If you’ve ever seen Armando Iannucci’s brilliant political satire In the Loop, a film with strong Danger Room ties, you might recognize L.A.-based comedian Johnny Pemberton. He played the very young American official assigned to receive a crass and impatient British government spin doctor (played by Peter Capaldi) during the run-up to an Iraq War-style conflict. Pemberton followed that brief but memorable performance with another gig that’s right up our readers’ alley. As host of the new MTV show Megadrive, Pemberton hilariously test-drives, and often demolishes, a wide variety of heavy vehicles, including some of the latest military hardware. Danger Room caught up with Pemberton via email.
Danger Room: Why Megadrive? What is it about big freakin’ machines that interests you?
Johnny Pemberton: It’s something so different and apart from any everyday experience. You have these massive or fast or totally bizarre vehicles that most people will never get to see or touch, let alone drive. They’re just absolutely captivating. Loud as all Hell, amazingly powerful and able to very easily kill you and/or anyone near you by accident. I get bored very easily and often have trouble paying attention, but not around a tank. It forces you to pay really good attention.
DR: What kind of military hardware have you gotten to drive?
JP: M-1 SEP battle tank, JCB HMEE [a military-grade, armored backhoe -- ed.], and an Armored Personnel Carrier from Manuel Noriega’s army that’s now used by the sheriff’s special operations unit in a little town in Georgia.