There’s a special phenomenon that happens in marketing when a brand name becomes so ubiquitous that it literally transcends from brand name to noun or verb. Kleenex for example. That’s a brand, but it’s used to refer to any kind of facial tissue. Xerox is a brand of photocopy machine. That’s just the word for photocopying now. This phenomenon is known as a proprietary eponym.
These days it’s pretty much impossible to disassociate any kind of home gardening, cooking, décor, crafts, or holiday preparation from the omni-present influence of the Martha Stewart’s empire. “Home improvement” and Martha Stewart have pretty much become synonyms. And while this media maven’s name hasn’t technically become a proprietary eponym in pop culture (yet), we’re not a far cry from hearing mom say, “Don’t forget to Martha Stewart your bedroom before Uncle Jeff gets here.”
All in all, I think it’s safe to say that no one person or figure has had more of an all-encompassing, far-reaching, pervasive influence on homemaking, entertaining and cooking than Martha Stewart. And there’s no debate as to why. She’s been a household name since the 80’s and has only grown since. She’s now an Emmy-nominated chef, TV personality, business magnate, author, producer, lifestyle guru, magazine publisher, and now an actor. Because of all of this, New York Magazine hailed her “the definitive American woman of our time.”
So when we found out that that we were getting a ton of content from some of Martha’s most popular titles of the last few decades, it’d be an understatement to say that we were stoked. Hulu is exceedingly proud to host what will soon become the one-stop shop for all things Martha—everything from cooking, gardening, home entertaining, design, holidays to DIY.
And really, Martha isn’t that different from us here at Hulu. At the end of the day, we have one very crucial thing in common with her: We’re both extremely passionate about what we do. Martha’s passionate about home entertaining, cooking, and design, and we’re passionate about great TV. And we think that’s a good thing.
Thinking we’re kindred spirits and all, Hulu Associate Editor Ben Collins and I sat down to talk with Martha about her favorite dish, her favorite talk show on which to dish, and anything else pertaining to dishes in general.
Brooke Citron: So, we’re seriously excited to get your content on Hulu. Your shows are beloved by many different audiences, and have been for a long time. Now we have one of the greatest culinary, home-design, and business minds of our time, so it makes us look really, really good. So what is it about Hulu that got you excited to partner with us?
Martha Stewart: Well our company is focused on making our how-to content available across a wide variety of platforms and Hulu makes it very easy, simplifies the process so that people can access all kinds of video content, equally in one place. And I think that’s very important because there’s so much to choose from and it’s very confusing.
And we have a very, very big library. More than 15,000 how to videos, and those videos pertain to everything about lifestyle, home-keeping, cooking, entertaining, weddings, gardening, collecting, all the holidays, Halloween, Christmas, Easter. So we can easily categorize them into subject matter and they can then be hopefully, easily found on Hulu.
Ben Collins: I went through your stuff and I watched a couple of episodes and they were amazing with your guests, I thought your guests were incredible.
Martha: Yeah, I didn’t even mention the guests, they’re so much fun.
Ben: I watched the Jimmy Fallon episode and the Zac Braff episode. They were both hilarious, everybody was very well put together.
Martha: Oh yeah, Zac Braff, wasn’t he cute?
Ben: He was adorable. I want a pocket-sized version of him. So who was your favorite guest over the last couple of years to cook with and be around?
Martha: Jeff Bridges was amazing at making [pottery], he taught me how he makes pottery. And I have two pieces that I made with him, in my home, people think they are from the finest Japanese potter in the world. And they’re just things I made on the show with him in six minutes. It’s incredible. I’ll never forget that segment. And Russell Crowe dressing a turkey with me. He was extremely funny and extremely talented, and he really knows how to cook. His mother was a caterer.
Ben: Oh, I had no idea.
Martha: And Puff Daddy is fun. He’s a good guest. Who else do I love? I really like my male guests. Don’t tell the females. I really like my male guests, most of them have lots to say.
Ben: I assume it’s because the bar is so low, and they’re probably just really excited to show you that they can actually do stuff with their hands—that they can actually cook.
Brooke: Yeah, It’s all that repressed male energy, waiting to express itself in the kitchen.
Martha: Oh it’s so great. And you know some women can’t do anything!
Brooke: I’m one of them. I can’t do anything.
Martha: I don’t think I’ve had a male guest on that can’t do anything. Most of them can do something. Even though they might be slightly incompetent, some of the guys, you know, they really try.
Brooke: Men will try to take on any challenge, that’s true.
Ben: You should have me on the show, then. I can definitely disprove that for you.
Martha: Oh, and the comics. I love the comics too. I love Jimmy Fallon, and I love Conan O’Brien, and I love David (Letterman). David has never come on my show. He’s such a stick in the mud. He just refused to come, he doesn’t go on anybody’s show. But he did do a video for me once!
Ben: Well he loves you. When you go on his show, you can tell immediately if he loves somebody, and you are one of those people.
Martha: He lets me throw, you know, stuff at him and dirty his suit. He doesn’t mind that.
Brooke: That’s a good man.
Martha: And I love Jay Leno and Colbert, too!
Brooke: Oh, Colbert!
Martha: Oh my God. I love him.
Brooke: We love him too. So we also wanted ask you: You’re such an accomplished woman and you’ve been defined by so many different labels over the course of your dynamic life and career: model, chef, author, media mogul, I mean, the list goes on and on. Of those roles, and so many that I didn’t list, which do you find yourself mostly relating to these days?
Martha: Hmm. These days? Very hard.
Brooke: Yeah, there’s a lot to choose from.
Martha: I guess you can say, entrepreneur, because I’m still building, and still thinking, and still being very active in the entrepreneurial world.
Brooke: And that takes a lot of energy.
Martha: Oh, it does. It takes a tremendous amount of energy.
Ben: I do want to ask you: What shows do you watch on TV right now? If you had two hours of your life to watch some TV, what would you watch?
Martha: I don’t know the new seasons of anything yet, because they’re just about to start. But my taste in television goes to stuff like In Treatment, that way I don’t ever have to go to a psychiatrist, and The Tudors, because I love Henry VIII and how evil he is. And Downton Abbey. I loved it in the beginning. I don’t like it so much anymore.
I like historical drama. I like BBC a lot. I like good drama. I like well-acted—you know, intense—stuff. I sort of liked that whole Big Love thing for a while.
The only real evil stuff I’ll watch is stuff like The Tudors, I can’t watch The Borgias. It’s too much torture.
Brooke: Yeah, just enough drama.
Ben: That’s why I can’t watch Jersey Shore.
Martha: Yeah, that’s right. Me either. That’s pure torture. That’s mental torture.
Brooke: But speaking of TV, we actually, we wanted to ask you—because we saw you on that Law & Order:SVU episode—are there any more plans for more acting this year or in the future?
Martha: Why, did you think I did a good job?
Brooke: You were amazing.
Martha: I would love to do more if I could just give up my regular day job. I’d like to act all the time. I’d love to do a full movie someday.
Ben: Oh, that would be awesome.
Martha: I don’t know who I would play, other than myself.
Brooke: No we loved that you were taking on a role, and challenging yourself in ways that we haven’t seen before.
Ben: Well, Martha, thank you so much for your time. This is gonna be great for us, I’m thrilled to launch all this stuff this week. So thank you so much for taking this time out.
Martha: Ok well great. I can’t wait to watch everything on Hulu.
Brooke: We can’t wait to see your content on Hulu!