What do Chrissy Teigen, Alexa Chung, Natalie Portman, Tyra Banks, Cara Delevingne, and Charlize Theron have in common? They’ve all suffered through the internet’s most rigorous challenge: Hot Ones, the show with hot questions and even hotter wings. Hosted by the unflappable Sean Evans, Hot Ones is one of YouTube’s hidden gems, and its format couldn’t be simpler or more enticing. Presented with ten chicken wings – or vegan wings, if that’s your thing – that escalate from mild to beyond scorching, celebrities sit in the proverbial hot seat as Evans grills them with some of the most well-researched interview questions you’ll find anywhere – one question per wing.
It may sound silly on the surface, but we’re willing to stand by the opinion that it’s one of the most compelling interview shows in history. So what makes it so binge-worthy? Built on a foundation of illuminating and thoughtful questions, it completely subverts the celebrity-interview format. Celebrities, who sit for weeks of press junkets while promoting their projects, are often subject to stale interview questions. Their prepared responses are cookie-cutter and polished to provide the perfect sound byte. But something radical happens when insanely spicy flavors enter the mix: all of their walls come down, all of their predisposed defenses shut off, and their carefully tailored personas are shattered.
Hot Ones shows you who celebrities really are because the pain they endure during the challenge opens them up in new, unexpected ways. By the final wing, through tears brought on by searing heat, each celebrity becomes confessional to a surprising degree. All the while, Evans (who eats the wings alongside) is cool and collected, never breaking a sweat – no matter how unpredictable his subjects become. Hot Ones has become an indispensable stop on press tours, which means some of the biggest names in Hollywood, fashion, comedy, and sports make an appearance whenever they have something to promote. And while fewer women tend to participate, those who have quickly become some of our favorite guests. Below, we bring you six can’t-miss episodes.
Natalie Portman stays composed throughout the interview, even when she has tears streaming down her face. Between gulps of almond milk, the actress dishes on her new project Eating Animals, advocating for dietary changes that can help the environment at large and discussing her obsession with rap and cooking shows.
Best quote from the episode: “I don’t say no to dares.”
We may be way off base here, but the chemistry between Evans and Tyra Banks was so intense that we were ready to ‘ship them after the episode. Although the supermodel has an intimidating on-screen persona, she is downright delightful during her Hot Ones interview, opening up a side of herself that not many people get to see. She is confident, encouraging, and quick on the uptake, with some seriously witty observations containing the kind of wisdom that reflects years of experience.
Best quote from the episode: “I need some ice cream, mama!”
Evans rarely displays vulnerability during the episodes, but sitting across from Alexa Chung – one of his heros – had him gushing. The host reveals that Chung, who launched her career as an offbeat interviewer for Popworld, helped inspire the format of the show and dubbed her “the patron saint of Hot Ones”. In the episode, she discusses the early days of her career, reflects on the hilarious questions she used to ask her subjects on Popworld, and tells the story of how Kate Moss once asked her to stop DJing at a party.
Best quote from the episode: “I’m burping up a storm!”
In promotion for her film Gringo, Charlize Theron survives the hot seat with surprising calm – in fact, she barely breaks a sweat. Credit that to her South African heritage, which she discusses with Evans when he asks her to teach him Afrikaan slang to hilarious ends. Theron also talks about her UFC obsession, her unique experience at Comic-Con promoting Atomic Blonde, and tells the fascinating (true) story about a woman who falls in love with a ferris wheel.
Best quote from the episode: “I think the hot sauce is making me smart.”
Cara Delevingne is positively magnetic as she works her way through increasingly hotter wings and increasingly difficult interview questions. In the episode, the model-actress talks about her desire to start a music label, her love of the Burning Man festival, how young boys insult her when she plays Call of Duty, and the meanings behind her many tattoos.
Best quote from the episode: “Is an aardvark an anteater?”
For years, fans have been asking for Chrissy Teigen to take the hot seat and, seeing as how she has a lot to promote lately, she was tapped to kick off the seventh season. During her interview, she defends her most unpopular food “hot takes”, gives us the inside track on surviving an awards show, teaches Evans how to cook Thai fried ribs, and confesses what happened when she was demoted on Deal or No Deal.
Best quote from the episode: “Drug-free is the way to be, guys – nuggets.”