Yesterday, local artists Reggie White and Adrian Anchondo went viral in our hearts with their hilarious ode to Dunkin’ Donuts and Beyonce. Today, they’re talking to KQED Pop about what inspired the magical parody, how they braved the ice cold Ocean Beach waters, and what they love most about the Bay Area. Oh, and they share a genius rhyme about BART to the tune of another Beyonce jam.
KQED Pop: First off, thank you so much for proving that there is still some magic in San Francisco and giving a voice to all of us who are suffering in a long-distance relationship with Dunkin’ Donuts.
Adrian Anchondo: Haha! Thank you! There definitely is a lot of magic in the Bay Area, and some really great actors who are so committed to the art. I’m happy that I was able to get someone who always gives 110%. Reggie is an inspiration to me.
In a way, your video release is like Beyonce’s surprise album, springing up out of nowhere and changing lives. How did the idea behind “Dunkin Love” come about?
Reggie White: I first had Dunkin Donuts in 2012 when I was in New York working on a play off-off Broadway. I had heard the large legend of Dunkin, but had never had it before. I fell in love. It was like that scene in The Color Purple when Celie and Nettie run and hug…but in my mouth, with my taste buds and that donut. I’ve been cravin’ I’ve been cravin’ them ever since. I’m so happy they’re coming to the West Coast!
AA: The idea for “Dunkin Love” came to me after having a little Beyonce Visual Album viewing party at my apartment in Berkeley. I invited a few people, including Reggie, and the album had been out just long enough for Reggie to memorize every single Beyonce dance move, which he later proved when he danced in front of my apartment at 3am ’til his wallet flew out of his pocket. I had recently heard that Dunkin Donuts was coming to the West Coast, and being that I grew up in the Northeast, I knew how big of a deal that was. It’s like if In N Out came to the East Coast. I started thinking of lyrics and I called Reggie and was like, “I have an idea, and you are doing it.”
RW: He asked me if I would be down to make a Drunk in Love spoof about Dunkin Donuts, and I was like, sure…thinking he was totally bluffing. He came up with some lyrics. Still thought he was bluffing. We recorded at my friend Tal Ariel’s studio. Then I was like, “Oh, this is really going to happen.” A friend of our’s, Mike, connected us with Edwin Gonzales. We shot the video with another friend of our’s, Sarah Coykendall (her hands draw the heart around the donut at the end), and then….kaboom.
This went viral pretty instantaneously. Did you expect it?
AA: This was seriously an overnight success. I have this thing about not wanting to delete any friends on Facebook, even if we haven’t talked for years. I just feel like we meet people for a reason and, even if I don’t have the best relationship with them, I like to keep in touch. Thank the Facebook Gods that I did, because someone I met years ago in Bethlehem PA, when I used to live there, now works for Logo TV and NewNowNext.com. He showed it to his editor and the next day it posted at 5am. I didn’t wake up ’til 9am and I had all these posts on Facebook, texts, phone calls. It was insane. Reggie and I went from texting each other after every 100 views, to not being able to keep up. People were watching it by the thousands.
RW: Never in a million years would I have predicted this. I just thought this would be a thing Adrian and I would look at and laugh. I’m still in shock at all of the websites posting the video. It’s insane! I can’t even look anymore. My jaw is already unhinged. I mean, Out.com has my hairy armpits on their website. That was the first magazine I bought when I was like, “Oh, I might be gay.” And now, like 10 years later, they’re writing about this spoof my friend and I made about DONUTS. I’m literally aghast. People.com, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Elle Magazine (and NO we are not a couple; Adrian has a man!). It’s all nuts! I’m so ridiculously appreciative.
What’s the craziest exposure or response you’ve gotten so far?
RW: Nothing too crazy yet, just a couple of do I know you looks from people on the street. Some dude I went out on a couple of dates with 3 years ago Facebook messaged me and told me that my legs were insane. And last night, Adrian somehow managed to get the video played at Badlands, and people were singing along! People I didn’t even know!
AA: I think the BuzzFeed article was the craziest exposure. I could not believe we became GIF files. I was at the gym and I saw our GIFs and I just wanted to cry. Dunkin Donuts has also responded and I think they are going to send us some swag.
How did you look so fly despite Ocean Beach’s frigid waters?
RW: It was cold AS SH*T…and I wasn’t wearing a lot of clothes. But, you know, I’m a professional. You suffer for your craft. Tyra taught me to smize through anything, so I did. I’m glad there’s only one scene where you can actually see my lips quivering because I’m freezing! My feet were numb for like 8 hours after that. It was insane. But looking back, totally worth it (I mean, if I had to get my feet amputated, that would have sucked….but I’m all good).
AA: Reggie looked great despite the cold because he is a professional. And he has legs for days. You can’t really see, but the reason there is smoke around him is because me and our production assistant, Sarah, were behind him burning sage and burning our fingers. There were a few times during the shoot where some hot ashes got on Reggie. Extreme cold and extreme heat aren’t fun at the same time.
Were those really Dunkin Donuts products? If so, how did you get them?
AA: I actually bought the donuts from a great place in Berkeley (the chocolate glazed buttermilk is to die for), but the boxes are real. I had to beg my partner JC’s family in Florida and Pennsylvania to send us boxes. They of course couldn’t get them for free so they had a dozen donuts on me. So thankful to them.
Have you heard from Beyonce or at least Solange?
RW: No word from the Queen, or her sister, but I’m telling you, the minute I do hear, I’m going to wet myself. I don’t care. Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter will know that I exist, and I will soil myself. Fact.
What other fast food chains would you write an ode to?
AA: I would definitely write for In N Out. When I lived on the East Coast and would see a bumper sticker for In N Out, I would want to lick it. That is how badly I was in withdrawal. But I think for my next project I want to do something that doesn’t involve food. I have some ideas that I think people will love. I’m not actually doing this, but I came up with some lyrics for a parody of “Partition” that involves BART. “City bring down the BARTition fees, I don’t wanna have to pay for this on my knees, 45 minutes late and the tracks messed up, can’t even take it back late from the club”.
RW: I love me some Jack in the Box. I might have to write an ode to them. I love all fast food really. I eat terribly. My roommates make fun of me all of the time. My diet is fast food and Sour Patch Kids. And an occasional Kombucha to balance it all out.
RW: I’m an equity actor in the Bay, so I’m acting all over the place, when I’m not honoring Queen B! I’m in a show at Z Space now called, Hundred Days. It’s a new folk rock opera. No Beyonce covers, but the music is pretty amazing. We actually open this Saturday and run until April.
AA: When I’m not working on donut allegories, I am packing for my move down to LA. I am very sad to be leaving the Bay Area, but I hope that my ode to the Bay will serve as a nice goodbye. It will be good to go down to LA with this under my belt. I was so nervous to go down there, but maybe this will open some doors for me. I just want to keep working.
What’s the thing you love most about the Bay Area?
RW: I love everything about the Bay Area (except for BART’s scheduling and the fact that there aren’t any Dunkin Donuts around). The weather is great, the food is amazing, and I get to make a living here doing what I love!
AA: There is so much to love about the Bay Area. I love the people, the sense of community, the views, the food, the diversity and mutual respect within the city. But it is getting way too expensive to live here, and I fear that it is going to end up pushing out all the creative people that made this city so beautiful. I don’t want to leave, but I know I will be back and that it will always feel like home.
What’s next for you?
RW: Next up, I’m working on another world premiere rock opera with The Kilbanes at Berkeley Rep for their Ground Floor Summer New Works Residency.
AA: I’m acting in a hilarious web series called Masa and the Power, so I will be coming back and forth to the Bay for that. Also, my partner writes for the HBO show Looking, so luckily we might be able to spend a lot more time here now that they got another season. I think Reggie and I are going to work on another video together and with some friends very soon. It might be a little more elaborate and a little more risque, but I think people will really enjoy it. I’m excited to be going down to LA and looking for work in film. I really want that to be my focus. I always tried different areas of work, but I can’t deny the child in me who used to pretend the woods in back of his home were Jurassic Park. I have to act. I heard Jurassic World is filming this year. Maybe I can be an extra that gets stepped on by a dinosaur. Aim high, right?