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Please Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself

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bio_pict.JPGMuch like John Connor in Terminator 3, I’ve been living “off the grid” of late. Last year I watched all my of co-workers lose their jobs, while I toiled away on a sinking ship trying to sell hand-held video games to impressionable teenage boys–a far cry from what was an endless music-video oasis and a place for musicians to come talk shop about their latest album and tour. I’m not hatin’ on anyone–I’m just saying–that’s how it went down.

After my office was taken away, I was told to sit by the phone and wait for my next assignment. Eventually my mail stopped coming (I’m still trying to figure out who’s listening to all my free CD’s), and getting in contact with acquaintances at record labels soon became a challenging task. It was difficult, I later found out, cause a lot of these record label people also lost their jobs. Seven years into the business (with four years of college radio experience on top of that), and I can tell you, I have never seen anything like this.

I guess it’s both good and bad though. In one way it’s good, because it forces labels to do away with their old business formulas (music should never be a math problem). It’s sad, however, because there are some kids who will never get the thrill of walking through a record store.

I’ve decided to do this site here at IFC because I’m still a fan of music. Regardless of business models, social networking sites, or sales figures of MP3 downloads, there will always be kids picking up a guitar for the first time, 40-somethings playing in front of eight people at the local dive bar, or someone getting goosebumps from hearing a song they believe was written specifically for them. There’s a reason we all listen to and love music.

So yeah, I’m excited to be back in the game. There are a lot of artists I’m looking forward to reconnecting with and some new ones I can’t wait to meet. Also, your comments, suggestions, questions, opinions, turn-ons, and turn-offs (within good taste of course) are always welcomed.

Before I get knee deep into the blogging here, I wanted to post my bio. Fear not, this is the short version (don’t make me break out the three-page epic detailing my childhood in Pittsburgh, PA).

Hopefully, this will put some things in context, and if I ever refer to past experiences, you’ll get some idea of what I’m talking about. I know a lot of us have crossed paths before, but if you have no clue about who I am or where I came from, this should help clear things up:

JIM SHEARER (The Four Paragraph, Short Version Bio)

With four years of college radio experience under his belt, eight years of running a ‘zine, and 10 years of performing in various hip-hop and garage rock bands, Jim Shearer was offered an on-air VJ position for MTV Networks at the end of 2001. His early duties consisted mostly of introducing music videos for MTV2 (the sister channel of MTV that boasted a 24-hour music video playlist). Shearer’s role was expanded once the channel began producing original content. Not only did Shearer host many of these new shows, but he also became MTV2’s go-to man for anything music related.

In March of 2002, a teenage dream came true, when Shearer began hosting 120 Minutes, the hallowed alternative and indie-minded music show that began airing on MTV in 1986. The legendary program evolved into Subterranean in May of 2003, further giving Shearer the chance to meet various up-and-coming independent musicians, as well as revered music veterans like Radiohead, Robert Smith (The Cure), Sonic Youth, Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Beck, PJ Harvey, and The Flaming Lips.

In 2004, Shearer’s role further expanded, as he began hosting MTV2 Rock, the channel’s mainstream rock-music show. Around the same time, he was also handling the on-air duties for MTV’s Advance Warning, a monthly half-hour program highlighting emerging music acts.

In Shearer’s six-year tenure with MTV Networks he also acted as Master of Ceremonies for MTV2’s $2 Bill Concert series, was a live correspondent during 24-Hours of Love and 24-Hours of Foo (day-long programs respectively featuring Courtney Love and the Foo Fighters), hosted a live MTV show with the Beastie Boys, Live to the Five Boroughs (another teenage dream come true), and got to interview David Bowie, Public Enemy, Weezer, Green Day, Snoop Dogg, David Lee Roth, Dave Matthews, Noel Gallagher, Bright Eyes, Coldplay and a slew of other influential recording artists.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.