It's Alive! is a New York Cooking Show primarily focused on live foods and fermentation, released as part of Bon Appétit and running since October 2016. It is hosted by Bon Appétit's test kitchen manager (until he started focusing primarily on videos), the upbeat and scatterbrained Brad Leone, with cameraman and video producer Vincent "Vinny/Vin/Vincenzo" Cross and later Matt "Hunzi" Hunziker serving as silent POV, students, and caption snarkers. Matt builds on the silliness with some truly bizarre editing, clipart and visual effects.
The series has gained popularity thanks to the combination of Brad's natural humor and charisma with Vinny and Matt's often silly and surreal production. They have also collaborated with the likes of Sean Evans of Hot Ones and Andrew Rea of Binging with Babish.
A more restrained Spin-Off, It's Alive: Goin' Places, began in early 2019 with Brad and crew visiting various food-related businesses/entities across the country (four episodes in Texas constituted Season 1, four in Hawaii for Season 2, and a two-part Season 3 collaborating with Jimmy DiResta). Vinny left Bon Appetit shortly after, and he's now cameraman and editor for Babish, though he still worked on most of season 3 due to how long episodes take to make. Hunzi then took over on camera.
Watch the show here.
Not to be confused with the film or the Canadian children's variety show.
This series provides examples of:
- April Fools' Day: Claire took over for an episode on April 3, 2020 as part of a series of these. She has a great time cooking Crêpes Suzette, holding a baby, and stealing sourdough starter from Brad while he's out in Los Angeles. Brad does come back later in the video to try the dish, jinxes Claire as she tries to flip the crêpes, and says his show sucks.
- American Accents: Besides Brad's Joiseyese, the Goin' Places custom grill two-parter features metalworking Youtuber Jimmy DiResta's (remarkably similar) (slightly Upstate) New York accent.Hunzi: "How do you say 'water'?"
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Brad gets easily distracted by noises in the test kitchen, many of which the viewer doesn't hear. Vinny and Matt will play with this by inserting random sound effects and/or clipart (breaking glass, an earthquake, a cat, a pickle playing drums) in the direction that Brad is looking.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
- Brad may be scatterbrained and presented in the goofiest light by the show, but he went to culinary school, is knowledgeable about food and fermentation, and knows what he's doing.
- Amiel Stanek, editor of Bon Appetit's Basically site, occasionally shows up to be weird, dress like a Russian pimp, and give Brad's goofiness a run for its money. But like Brad, he knows his food.
- The Cameo: Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith appears out of nowhere at the end of the Crabbing episode to drop a sweet fish rap and confuses the hell out of Vinny.
- Canada, Eh?: The episodes with Matty Matheson (the fish tacos episode and the noodling for catfish two-parter) drop multiple references to how Canadian Matheson is. When he makes a surprise visit in the Fermented Popcorn Seasoning episode, Hunzi plays "O Canada" over the video and Matty's subtitle is "Notable Canadian".
- Caption Humor: Alongside showing important information, special emphasis is made on Brad's accent or phumphering, fact-checking Brad matter-of-factly, or inserting Vinny and Hunzi's own sarcastic responses to Brad via the captions.Wourder
- Catchphrase: So many that Season 3 began a "Brad Leone Bingo" Running Gag.
- As is the case with most videos on the channel, Brad closes out each video with "Bon Appétit" or "Bon Appétit, baby."
- "Who's better'n us, Vinny?"note
- When Brad tastes his dish, sometimes he'll remark, "I've paid for worse."
- Brad sometimes calls ingredients he's working with "big boys" and/or "bad boys". All dogs, meanwhile, are "good boys/good girls".
- Elias Cairo says "You can't teach that" several times in the pheasant episodes. When Brad says it himself in the empanadas episode, Elias' face pops up.
- Cold Open: Each episode opens with Brad in the middle of cooking, goofing off, or making a mistake before the title kicks in. Sometimes results in a Non Sequitur.
- Cooking Show: The show is primarily based around Brad cooking or teaching about live foods, fermentation, and probiotics, though they often branch out to other subjects like campfire cooking or industry field trips.
- First We Feast's Sean Evans and Binging with Babish's Andrew Rea have made guest appearances, with Brad and Vinny also appearing on their channels.
- In "Brad and Claire Make Doughnuts", the first two parts are being filmed at the same time as the Starbursts episode of Claire's show Gourmet Makes. Her fatigue from making Starbursts greatly affects her mood the whole time.
- Cuteness Proximity: In the field trip episodes, Brad always stops what he's doing to bring attention to any dogs that (inevitably) show up. In "Brad makes Chocolate in Ecuador", he has to stop opening cacao pods when the family's puppy (which he names "Toby Goofy") walks on-frame.
- Documentary: The travel episodes often take this form, with Brad talking to an industry professional about their job and product while Brad helps them with their work. The Spin-Off, It's Alive: Goin' Places, is based primarily around the travel documentary aspect.
- Funny Background Event: While Brad and Gaby do the intro for the empanadas episode, Chris can be seen dancing and pretending to sing into his tongs. Right as the intro finishes, Hunzi rewinds the video and zooms in on Chris, adding in a rock song and the silhouette of a cheering crowd.
- The Ghost:
- Vinny generally tries not to be seen or heard, merely acting as the audience's POV and Brad's silent student. Subverted after he is finally heard at the end of the "Camping Outtakes" video, and he makes a couple vocal wisecracks in the crab episodes; he still keeps out of the way, but he's more visible/audible from thereon.
- Subverted with Hunzi, who was initially not clearly credited with editing anywhere and wasn't involved in filming. He began appearing in other Bon Appétit videos like Gourmet Makes before he took over on camera in season 3, and so now he is more likely to show himself.
- Hilarious Outtakes: "Brad Makes Mistakes", outtakes from the camping miniseries with Brad goofing off, goofing up, making weird offhand comments, and angrily assembling a tent.
- Hypocritical Humor: Whenever Brad is distracted and goofing off, expect him to jump back into presenting with "Alright, Vinny, enough fooling around!"
- Joisey: Brad's upbringing in Sussex County gets brought up a lot (particularly how much it differs from the urban and suburban parts of the state), especially in the more outdoorsy episodes, and his far-North Jersey accentnote is practically a co-star ("wourder").
- Malaproper: Brad's a chronic word mixer. Greatest hits include "This ain't rocket surgery", "upsize down" (upside down), "basket hound" (basset hound), "suffrage" (suffering), "I've made a couple altercations" (alterations), among others."English has never been my strongest language."
Alternatively: "I don't speak that well English."
- The Nicknamer: Brad likes to play with Vincent's name: Vinny, Vin, Vincenzo, Vinny bo Binny. He mentions in the Koji episode that he only just learned that he's the only person who calls him "Vinny". He also starts calling Binging with Babish's Andrew Rea "Babby" to Andrew's approval, he tries to call Matty Matheson "Matters" to less enthusiasm, and Matt Hunziker gets "Hunzi" and "Hunzano". Brad's nicknames also tend to stick with other people: "Vinny", "Babby" and "Hunzi" come to be routinely referred to as such by other Bon Appétit cooks and even outside the show.
- While filming from home during the 2020 Global Pandemic, Brad decides to name his tripod Stiff Steve
- Precious Puppy:
Vinny: "Would you take care of it?"
- Brad gets completely distracted by a tiny puppy, Toby Goofy, in "Brad Makes Chocolate in Ecuador." Whenever Brad's container of cocoa powder comes out, a reverent flashback to Toby tends to follow.
- Vinny gets distracted by dogs while filming in "Brad Explores an Oyster Farm."
- Brad is once again distracted by a dog in "Brad Cooks Crabs in Alaska." He then excitedly pitches the idea of him and Vinny getting an It's Alive dog.
- All episodes featuring Sohla during the 2020 Global Pandemic, have also featured her dogs, Clementine and Vito. In fact, in Brad makes Garlic Ginger Paste theres a section called I was told there will be dogs
- Running Gag:
(in Brad and Claire Make Doughnuts Part 1: The Beginning, re: the texture of the failed dough)Claire: "What happened? It looks like skin! What did you do?"
- Brad's accent, pronunciation and fumbling with his thoughts are transcribed in the captions.
- Brad gets easily distracted by sounds and motion in the kitchen. When it happens, expect a piece of clipart or animation and a sound effect to be added in to make it sillier.
- Several sound effects are recurring, including glass breaking and That Poor Cat when Brad closes a door, sleigh bells when he shakes a container, smashing unsuspecting flies, and train whistles when he mentions the Fermentation Station.
- "Brad Leone Bingo" starts appearing in Season 3, both as a running gag and to keep track of said gags.
- Brad has a habit of referencing Ed Gein when referring to skin or skin-like textures.
Brad: "I Gein'd it."
- If thing are getting a bit physically rough or someone takes a minor bump/injury it's likely an HP bar will pop up for that person and decrease a bit.
- Brad himself makes fun of his unintelligible tendencies sometimes, saying "English isn't my strongest language." He also jokes in the pottery episode of Goin' Places that he still doesn't know why people watch the show.
- While discussing how male bees don't do much in the "Brad Makes Honey" episode, a caption pops up saying "Uselessness is a trait males possess in many species."
- Smash Cut: A favorite humorous editing technique, often disrupting Brad before he goes on a long tangent or simply in the middle of a string of gibberish.
- Special Guest: Along with the crossovers with Sean Evans and Andrew Rea, celebrity cooks Matty Matheson and Samin Nosrat have also appeared on the show.
- Spin-Off: It's Alive: Goin' Places, a travel series made for the Bon Appétit streaming app that is much more restrained in presentation but no less full of Brad.
- Surreal Humor: Sound effects, animations, visual effects, and clipart are inserted into Brad's actions and instructions at any place they might be funny; the more nonsensical the situation it creates, the better. For example, during the Kimchi episode, Brad says hello to staff photographer Alex Lau offscreen. The editing inserts a tiny Lau walking onscreen and eating, saying hello back, and walking back out. A similar joke happens with a small animated T-Rex in the jerky episode, to whom Brad 'says', "How's it goin'? Great work yesterday."
- Trademark Favorite Food: Brad has a special fondness for garlic, dedicating multiple episodes to it and always being sure to tout the medicinal benefits of allicin ("I believe.")Brad (serving Amiel a bowl of miso soup): "If you want, you can drop some garlic in there too."
Amiel (laughing): "You say that about everything!"
- The Unintelligible: Brad will occasionally slip into this when his accent and Motor Mouth tendencies clash. It'll often sound like he's speaking Simlish. Usually coincides with a comedic Smash Cut."Buh deh ugh weddle feh whuh dehb-" -Brad Makes Sauerkraut"We'll let this go til Monday. Icky goo ickeh beh ike cugh ickeh-" -Brad Makes Kimchi"It's just uhhh y'know it's a it's within the its-" -Brad Makes Fermented Garlic Honey"Yo g'ho, Vin, you want me to act leig ayge yaik guhh. Likeweactlike you're not here yet?" -Brad Cooks Crabs in Alaska (part 2)