In the midst of this week’s political apocalypse, VH1 premiered "Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party." The series’ creator, SallyAnn Salsano, reveals how she hopes the show will unite America.
Photos courtesy of VH1
Jersey Shore creator SallyAnn Salsano has produced a variety of different shows, from Lifetime's reality series Mother/Daughter Experiment to the talk show The Real, but when VH1 president Chris McCarthy took Salsano to lunch and asked what kind of show she dreamed of doing, she wanted to try something different. "How about a celebrity cooking show [with a connection to] hip hop?" Salsano recalls saying. "They go hand in hand. Food is such a big part of culture, no matter where you are."
McCarthy agreed on the spot. He allowed Salsano time to secure her dream talent, and the result is Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party. The series pairs home goods goddess Martha Stewart with rap legend Snoop Dogg for a series of potluck dinners. Guests include Seth Rogen, Wiz Khalifa, Ice Cube, Rick Ross, Ashley Graham, 50 Cent, Bella Thorne, Kathy Griffin, Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, and Keke Palmer. The odd-couple mashup appropriately premiered this week, as Americans were divided over the presidential election's contentious result. Salsano hopes the show can teach Americans how to love their neighbors, regardless of their backgrounds.
"[Considering] what's happening in this universe right now, [Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party is] a representation of how this country should be getting along," Salsano says. "Let's all love each other for who we are, and appreciate it about each other, and have a good time."
Stewart and Snoop tape the program in front of a live audience. They have required a back house kitchen to serve food for every audience member. In a Maine-themed episode, Stewart teaches Snoop how to make traditional clambake with lobsters; on pig night, she cooks an entire pig while he sticks to ribs. For pizza night, she bakes a truffles-spinach pizza. Snoop's response: "I'm keeping it real. I'm making pepperoni." Although they label their events potluck dinners, they do not required guests to bring food. (Rogen does show up with a fire extinguisher.)
Both Stewart and Snoop have viewed the show as a collaboration. Salsano says, "If I ask Martha something, she would go, 'That's okay, does Snoop want to do that?' And if I asked Snoop something, he would say, 'What did Martha say?' They have such an admiration for each other, it was unbelievable."
Neither the show's creator nor its stars could predict what would happen on each day. "[DJ Khaled's] manager texted me and was like, 'Hey, Khaled is coming tomorrow,'" Salsano recalls. "I was, like, OK, Khaled is coming tomorrow."
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If the show succeeds, Salsano believes it won't be because of food, but because viewers will see opposites learning from each other and getting along in surprising ways. "You have Martha Stewart teaching Wiz Khalifa," she says. "I would say that Martha learned just as much as Snoop learned from Martha. She was like, 'Yeah I'm going to try that'... These guys are truly a match made in heaven. They respect each other, worship each other, and learn from both sides in a way I have literally never seen before in my life, and I can tell you, it was electrifying to be around." Hopefully, watching Stewart and Snoop bond could inspire people to get along in a very divided America.
"[These] two people on paper, you would be like, 'How could they be friends?'" Salsano says. "After watching the show, [viewers] should look at everyone differently and give everyone a chance."