A Failed Interview with Macaulay Culkin and Pizza Underground

Culkin and his band, Pizza Underground, will only answer questions about pizza. So we sent them a few.

macaulay culkin pizza underground

Illustration by Yiqing Shao

The realm of former child stars can claim scientists (Mayim Bialik), religious zealots (Kirk Cameron), and quixotic, leather-clad aspiring Hugh Hefners (Corey Feldman), but Macaulay Culkin is the first of his kind to stake a claim in the world of conceptual art.

After dressing like Kurt Cobain, forming an artist collective with members of the Moldy Peaches, and painting a series of Super Mario- and Seinfeld-themed works, Culkin recently turned his attentions to the music realm, singing with a pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band called the Pizza Underground.

I’ve always been fond of Mac. For most people our age, it’s impossible not to be—our formative movie-going years were defined by his presence and range. Who could be funnier as a crafty child left home alone, or more tragic as an allergy-sufferer torn from this world far too soon?

Even Mac’s current quest to reinvent himself as an art-world trickster is pretty endearing. I think I sort of get where he’s going with all this Kurt Cobain, Seinfeld, and Nintendo stuff; he’s fated to be remembered for his role in a ’90s comedy, so why shouldn’t he make weird art about the weird era in which he’ll be forever trapped? To me, the Pizza Underground seems like a paean to an ’80s childhood and a charming middle finger to the rockist shibboleth that the Velvet Underground changed everything.

There’s a chance, of course, that I’m overthinking things, so when I heard the Pizza Underground was playing Boston, I jumped at the chance to find out. I emailed Mac’s publicist to request an interview and received a most puzzling response:

Dear Eugenia
Thank you for your correspondence.

Macaulay Culkin does not participate in solo interviews concerning The Pizza Underground. As you know, there are five band members all equally important which we greatly respect.

If you would like to put through 5 – 7 questions via email (pizza-themed of course) one of the band members will answer on behalf of the group. We will provide you with a portrait and bio also.

Please let me know if this would be of interest, but if not we understand. In addition, we will not be able to provide you with a press pass for the performance, but if you do attend the show at Church, we hope you enjoy it.

Thank you again

Nobody likes email interviews; they’re typically stilted and boring and super lame. Usually, the only time anyone will go near them is if the subject is so infinitely fascinating that even their dinkiest thoughts will enthrall readers happy to read something, anything uttered by the white-hot object of their fascination.

Macaulay Culkin hasn’t made a film anyone paid attention to since Party Monster—it came out 10 years ago and sucked donkey balls. He is now participating in a very silly musical act that is only notable for his (fading) celebrity and moderately amusing juxtaposition of a revered rock band and a foodstuff.

What does it mean for such a demi-celebrity to tell a reporter that their very silly project—one completely unrelated to the thing for which he is famous—has so much artistic integrity that he cannot be interviewed about it lest his ever-dimming star power overshadow the very real, very meaningful art he is creating right at this very second? Said celebrity conveys that he is astoundingly self-important, engaged in a tongue-in-cheek performance art project that satirizes the notion of self-importance, on drugs, couldn’t care less, or an unholy combination of all of the above.

But whatever—it’s just a dumb interview about a dumb pizza band, right? I decided to play along and emailed his publicist some pizza questions.


… Boston Magazine will publish the interview online with the show details if the band answers the following questions:

If you were a very large (but, admittedly, very dried-out) piece of sausage on top of a mediocre pizza surrounded by much smaller pieces of sausage hoping to receive some of your reflected glory, would you do interviews or make journalists email the pizza as a collective?

If drugs were pizza, what toppings would they have?

If you had a choice between staying relevant forever and never eating a slice of pizza again or being a has-been and eating all the pizza you want, which would you choose?

If a lady pizza married a man pizza and had a pizza baby, should they put the pizza baby in showbiz and take all his money?

If you fell in love with a gentle, pre-adolescent pizza that died from a bee sting, how would you grieve?

Has pizza ever slept with Lindsay Lohan?

If you wanted to have some little boys over for a slumber party at the Neverland Ranch, would you order pizza?

In response, Mac’s publicist asked me to call her. What she thinks of me is strictly off the record, but suffice to say, she declined my interview request. What size pizza goes best with disappointment? Is rejection more like sausage or pepperoni? I’ll never tell.