actually have some Montreal bagels right here. Would you like one?"
SR: "Sure, why not?"
You heard it here first, folks: Seth Rogen does take bagels from strangers!
Anita Flores is the two-time raffle-winning recipient of an iPod mini and a 25% off coupon to Bertucci’s. Follow her on Twitter: @anitajewtina.