Jason Kessler and Jeff Miller’s friendship consists of the kind of easy banter and chemistry that makes you absolutely want to be their new best friend. It’s a chemistry that’s both effortless and intoxicating. And it translates beautifully to their brand new show, Trip Testers, on Travel Channel — not just because it’s fun, but because it’s real, something I (jealously) learned myself when I grabbed a cup of coffee with the guys recently to talk about their new series.
From the second Kessler and Miller sat down, they were making me laugh (so much so that it was difficult to transcribe our interview over the sound of my laughing). They’re so much fun to watch together that they make you want to be invited to whatever party or event they’re going to next. You just know they’re going to make you laugh the whole time with their brand of playful, clever humor.
Here’s an example: In every Uber they rode in during their travels, they played a game where they’d pretend to be in town for a different and very insane reason. In San Antonio, they convinced their driver they were there to paint the Alamo, a story they quickly had to walk back. When the driver enthusiastically told them he’d bring his kids down that weekend to watch, Jason suddenly “recieved” a fake call that the whole project was cancelled.
The two travel writers became friends when they were both invited to the same barbecue boot camp during a press trip. And the manner in which they described their “meet cute,” if you will, gently bickering about details back and forth (Like Jason insisting Jeff wasn’t starting from the right place or Jeff correcting Jason on the details of the lead up to meeting), reminded me of an old married couple. People had told them for years that they needed to meet, and when they finally did, the hype didn’t disappoint. Jason describes it as “friend love at first sight,” an immediate bond that rendered them inseparable (much to the annoyance of their significant others who were left in the dust as the bromance blossomed during the trip).
As travel writers and enthusiastic adventurers, Jason and Jeff continued to meet up to try the coolest activities in cities all over the world, and they began to think it was a shame that there was no one filming their travels.
“We were in Vegas for another (press) trip and extended our trip,” Jason explained. “We had one kind of epic day where in the morning we went to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and raced exotic cars. We then came back and had a 6 course sushi lunch. Immediately from that we were picked up and driven to the Henderson Executive Airport to get up in fighter jets and play laser tag.”
This was followed by an incredibly fancy dinner (even though Jason was white as a sheet from vomiting in his fighter jet) where the pair wolfed down 12 expensive courses. Later, as they reflected on their day, they realized how very cool their jobs were.
“Jason and I were like man, nobody will believe that this happened the way that it happened,” Jeff said.
“Basically, we realized we get to live this life like we’re billionaires and we’re definitely not billionaires,” Jason chimed in. “We’re just normal dudes who get to live this life.”
With these thoughts in mind, they pitched the show and were snapped up for Trip Testers, a series in which they try out all sorts of activities, from the budget friendly (like eating at a market in Portland for less than $10) to the extravagant (like the multi-course dinner they had in Vegas) and tell you whether it’s worth it, something that tourists desperately require, lest they be left to make their own mistakes.
Here’s an example: The last time I went to Vegas I considered riding the zip line over Fremont street, but figured it wasn’t worth the money. There are better things to do for $25 ($45 if you want to fly superhero style 11 stories above the ground), especially when there are deep fried Oreos to be bought just down the street. Jeff and Jason, though, are huge fans who know I missed out on an opportunity of a lifetime. “Totally worth the price,” they told me. “Definitely something you should try at least once.”