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The Whitest Kids U’Know on “The Whitest Kids U’Know”

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We’ve all enjoyed great sketch comedy, suffered through terrible sketch comedy and furrowed our brows at totally inexplicable sketch comedy. But how does sketch comedy, you know, work? I sat down with Sam Brown and Trevor Moore of IFC’s own sketch comedy show “The Whitest Kids U’Know” to find out how the magic happens.

What’s your writing process like?

Trevor Moore: Everything’s written different ways. If someone has an idea for a sketch, they can come in and be like, “I really want to do this,” but when we’re actually writing for a deadline, we’re like, “Okay, everybody take five minutes and write down as many ideas as come to mind.” And then we go around the circle, and it’s everybody pitching out their ideas. And we’ll just kind of be like, “Okay, that one—” depending on what everybody laughs at.

Sam Brown: And a lot of times it’ll even get to the point where we’ll work on something until we decide, “Eh, maybe it wasn’t the best idea.”

TM: Yeah, and then some of our sketches are like— you know, Sam’s nut popping out in the first episode of season two. That just came about when we were outside of one of our live shows…

SB: …I think, “What if we had a sketch where the joke was that I had one nut out?” I think it was that simple.

TM: And we’re talking about that— “Yeah, and what if you come back later and it’s hanging out of your collar?” And then we wrote a sketch for that.

So it’s just basically a lot of drunken conversation.

As connoisseurs of a certain type of comedy that… pushes boundaries, where do you figure the line is? Or is there a line?

TM: It’s all tone. I don’t think there’s any issue that you can’t talk about. A lot of our sketches deal with race or homophobia and stuff like that. The person that the joke is on tends to be the racist character or the homophobic character. They’re the odd man out, not like they’re the norm.

SB: You’re not gonna be mean to people for no reason.

TM: Well, that can be funny, too. [laughs]

Where did the name of the group come from?

TM: It was like really early in the troupe, and we had a couple of names that weren’t very good that we were considering. We used to go out and film stuff with video cameras, just on the street. We were doing some sort of freestyle rapping thing on the subway, and this one guy who was friends with us was like, “You guys are the whitest kids I know.” We were in the market for a name, so we were like, “That’ll do!”

Who do you guys like out there, in terms of influences or just people you think are doing great things in comedy right now?

TM: Well, everyone in the troupe has different influences. I think one consistent influence for me is Monty Python. There’ll never be anyone better. They’re the Beatles of comedy. The troupe kind of goes down into two groups — Sam and I are into Monty Python, Steve Coogan and some comedians that no one’s ever heard. And Zack and Timmy and Darren really like Dane Cook and—

SB:—the Blue Collar [Comedy Tour].


SB: Yeah, they are. They have the DVD. They watched it a lot when we were on tour.

TM: That and “Full House.”

SB: Timmy just got that. He ordered it. It comes in a little house, like the actual house—

TM: And it’s just full of DVDs. It’s a full house of DVDs. That’s their influence.

Any plans to work on movies?

TM: Yeah, Zack and I just finished a movie [a Fox comedy called “Playboys”] that we’re editing right now. We actually have to turn in our first cut next Friday. The Whitest Kids have a movie written that we’re actually about to go out and try to set up somewhere.

A sketch comedy movie?

TM: It’s not a sketch comedy movie. It’s a linear story — we don’t play multiple characters, but it’s got the same tone and mentality of the TV show. The hard thing was having an arc for each character — they all have to learn something along the way. I think we took care of that pretty well. It’s kind of like a live action “Duck Tales” episode.

[Trevor Moore and Sam Brown of “The Whitest Kids U’Know”; Andre Vippolis, 2008]



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.