Guess who's in Austin, Texas for the nerd fiesta known as SXSW? That's right: it's No Reservations/The Layover host with the most Anthony Bourdain. And yesterday he participated in a panel for the Interactive portion of the conference called Digital Debauchery With Anthony Bourdain. (He is also there to film an Austin episode for the upcoming season of No Reservations.) Below, the Quotable Bourdain from his panel — feel free to add your picks in the comments below.
1: On why Bourdain and company wrested control of the No Reservations Twitter and Facebook feeds from the Travel Channel: "It was a defensive measure, taking over the Twitter and Facebook. We didn't want them to suck. The No Res Twitter account is actually me."
2: On what gets likes and retweets: "Pain, humiliation, head injuries, that always works. That's good stuff. Ron Jeremy is always a big vote getter."
3: On the post with the biggest number of likes on the No Reservations Facebook page: "Nearly as many people liked [a photo of] fish tacos as a photo of me with Christopher Walken."
4: On the phenomenon of bloggers taking photos in restaurants: "I mean, we're food pornographers. Bloggers are fun to mock. It's a little unhealthy and the chef side of me looks at [obsessive restaurant photography] as just strange. What do they do go home touch themselves later? But we're in that business too, we benefit from that."
5: On the No Reservations food porn episodes: "Let's make the most prurient, zero societal value hour of television without any sexual reference outside of food."
6: On aesthetics: "We try to make each episode look like a stand alone film."
7: On how he determines successful television: "Here's the divide between trade television's aspirations and our aspirations. You run a television network, you care about how many people watch the show at ten on Mondays. I don't personally give a shit. I care about how many people watch at the end of a two year period, however they see it."
8: On music on the road: "We spend a lot of time in hotel lobbies listening to Filipino cover bands that can play everything Guns & Roses ever wrote note-for-note, and, you know, happy birthday in German and Cantonese."
9: On the drawbacks of the show: "We're always looking for authentic unspoiled neighborhood joints that happen to have great tacos and beer. I genuinely love those places and they make the show special, and then we put them on TV and we ruin them for all time. We get a lot of feedback like, 'Who are all these assholes clogging up my bar?' We do destroy what we love on this show."
10: On his fan mail: "I got nesting Russian dolls with my image that someone spent way too long on. Are they also building a replica Tony in their basement out of nail clippings and tin foil?"
11: On the holidays: "A tradition on this show is to make as disturbing, dark holiday special as we can."
12: On Samantha Brown, who he also added made up most of her lines during the holiday special: "Samantha Brown went full batshit crazy for us."
13: On creativity in filming: "We've shot on cell phones. There were some shots in the desert episode we terrorized snakes with a cell phone on a stick."
14: On why he was reluctant to go to Finland: "I'm not constitutionally a Scandinavian guy. I hate clean, orderly countries where everything works. I like hot, messy, passionate countries that are barely keeping their shit together."
15: On why he ended up shooting in Finland: "Our largest group of fans outside of the states are in Finland. We responded essentially to a Facebook campaign."
16: On what he did in Finland: "Sauna, have a drink, sauna, blood sausage, sauna, have a drink, sauna."
17: On his relationship with the Travel Channel: "I don't think in the history of television anyone has had much creative freedom as we have."
18: On where he wants to do a show but hasn't yet: "I'm looking to figure out a really good way to do a Philadelphia show. Haven't done it yet. I'm still looking for a hook, you know, a way in, an angle. There always has to be something, sometimes it's a nonsensical thing. But Philadelphia is an example of a city we've neglected."
19: On the internet: "It's a big bathroom wall and at the end of the day there's gonna be consensus. Someone can write 'Tony's great' right next to 'Tony's an asshole.' There will eventually be consensus."
20: On filming in Austin: "Listen, I'm not going to kiss your ass too much, but it is not hard to find good food and a good time in Austin."