Mikey Day hosts 'Is It Cake?' and 'Is It Cake, Too?' on Netflix.

Is It Cake? Host Mikey Day Says It's Fun To Watch People's "Brains Break"

The SNL star says his favorite on-set guest was none other than his son Abbott.

With a 90-minute episode coming together in just one week, Saturday Night Live’s schedule is notoriously brutal. But it has its perks, says cast member Mikey Day, especially for parents. Time off is time completely off: there’s no reason, or way, really, to bring work home with you. “Some weeks I’ll leave for work on Tuesday and [my son] Abbott is like, ‘Bye, I'll see you Thursday.’ But during hiatus weeks I can be fully present and do all the dad stuff,” he tells Romper by phone. But when Covid hit, SNL went remote and suddenly Day was not only working from home but involving Abbott, now 10: child actors, weren’t really available, so the boy was in “high demand.”

“His payment was that he could get any toy off Amazon,” Day explains. “So when I’d tell him we’d have to record ... for a sketch, and he’d be like, ‘Again?!’ I’d be like, ‘Just think of the toy.’ It was a good introduction to the workforce: ‘think of the paycheck at the end of the week.’”

Still, Day’s job has offered lots of fun opportunities for the tween. Going to see BTS when they performed as a musical guest (along with just about every other SNL employee’s child, apparently), meeting celebrities (after running into Michael Keaton on set, Day gushed to his then preschoolerThat’s my Batman! You just met Batman and you have no idea!”). And Abbott, like many kids his age (including, very likely, yours) is also a fan of Is It Cake, the game show hosted by Day featuring hyper-realistic baked goods that look deceptively like everyday objects. The second season, Is It Cake, Too? premieres June 30 on Netflix. (Go ahead and tell your kids: we know they’ve been waiting.)

The series is based on the viral trend of knives slicing through what we, the viewer/scroller thought was a boot or a book or a flowerpot. “I think the first one I saw was a puppy,” Day recalls. “Then all of a sudden the knife went into its head. It was shocking. And then you’re like, ‘What’s happening? What’s happening?!’ Something weird happens to your brain when an object is sliced into. You know what I mean?”

I sure do: we as humans are promised very little in this life, but one of those promises has historically been “puppies/boots/flowerpots are not made of cake” and now we have no such assurance. Anything could be cake. Anywhere, at any time. (My own kids, upon learning I would be interviewing one of their favorite game show hosts, asked me to ask him if he was made of cake. As far as I can tell he’s not but, again, we can’t be sure anymore.)

Fortunately, after two seasons of being the designated slicer (or, in the case of a full-sized toilet, complete with water feature, sledgehammer-er) Day says he’s gotten a little bit better at guessing. Still, the mind games continue. “Sometimes I’ll be literally inches from it and I won’t know,” he says. “[Producers] tell me which is real and which is cake since I need to know which one I’m going to cut through it, but sometimes they'‘ll just look so convincing and so real, I’ll think I remember which number they told me, but then I’ll have to double check.”

I literally don’t know if this one is cake or not and neither do you...Courtesy of Netflix

Comedian friends and SNL cast mates — including Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor and Chloe Fineman — have joined Day in this existential cake crisis as guest judges.

“We all think, ‘I will be able to tell food from not food. That is a basic cerebral ability I have.’ And then the reveal happens.” He laughs. “It’s fun to watch people’s kind of brains break in a moment.”

His favorite on-set guest, however, was none other than Abbott. He was only supposed to come for an hour or so with his mom, Day’s wife Paula Christensen, but wound up sticking around the whole day. “It was funny seeing my son off to the side, sitting in a director’s chair with his legs crossed with a little headphones listening in,” Day recalls.

That “gradual shift” from “my parents are cool” to “yeah, cool, bye” comes for all of us raising tweens, and Day knows he is no exception... but he also knows that this is the time when Abbott will start understanding just how uniquely cool his dad’s job actually is.

“It’s fun to show him aspects of it, and think it’s probably something he’ll truly appreciate when he gets older because right now, for the most part, it’s like, ‘That’s my dad’s job, whatever.’”