An Interview With Michael Cera And Kieran Culkin As They Play "Mario Kart"

    We sat down with two leads of Broadway's This Is Our Youth in their dressing room and asked them questions while they competed in the Mushroom Cup. It went perhaps exactly as you'd expect.

    BuzzFeed caught up with Broadway’s newest stars, Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin, where the real-life best friends are making their debut in Kenny Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth. Before hitting the stage at the Cort Theatre, we chatted with the duo during their pre-show ritual — playing a heated game of Mario Kart — where we talked video games and life on the Great White Way, and a whole lot about Nintendo.


    The rules: Michael and Kieran must play four rounds of the Mushroom Cup — Luigi Raceway, Moo Moo Farm, Koopa Troopa Beach, and Kalimari Dessert — all while yielding questions about their show, their friendship and a slew of questions about Mario Kart 64. The equipment: the Nintendo 64 currently residing in their shared dressing room inside the Court Theater. Winner gets bragging rights, loser must answer painfully awkward "Would You Rather" questions. Let's see how they did!

    Round One: Luigi Raceway

    First things first: do you two really play Nintendo 64 every night before showtime?

    Michael Cera: Nearly.

    Then let's get to it. Who's your favorite Mario Kart character?

    Kieran Culkin: Oh, come on, Luigi.

    MC: I use Wario even though my father was Luigi.

    KC: It's true.

    Who's the most annoying character in the game?

    KC: Wario when he's being controlled by Michael.

    What's your favorite Mario Kart level?

    KC: Wario Stadium.

    MC: The most popular level around here is the Rainbow Road.

    KC: Oh yeah.

    MC: Which is really fun. But no, Wario Stadium is really great and I like the beach. I just like to soak up the rays.

    KC: You're also really good at the beach. You always win at the beach.

    MC: Thank you.

    What's the crappiest item to get in an item box?

    MC: A single banana doesn't do much good.

    KC: Also the fake item.

    So what's the best item?

    MC: Lightning is great. The ghost is great.

    KC: The star.

    MC: The star is kinda good.

    KC: The star is the best because it defends against the lightning —

    MC: — but so does the ghost. And you can take away someone's lightning.

    KC: Yeah, but the star also makes you drive faster. It's basically like having a boost for 10 seconds where you can kind of cross … like what I'm about to do right now. I'm cutting across and also impervious.

    MC: This is funny, like, we're treating this like it's a new game. We're talking about it like it's some new thing.

    KC: But! There's still debatable things [about it], like, "What's the best weapon?" and I think for sure the star. Oh, I got the lightning too, that's great. The Bowser shell is great too.

    Be honest. Do you find Princess Peach to be attractive?

    MC: Obnoxious.

    KC: Obnoxious, but attractive, yeah. I'd hit that.

    Which character would you like to have as your roommate?

    KC: Luigi.

    MC: Why?

    KC: I just think we'd get along. He's pretty cool.

    MC: I think Luigi's masturbation schedule would really conflict with yours. You'd go to the bathroom and he'd be like, "I'm in here!"

    KC: Yeah, maybe. But I'd respect it. I'd have to respect that he'd need to, um, jerk it a little. We'd come up with a system, like a bulletin board or something.

    MC: Isn't he kind of neurotic?

    KC: Yeah, you're right. Well, are we talking about who I'd be friends with or roommates with?

    MC: Roommates.

    KC: I'd be able to live in a much nicer place if I lived with Princess Peach.

    MC: I'd live with Mario. Just cause he's, like, the guy. You could be like, "I live with Mario" and people would be like [impressed].

    KC: Mario can pay the rent. He'd be obnoxious, though. He'd be like, "Use the coaster, woohoo!"

    Round 1 tally: Wario (Michael), 1st place; Luigi (Kieran) 2nd place.


    Round 2: Moo Moo Farm

    MC: We really better get some free Nintendo stuff for this.

    KC: I'd like to say for the record that Mario Kart 8 is an amazing fucking game. Have you played the Wii U version yet? You haven't?

    MC: You're livin' in the past.

    KC: I was doing this until I got that game and it made me buy a Wii U. Now I've gotten really shitty at this version because that one is so goddamn good.

    MC: My mastery of this game makes me feel like I'm a typist or something.

    Do you think your characters would have played Mario Kart if it existed in their day?

    KC: [To Michael] Oh, you would've. Warren would've.

    MC: Yeah, I would say.

    KC: I don't think Dennis would've.

    MC: You don't think he'd get really competitive with it?

    KC: It's like that thing, then if I started losing I would totally be like, "Yeah, Warren's really amazing at Mario Kart."

    MC: Yeah.

    KC: Like that fucking matters.

    MC: Yeah, take that to the bank.

    Why did you guys decide to do this play?

    MC: Why? I just really liked the play, to be honest.

    KC: I've been pressing it for like 12 years. I got to do a version of it 12 years ago and I've been wanting to do it again since. I don't exactly know why, it's just great.

    Are there any '80s bands that you still listen to?

    MC: David Bowie. Tears for Fears is great.

    KC: INXS.

    What's your favorite '80s cartoon?

    MC: The Real Ghostbusters.

    KC: Oh, that's good. Thundercats.

    MC: That's '80s?

    KC: Yeah, '87 I think or something like that.

    Favorite Brat Pack movie?

    KC: The Breakfast Club.

    MC: Am I going to hit myself with my own green shell?

    KC: Oh, that's the end?

    MC: That's the end, baby.

    KC: You motherfucker.

    MC: That's it.

    KC: I thought it was the end of the second lap.

    MC: It was the lap that counted.

    KC: Damnit.

    MC: Breakfast Club was great, Sixteen Candles is really good. Ferris Bueller is really good.

    KC: Ferris Bueller is great, that would be a close second for me.

    Round 1 tally: Wario (Michael), 1st place; Luigi (Kieran) 3rd place.


    Round 3: Koopa Troopa Beach

    What video games did you play as a kid?

    MC: Super Mario 3. Gyromite.

    KC: Gyromite's great.

    MC: Super Mario 3 I got into but —

    KC:Solomon's Key! That's a new one. I never played that growing up, you introduced me to it.

    MC: I had Solomon's Key. It's great.

    KC: I never knew it existed for regular NES. So good.

    MC: It's intense.

    KC: I grew up right in that fuckin' sweet spot of Nintendo. I was born in '82, so by the time it was a household thing I was about 6, which was perfect for when new games came out.

    MC: Duck Hunt.

    KC: Contra. Castlevania.

    MC: Ninja Turtles.

    KC: Castlevania is my favorite Nintendo game.

    M: See, Michael tends to use the sand bar when he doesn't have the boost, which, he's about to use the boost now so… Motherfucker.

    What would be in your own suitcase of important childhood toys?

    KC: The Thundercats Nintendo game.

    MC: I had some Ghostbusters.

    KC: Wrestling toys.

    MC: I had the Martian Manny, is that his name? This green guy who was fantastic. I found him on the road.

    KC: You did it without the boost! You motherfucker.

    MC: Yeah, I did it without the boost. With, without — the important thing is to pull ahead.

    KC: God, you are such an asshole.

    Round 3 tally: Wario (Michael), 1st place; Luigi (Kieran) 2nd place.


    Round 4: Kalimari Desert

    Since your characters in the play seem to, have you ever actually hung out on the Upper West Side?

    KC: I grew up on the Upper West Side.

    MC: I've been up there. Yes, I have.

    How realistic were the sets? Were your characters turning off and on the lights to the apartment and playing records or did it just look that way?

    MC: It's all a bit of movie magic.

    KC: Well, you know, the turnstile, it moves.

    The stage's New York City apartment is hyperrealistic. Have you ever lived in a one-bedroom apartment like that here?

    MC: I have not.

    KC: It looks exactly like my friend's apartment.

    MC: I had a friend that lived in a studio apartment with a pull-down bed and it was disgusting. It was the kind of the place where you rent by the month that you live in and treat it like a hotel. You've got dishes and stuff. And one time he made a pot of Dinty Moore stew and he dropped it on the carpet and and he was just went, "Eh, whatever." And it was just there for the rest of the time he lived there.

    KC: Really?

    MC: Then he just moved out. He was like, "Oh, they'll figure it out."

    Your characters in this show have many vices. If you had to pick for yourself between weed, booze, or cigarettes, which would you pick?

    KC: Definitely not cigarettes. That's immediately eliminated.

    MC: I choose weed. It's the least harmful of all three.

    KC: It is the least harmful but I like booze too much. Booze.

    MC: Oh god, the train!

    KC: Did you get hit by the train? This is, like, your level too.

    MC: It's not over.

    What one food can Michael not live without?

    KC: Hold on. I can think of this...

    MC: Dude, I've TOLD you what food I can't live without.

    KC: Oh, bacon.

    Which one of you can go longer without showering?

    KC: Michael's got some B.O.

    MC: And I have a very inactive lifestyle.

    KC: That's true. So do I, though.

    MC: It takes a lot to generate B.O. for me.

    Which one of you is more likely to break on stage?

    KC: We've done a couple times, but always evenly.

    MC: Yeah, it's [true]. We kind of keep our cool.

    KC: If one of us breaks, we both break.

    MC: If Peach takes away my perfect Grand Prix…I'm not gonna be able to stay cool.

    If you two were to do another play again, do you have any idea what it would be?

    KC: Something by Kenny Lonergan.

    MC: Yeah, that would be great. ... Wait, she pulled right ahead! Where is she? Oh, there she is.

    MC: She's dead now!

    Would you ever consider doing a musical?

    MC: Uh, no.

    KC: I don't know how to sing.

    MC: OK, now it all comes down to what Kieran gets right here.

    KC: Well, I could have turned this into something useful but this bitch just passed me so I'm going to get second place.

    MC: Awesome.

    Round 4 tally: Wario (Michael), 1st place; Luigi (Kieran) 2nd place.

    KC: Whoa, almost! You almost got me with that shell.

    MC: Really? That would have been a great finish.

    KC: You got first all four times. I got second, second, third, second.


    Final tally: Wario (Michael), 36; Luigi (Kieran) 21.

    Kieran, since you lost you're now subjected to two round of "Would You Rather." So: would you rather sweat mayonnaise or poop a softball?

    KC: Oh, poop a softball! That's easy.

    MC: No, it's not that easy. You're not really thinking about the anal stretching.

    KC: You can get really drunk, and you go to the hospital and shit out a softball...

    MC: So you can define the terms and conditions of this [game]?

    KC: OK. So I'll go to the hospital. It'll be like the worst day of my life and when my wife eventually has kids she'll be like, "You don't know what this is like!" I'll be like, "Yes I do. I shat a softball."

    MC: What about your softball-sized asshole for the rest of your life?

    Final round: Would you rather be sexually attracted to fruit or have Cheeto dust on your fingers for the rest of your life?

    Both, in unison: Sexually attracted to fruit.

    MC: It's everywhere.

    KC: Yeah, but still, when I'm alone and nobody's around I find a pomegranate...

    MC: You're not, like, uncontrollable, right? You don't have, like, I Have to Have Sex With Fruit Tourettes? Where you, like, see a banana and lose your cool.

    KC: And so what if I'm sexually attracted to fruit? If I wanna fuck a pineapple — actually, I don't know why I said a pineapple. That would be the worst.

    You can buy tickets to This Is Our Youth on Broadway here.