Everybody has their own way of playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the game of the moment. It’s meditative, therapeutic, and utterly brilliant. You can live the island-paradise fantasy in any way that speaks to you. Maybe that means making every DIY recipe you can find or buying clothes galore from the Able Sisters. For Gary Whitta—the writer behind The Book of Eli, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the Image Comics series Oliver—the answer turned out to be hosting a talk show,
In the vein of late-night hosts like John Oliver and Seth Meyers, Whitta’s Animal Talking takes place entirely in-game, using Animal Crossing as a kind of virtual TV studio. He has celebrity guests lined up; he’s funny and insightful; and he’s been doing this sort of thing a while. When I first started watching Whitta’s Twitch streams, he’d often play quiet, simple games like Marbles on Stream and Train Sim World 2020. He seemed to be unwinding; this was a calm place to gather his thoughts, share them with an audience, and just have a good time. He had a chill vibe—the furthest thing from the Ninjas of the game streaming world and their long-distance kill shots.
I don’t usually announce upcoming guests until the prior show, but Thursday’s #AnimalTalking is so absolutely nuts we might as well get the hype train rolling now. @officialDannyT @ElijahWood and @GregGrunberg will all be LIVE on the show! HOW IS THIS REAL #ACNH pic.twitter.com/Vwun1Yf9f9— Scary Whitta (@garywhitta) May 12, 2020
Animal Crossing, with its peaceful multiplayer functionality and custom furnishings, is the perfect outlet for Whitta’s brand of livestreamer. And people seem to be embracing the idea in all its absurd beauty. Whitta’s show has featured numerous guests, music, and stand-up comedy so far. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might come by at some point. But this week? Whitta has a killer line-up. On Thursday night, May 14, at 7:00pm PT, he’ll welcome special guests Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn, Heat), Greg Grunberg (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), and Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings) for a live episode. I’d expect interviews, some freewheeling talk about the movie biz, and maybe a couple fun surprises.
Folks hoping to watch in real time can tune into Animal Talking at Twitch.tv/GaryWhitta.