“Emergency Intercom” Podcast Nears 3rd Anniversary — and Its Hosts 'Still Knock on Wood Every Day' (Exclusive)

Podcasters Drew Phillips and Enya Umanzor discuss their cult following, signing with TMG Studios and — finally — outgrowing their makeshift kitchen studio

<p>Emergency Intercom</p> Enya Umanzor and Drew Phillips in their new podcast studio

Emergency Intercom

Enya Umanzor and Drew Phillips in their new podcast studio

It finally happened. After nearly three years and 144 episodes, Emergency Intercom outgrew its makeshift, kitchen-corner set and moved to a real studio.

In a rare interview, hosts Enya Umanzor and Drew Phillips chatted with PEOPLE about the past, present and future of the podcast — starting with their decision to leave the cramped set-up behind after signing with TMG Studios.

The Los Angeles-based comedy duo, known for their “brainrot” humor, teased the move in their May 10 episode with their most ambitious stunt yet, breaking TikTok by (fake) breaking their kitchen ceiling — and they couldn’t have done it without the help of TMG, Umanzor says.

“Once we got word that we were going to have a production team at our disposal, we started thinking of absolutely insane things we could do, because usually any stunt or gag we do, we have to do on our own and it's impossible,” the Miami native tells PEOPLE, adding, “We are two of the dumbest people on the planet.”

A week later, the hosts have been reborn from the flames (ceiling rubble), announcing on May 17 that they are finally moving to a professional podcast studio. And, though they previously told PAPER Magazine that the raunchy, unstructured nature of their podcast made it impossible to sell to a production company, that’s exactly what made it the perfect fit for TMG.

Also Vine stars-turned-YouTubers prior to their own podcast, TMG founders Cody Ko and Noel Miller just get it. Plus, as Phillips points out, they have also withstood corporate attempts to change who they are as entertainers.

“The way they're running TMG right now, it feels really special,” the Texas native says. “And they actually do care and they do want you to be authentically yourself instead of having to water down or dilute what you're doing.”

<p>Emergency Intercom</p> Drew Phillips and Enya Umanzor in the first episode of 'Emergency Intercom'

Emergency Intercom

Drew Phillips and Enya Umanzor in the first episode of 'Emergency Intercom'

The Emergency Intercom hosts can’t help but feel excited for their future — a future that, when they launched the podcast out of pandemic boredom in July 2021, they never thought possible.

“I feel like there was a time, especially when we started the podcast, I do think part of me felt really lost,” Umanzor tells PEOPLE. “I would repeat to [Phillips] all the time, ‘I'm not doing this for more than a year.’ And here we are reaching three years and I feel like we're just now really getting our groundings.”

Related: Podcast Duo Behind Emergency Intercom Debut New Merch: It Reflects 'the Love We Have with Each Other' (Exclusive)

Since those early days, the podcast has blossomed into something bigger than the hosts ever envisioned — and all from the (dis)comfort of their own kitchen.

The pair have welcomed guests like Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira and singer Conan Gray, hosted a packed pop-up event with Heaven by Marc Jacobs, and met everyone from Chloë Sevigny to Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

“I just like how much growth we've had, not numbers-wise, but just creatively,” says Phillips, and Umanzor adds: “We've been blessed to have a lot of opportunities to be creative, which is all we could hope for.”

Looking back at that growth — a task made easier by fan-made TikTok edits, like this one from user @drewsdeadbug — is an emotional experience, to say the least.

“It used to scare me, and sometimes it still does because I think naturally, the idea of there being so much documentation of yourself is a little scary and jarring, but I think it's sweet now,” Umanzor says. “The older I get, the sweeter I think it is.”

<p>Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty</p> Enya Umanzor (left) and Drew Phillips (right) interviewing designer Anna Sui at the Marc Jacobs Runway 2024 Show on Feb. 2, 2024

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Enya Umanzor (left) and Drew Phillips (right) interviewing designer Anna Sui at the Marc Jacobs Runway 2024 Show on Feb. 2, 2024

"I think it's really easy for me to find the sweetness in it rather than being scared or bothered by seeing myself because it feels like more of a reflection of my relationship with Drew, or my friends and the people I love, than it is just about me,” she continues. “Although, I do love a good edit of me eating. I will never not watch an edit of myself being sexy.”

Some edits, particularly those highlighting the platonic love in her life, have even made her cry, she says: “I think that is so sweet that just the fact that we have found each other in this lifetime makes somebody else really hopeful and joyful.”

“I just like the archive of it all,” Phillips says. “It is just going to be so nice to look back on and just see where our heads were at.”

“That's all I can think about,” he adds, “is showing my grandchildren or my grandchildren finding it and being like, ‘Whoa, you were a f------ psycho, bro. What were you on about?’ That just brings me so much joy."

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Reflecting on how “insanely different” she and Phillips are from the people who first positioned chairs and mics in their kitchen almost three years ago, Umanzor tells PEOPLE, “I feel like right now, we feel really confident in who we are.”

Although, she notes, “We still knock on wood every day we say something good about ourselves, because we're terrified of everything falling apart.”

But when they feel like things are crumbling — well, besides their ceiling — the duo is grounded by their fans, who they’ve been able to meet through their pop-up event and live podcast episodes on college campuses.

“It was super special to see the faces and speak to people who were actually avid listeners,” Umanzor says as Phillips chimes in: “And realizing that they're actually f------ cool people.”

<p>Victor Boyko/Getty</p> Drew Phillips and Enya Umanzor

Victor Boyko/Getty

Drew Phillips and Enya Umanzor

“Our audience is actually cool,” he continues. “And actually gets down with the real s--- and does their research on the things they like.”

And, because the hosts know their fans like the back of their hands, Umanzor was “excited to see what people think of the set,” but knew they would feel the loss of the iconic kitchen corner.

“I think most people are going to miss the old set, but I think we did a really good job of staying true to it and re-imagining it and looking at it from the camera's point of view,” she says. “And even just standing in that studio, we look at it and I'm like, ‘This feels like an enlarged version of what we were doing, and an expanded world of what we were already doing.’ ”

The new set is so true to who they are, in fact, that the hosts’ earliest mock-ups were almost indistinguishable from each other.

“When we were first sketching out the studio, we went to separate rooms and on my iPad, I drew out what I wanted the set to look like and Enya, on pen and paper, drew out what she wanted the set to look like,” Phillips says. “And they were literally identical.”

<p>Enya Umanzor</p> Enya Umanzor's 'Emergency Intercom' studio sketches

Enya Umanzor

Enya Umanzor's 'Emergency Intercom' studio sketches

Perhaps the most important addition? Room for guests. Umanzor says she is excited to host people “who can actually not sit on the f------ floor,” noting that they’ve previously avoided inviting visitors because it felt "disrespectful to have them awkwardly in our kitchen.”

And don't fret — the duo's one-man production team, Ky Newman, is "not going anywhere,” Umanzor says. “That's where I'll end it, is Ky is the homie for life and we would not leave him behind, as we have never left our friends behind.”

Also sticking around is Phillips' DIY chair, which has taken on a life of its own within the Emergency Intercom fandom — and had the life slowly sapped from it.

“You'd be happy to know that the chair is coming along,” Phillips says. “She'll be there … in her rotted glory.”

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