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Oreo-Separating Genius David Neevel on His New MTV Other Show Practically Useful

David Neevel is what MacGyver strives to be.


Practically Useful

David Neevel likes to build things, but he doesn’t like the creme in the middle of Oreos. That’s why he built a machine that removes it with a hatchet. It was one of a series of videos Oreo released showing interesting ways to separate the creme and the cookie. Now Neevel has his own show on MTV’s new online outlet MTV Other called Practically Useful. On the show he builds things you never knew you needed — like a coffee cup with a level indicator.

I really loved the video that shows off Neevel’s Oreo separator. If you missed it, take a look. It’s great:

If I was in a position to be handing out Internet television shows, I’d have given Neevel one too. Something about him is infinitely watchable. Maybe it’s his mustache. Neevel doesn’t have any background in comedy, but he says it’s fortunate that people seem to think the way he clams up in front of a camera is funny. He’s right. It is.

Neevel isn’t limited to just pulling apart Oreos, in his new show he builds a variety of things you may never have realized were missing from your life. For example, here’s the episode of the show where Neevel builds a mannequin that squirts deodorant out of its armpit onto his armpit:

I had a chance to speak with Neevel about the show, but I also wanted to talk about Oreos. I asked him how that video came about it. He told me:

The ad agency I work for was doing a bit of work for Oreo. A good friend of mine, Mike, was on one of the Oreo assignments, and Oreo was asking for ideas that were based around Cookie vs. Creme. That was their big push.

My friend Mike was like, “Well that’s easy. We’ll have David build a machine and we’ll make a video about it.”

At work they tried to figure out if that was a good idea or if I had time to do it. Finally I was given a green light, and I just spent three weeks straight in a machine shop putting that together.

Since the Oreo video went live in February, and Practically Useful premiered last month, I assumed that one led to the other, but Neevel told me that he made the Practically Useful episodes “quite a while ago.” He called it a passion project that he was trying to find a home for. Someone from MTV contacted Neevel about putting the videos up through MTV Other, and the videos got the home they were looking for.

If you’re not familiar with MTV Other, Garth Bardsley from their original video content department told me in an email:

MTV Other is a new connected content lab started by MTV focused on new-form video content and new approaches to development and production. These new series are living on our new MTV [iOS app] as well as online at It will be available on Android and Xbox shortly. We [plan] to publish over fifteen new series in the next few months.

If you like short weird online content, and chances are good that you do, it looks like MTV Other might be your new jam.

The biggest problem with short content like this is just that there isn’t much of it. The four episodes of Practically Useful are the only ones Neevel has done. That’s a problem for me, because I really love them.

Neevel has plans to do more, and he’s working on making that happen. I asked if he had any specific inventions in mind for future episodes. Neevel didn’t want to get into too much detail, but the words “safety motorcycle” were said. He wouldn’t talk about what it was exactly, but he says it won’t disappoint.

During our conversation I asked Neevel what the strangest thing he ever built was. His reply was, “I don’t know if I’ve ever built anything strange, have I?”

You have, David. You built a machine that draws a penis. That’s probably the answer next time someone asks you what the strangest thing you’ve built is. It’s the penis drawing machine.

It was even featured on Conan:

Check out all the shows over at, but make sure to watch Practically Useful a whole bunch of times. I really want to see what this “safety motorcycle” is.

Thanks to David Neevel for taking to time to speak with me, and to Garth Bardsley and Laura Schwartz for setting it up.

(via Practically Useful)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.