‘Please Don’t Destroy’ Interview

Comedy trio Please Don’t Destroy is hitting the road for the first time and has a tour stop scheduled in Cleveland for Saturday, July 22! {Complete show and ticket information}

Composed of Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, and Ben Marshall, the guys are probably best known for their hilarious videos on Saturday Night Live. Prior to SNL fame, Please Don’t Destroy performed together in New York City before the COVID lockdown forced them to transition to making videos in place of their live show.

All three guys recently phoned into CleveRock’s interview hotline together on July 12 (just days prior to the onset of the SAG-AFTRA strike) to discuss their upcoming tour, give us some background on their roots, and answer the ever-pressing question: ‘What it’s like to be touched by Taylor Swift?”

“We’re kind of going back to our roots with this theater show, which we’re really excited about because it’s an opportunity for people that have known us for our videos to see our live show,” Higgins said during the phone call. “I think they’ll understand and feel like they’re getting that vibe, but we’re also showing this different side of ourselves, which is the live performance aspect of it, which is how we started.”

“That’s the first thing we started doing together, is live performances. We did that for years before SNL,” Herlihy added. “It feels familiar to us in a good way; a very good way.”

This won’t be one of those boring shows where the guys simply press ‘play’ on the projector remote and laugh along with the audience.

Ben described the show as, “…a little bit of a hybrid between standup and sketch comedies, so there’s very little props and costumes. It’s just us three up there talking to you guys, doing jokes, and then acting out little sketches and doing some songs. We want it to just feel like the audience gets to watch us be best friends and make each other laugh and have fun.”

A big part of the trio’s breakthrough happened during a horrible time for the world. COVID locked everything down. (If you think Cleveland was bad; imagine what it must have been like to live in New York City!) Ben, Martin, and John made lemons out of lemonade. The guys created some much-needed laughter for people trapped in their homes in a dark and difficult. There wasn’t much to laugh at; not much to smile about, but these gentlemen did their best to turn the frowns upside down.

“I know that I was on my phone way more and on my computer way more, just looking for anything to make me laugh. So, to be able to give that to people was extremely cool. And, I think a big part of it, too, was keeping ourselves from going insane,” Herlihy reflected. “We just liked staying busy and making each other laugh and sending stuff back and forth and staying creative when we didn’t have the outlet of our live shows.”

So, how did three best friends end up getting a package deal offer from the most prominent comedy show on the planet, Saturday Night Live? This writer’s guesses of responding to a sponsored post on or getting a referral from the unemployment office were incorrect.

“It’s such a crazy business,” Higgins said “We were hired as writers, but, there was always an understanding that we would do videos there. We write a lot for the live show aside from those videos.”

“During the pandemic, we couldn’t perform live, so we started making a bunch of videos online, on TikTok, and Twitter, and Instagram,” Marshall expanded. “Eventually, some people from SNL saw those and once the pandemic ended, started coming to our live shows and eventually, we got to perform in front of [Saturday Night Live’s Executive Producer] Lorne Michaels, which was crazy scary and cool. Then, he hired us”

*The transcription software at CleveRock headquarters composed ‘Lord Michaels’ instead of ‘Lorne.’ Inaccurate transcription; accurate description.*

This interviewer asked SNL alumnus Colin Quinn and recent show departee Melissa Villaseñor if they had a good behind-the-scenes story from SNL that they were able to share. Shockingly, despite years on the show, neither one of them could come up with a good story.

When PDD was asked the same question, Marshall noted that on April Fool’s Day, Michael Che, co-host of the popular Weekend Update segment, asked the audience not to laugh at any of co-anchor Colin Jost’s jokes. Marshall explained that he was planted in the audience to yell “You stink” at Jost while live on air.

I can only imagine the stories that SNL (past and present) stars CAN’T tell me.

In one of PDD’s more memorable SNL sketches, they starred alongside (now former) cast member Pete Davidson and ::gasp:: Taylor Swift. In the video, Swift dances around Ben, Martin, and John and even touches the guys’ faces. The expression each of them has is comedy gold. When asked if that was great acting or just being genuinely terrified of having Swift hanging on them, the guys had a nice laugh.

“I think there was a lot of reality in our performances, for sure,” Marshall replied. “She was so sweet that it wasn’t as terrifying as much we couldn’t believe it was happening.”

Herlihy chimed in: “It was also so soon after we had gotten hired that we were just kind of like, ’Man, what is our life right now?'”

The trio is riding high and in the process of reaching the peak of Success Mountain. Did these three friends ever expect this kind of success before any of them celebrated their 30th birthday?

“I think our only real goal was to be able to pay the rent with comedy. The fact that that’s happened, you just feel humbled and grateful every day,” Higgins said. “Even this tour has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. To be able to get out on the road with my two best friends and perform sketches for people that want to see them is amazing.”

“I think it is been a shock to all of us,” Marshall added. “We’re still lucky to be able to do this as our full-time job. I think we all started out just as huge fans of comedy. I just thought these two guys were really funny and weird. We were just genuinely best friends trying to make each other laugh and do comedy. It’s crazy that we’re able to do this as our job.”

Herlihy concluded,” It’s a little bit of a rockstar fantasy for three guys who were not cool enough to be rock stars.”

Speaking of the peak of Success Mountain, the guys have a new project coming out from Universal Pictures in a film they wrote and will star in that will be produced by the legendary Judd Apatow. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing writer’s strike and not wanting to spill the beans on the film’s details just yet, they weren’t able to say too much on the topic.

Something they WERE able to tell CleveRock is that Saturday Night Live cast member and Cleveland native, Molly Carney will be the opening act for the Cleveland date of their tour. (Heck yes!)

“We’d love to see everybody out in Cleveland. We’re so excited to come through and do our show,” Herlihy wrapped up. “I think it’s going to be a real funny; a real good time.”

Please Don’t Destroy will perform at The Ohio Theatre in Cleveland’s prized Playhouse Square complex on Saturday, July 22. Complete show and ticket information can be found on our events calendar: RIGHT HERE!

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