Alex Crawford is a sleazebag.
The host of Portland talk show web series Sunday Night Salad is wearing an open-collared shirt, cheap gold chain and an ill-fitting maroon sports coat. He’s unshaven, donning a creepy goatee and mustache, hair slicked back with a pound of cheap pomade. His co-host has to tell Crawford he can’t call his friend’s ex-girlfriend a bitch. Shortly after a brief segment on strip club etiquette, Crawford will leer at the camera saying, “I just like to watch ’em dance, y’know?”
Crawford is Crawford—but the Portland filmmaker, who daylights as a producer at local sports radio station 1080 The Fan, isn’t quite as much of a sleazebag.
“I’m playing myself, but the whole vibe I’m trying to create is a washed-up talk show host that used to be on network television,” Crawford explains through bites of a club sandwich. “My character can never escape his flaws. He’s had multiple divorces and vague addiction issues. He has many vices, and will never regain his stardom that he alludes to but we never see.”
Launched with two four-episode seasons in 2015, Sunday Night Salad is a Portland talk show for a post-Eric Andre Show world. Crawford and his regular contributors—friends and labelmates unified under the Making New Enemies collective that serves, variously, as production company, record label and children’s book publisher—play exaggerated versions of themselves, gallivanting across Portland and its surrounds as cartoonish post-college dudes.
Season 3 of Sunday Night Salad debuted on June 4. The 20-minute first episode features an exploration of the Bayocean ghost town in Tillamook County, a former resort that eroded into the sea in the early 20th century. There’s also an interview with and performance by Portland indie band Snow Roller and a visit to Upright Brewing by the character Hank Beerchug, who quaffs full glasses of the celebrated brewery’s beers in seconds.
As with every other DIY film effort in Portland, Sunday Night Salad began as a ton of work for no money. “We did two seasons and it was really fun, but then we all had our lives, and this is actually really time-consuming,” says Crawford. “It takes a lot of time to film and edit, and it’s really just [co-producer] Dusty [Hayes] and I that are handling all the editing and all the filming.”
But the show has picked up steam this season, securing sponsorships from southeast Portland cannabis dispensary Belmont Collective and Salem’s Gilgamesh Brewing.
“Before, we paid for things out of our pockets if we needed props or decorations,” says Crawford. “We were just asking friends, ‘Hey, do you want to come over and run a camera?’ ‘Hey, will you come with to film this?’ ‘Will you hold a boom mic?’ Now, we can give them pizza and beer, which is really rad.”
Sunday Night Salad is shot in Crawford’s southeast Portland apartment in front of blanket-covered windows and cardboard cutouts of Bruce Lee and Michael Jordan. I begrudgingly attended one taping, expecting an atmosphere reminiscent of watching a high school band practice. Instead, it was a full-blown house party with about a dozen people drinking beer, helping with production, and acting as an impromptu live audience as Crawford and his co-host hammed it up in front of the camera.
That energy is reflected in the show, and serves as a welcome counterbalance to the esoteric tendencies of Portland’s DIY film community. In fact, Sunday Night Salad acts something like a bridge between Portland’s music scene and the sports-literate listeners of The Fan.
“Our viewers are half people who are in the music scene and know what’s going on with that, and half are, I don’t want to use the term ‘bros,’ but pretty bro-y kinda college student kids,” he explains. “So I feel like it’s a good way to keep it real. If my character asks a question that is offensive or dumb, it’s a question that a real viewer might have that would never get asked if I was catering to all the bands’ wants and needs.”
The future of the show is looking bright for Crawford, who hopes to tour the series across the West Coast, interviewing bands on their home turf and expanding the audience beyond Portland. “I’d love for this to be a real show on Comedy Central or Vice or something,” he says. “I’d love to take a shot at it.”
“No offense to my coworkers at the radio station or anything, but doing the Sunday Night Salad stuff is definitely the thing I’m most passionate about. If I could find a way to do this every day for the rest of my life, I definitely would.”
SEE IT: Stream Sunday Night Salad at makingnewenemies.com. New episodes release Sunday evenings.