The Guys Behind Chillin’ Island tell Lil Yachty to Eat His Vegetables
HBO’s Chillin’ Island, is hard to describe. Produced by the Safdie Brothers, the series is part reality TV, part magic realism—a beautifully shot foray into America’s great outdoors punctuated by meaningless conversations and endearing appearances from stars like Young Thug and Lil Yachty. Born from a radio show of the same, the series is hosted by a trio of underground New York-based rappers and comedians known for coaxing celebrities into revealing unseen sides of themselves through mundane conversations. Now that they’re in front of the camera, Alec “Despot” Reinstein, Ashok “Dap” Kondabolu, and Aleksey “Lakutis” Weintraub have become stunt-men, adapting their dead-pan humor for the screen by flipping dune buggies and munching on exotic creatures. To celebrate, the boys caught up with Lil’ Yachty over Zoom to talk about the importance of eating vegetables, and how to be fearless in the face of death.—TAYLORE SCARABELLI
LIL YACHTY: Hello?
ALEKSEY “LAKUTIS” WEINTRAUB: Hi. What’s up?
YACHTY: Just chilling on my way to pick up this chain.
ALEC “DESPOT” REINSTEIN: What kind of chain is it?
YACHTY: It’s like a construction man. A big construction man.
WEINTRAUB: Is it Bob the Builder?
REINSTEIN: I feel like we should talk about the show a little. I think that’s what they want us to talk about, but we’ll talk about other stuff, too. I’m gonna start with the one thing that I wanted to delve deeper into when we were in the swamp, which is your diet.
WEINTRAUB: Glad you brought that up.
REINSTEIN: You like chicken nuggets, but you don’t really fuck with, like, a whole chicken, only some of the parts.
YACHTY: What parts am I supposed to be eating that I don’t eat?
REINSTEIN: You say you don’t eat vegetables, right?
WEINTRAUB: You gotta eat them because of the vitamins. You’re a young man, but eventually it’s gonna catch up to you.
REINSTEIN: I’m not trying to yell at you. I wanna know what you eat. Do you like chicken sandwiches?
YACHTY: Chicken wings.
WEINTRAUB: See, that’s a whole part of the chicken.
YACHTY: Yeah. I didn’t eat wings when I went on the show. I just had wings this year.
REINSTEIN: What’d you think?
WEINTRAUB: Would you eat vegetables if we were there with you and we coached you through it?
YACHTY: Absolutely not.
REINSTEIN: Not even a fun vegetable? Broccoli is fun.
WEINTRAUB: That’s the one that people are the most scared of.
YACHTY: Broccoli stinks.
WEINTRAUB: If you were going to eat one vegetable, what would it be? Gun to your head.
YACHTY: Maybe like a small leaf.
WEINTRAUB: Which one of us do you think will be the first to die?
YACHTY: Probably Despot. Unfortunately.
REINSTEIN: Why me?
YACHTY: I feel like you live the most exciting life. Those two don’t do anything.
REINSTEIN: That might be true. I’m more of a risk taker.
YACHTY: I mean you out here thuggin’.
REINSTEIN: I’m also not very scared of dying.
YACHTY: I don’t think you should be. I’m not. I don’t think about it at all. I live in the moment.
REINSTEIN: Did you think we were gonna die when we were filming?
YACHTY: Absolutely not. I wish. Imagine how much money my family would’ve made if I died in HBO’s hands.
REINSTEIN: Do you think you ever experienced anything like death?
YACHTY: No. I also don’t wanna have a near-death experience. I either want to die or not die. I don’t wanna almost die.
REINSTEIN: What about DMT? Certain drugs are supposed to take you there. You can experience death and then just come back.
YACHTY: Yeah. But see DMT is DMT. It don’t fuckin’ hurt.
WEINTRAUB: If you had to kill one of us who would it be?
REINSTEIN: Who would be the easiest to kill?
WEINTRAUB: It’s up to him to factor all those things in which would be the easiest, which would be the most fun. Who would taste the best.
YACHTY: I would have to eat y’all?
WEINTRAUB: Yeah. One of us.
YACHTY: If I had to like to eat one of y’all Dap would probably taste the best.
ASHOK “DAP” KONDABOLU: Because I’m a seasoned Indian man.
REINSTEIN: He’s spicy. Another thing you said in the episode is that you don’t believe in modern medicine, and that you think that everyone’s living too long and overcrowding the world.
KONDABOLU: Has COVID changed your mind about modern medicine?
YACHTY: Medicine can’t treat COVID. It has to run its course through your blood cells. You’re gonna lose or you gonna win. Strong ones survive.
KONDABOLU: What does winning look like?
YACHTY: Winning looks like me.
REINSTEIN: Do you have any experience with Eastern medicine? Like with herbs and stuff like that?
YACHTY: Nah, that’s too close to vegetables. Yo guys, I’m calling it. I’m gonna have the biggest episode on the show.
REINSTEIN: I think you might be right, but you haven’t seen the other ones.
YACHTY: I haven’t, but I know I’m the funniest one out of everyone who was on there.
KONDABOLU: Do you pride yourself on your sense of humor?
YACHTY: Yeah. I’m hilarious.
WEINTRAUB: What if you don’t get the biggest show? You eat a leaf of my choosing?
KONDABOLU: How long have you known that you were an entertaining boy?
YACHTY: I found out I was really entertaining when I started doing music, and when I started doing interviews. I’m the same person I’ve always been. But then I started seeing how un-entertaining other artists are…
REINSTEIN: A lot of famous people don’t have a personality. It has become our job to extract personality from famous people. And sometimes it’s very challenging, but with you it’s easy.
WEINTRAUB: Yeah, you’re not a challenge in that regard.
REINSTEIN: It’s just hard to get you to eat vegetables.
YACHTY: Yeah. Or fruit.
REINSTEIN: Do you have a lot of prior experience in the great outdoors? Or was that all new for you?
YACHTY: I went camping one time with my dad when I was like 8 years old. I said I would never go back again.
REINSTEIN: Did you feel comfortable being in the wilderness with us?
YACHTY: Absolutely not, but we didn’t have to stay overnight.
WEINTRAUB: Are you still upset about us clowning you for liking Pink Floyd?
YACHTY: Pink Floyd is the best band of all time. I know y’all know.
KONDABOLU: They’re an acceptable band. There are worse bands than Pink Floyd.
WEINTRAUB: I don’t like them at all.
REINSTEIN: Do you think you think people from New York are as good at being in the great outdoors as people from Atlanta? Or better?
YACHTY: I wouldn’t say Atlanta but people in Georgia are better. People in New York don’t fuck with people in Georgia when it comes to survival skills.
WEINTRAUB: You guys are more hick-y. You guys are hick-y-dickies. You know what it is to survive.