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TALK: Tim Fite

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Next week, alternative-hip-hop-country twanger Tim Fite will release his brand new album, Fair Ain’t Fair (Anti-). Over the last couple years Fite has been wowing critics with both his full-length debut album, Gone Ain’t Gone, and his free-to-the-public, hip-hop album, Over The Counter Culture–which was chock full of thoughtful wit and social commentary.

(left: The hilarious, is-he-being-serious, is-he-not-being serious Tim Fite.)

Fite has developed a Pee Wee Herman-like talent for disguising his messages behind scribbled artwork and childlike behavior. Once you figure out what the big kid is up to, you realize he isn’t so childish after all.

Jim Shearer: Your new album, Fair Ain’t Fair, is coming out on May 6. In the past, you’ve created instrumentals by taking bargain bin CD’s and sampling them? Are you doing that for this album?

Tim Fite: Yes and no. There is definitely stuff from the bin and there is a lot more. I went and got people with real instruments and friends of mine to play and make it bigger and grander, and kind of started messing with other things besides thievery.

Jim: Speaking of thievery, have any of these artists, on the bargain bin CD’s, discovered that they were being sampled by you?

Tim: Yes. Some do, some don’t, some get asked and say “yes,” some get asked and say “no,” some don’t get asked and don’t have the choice of saying “yes” or “no.” But those folks shall remain nameless.

Jim: When you are sampling from these CD’s and you hear a good loop, do you ever get frustrated when vocals will come in right at the end of a measure?

Tim: It is not the singing. It is the breathing.

Jim: The breath before the next measure?

Tim: There needs to be less breathing and singing.

Jim: So arists–at least for your sake–shouldn’t start breathing or singing until the second measure?

Tim: Just lag a little, do some Sinatra. Is he early or late? I can’t remember.

Jim: I heard a story once where some record label people wanted Michael Jackson to cut out the long intro of “Billie Jean,” and he said it needed to be there cause it was the “jelly” of the song. Seems like this kind of tune would be ideal for you.

Tim: That’s right, intros are the bread and butter of sample musicians.

Jim: You said that you haven’t even heard your new album, Fair Ain’t Fair, because you had it outsourced to India and China. Is this correct?

Tim: Yes, just going with the general trend of globalization and, you know, why do all the work myself when I could have someone else do it for much cheaper.

Jim: (laughs) There could be some lead in the CDs.

Tim: Small amount of lead, but it should be safe, you know. Just don’t let your children lick it.

Jim: Your last album, Over the Counter Culture, was given out for free on the interent, because you said you would feel like a hypocrite if you had a social commentary on consumerism and made people pay for it.

Tim: Yes.

Jim: But how do you survive? How does Tim Fite get paid? Because you still need to put food on your table.

Tim: That’s a hard question to answer. I don’t really know how it works out, you know. Be frugal. If you are frugal and you don’t buy a lot of stuff, you don’t need to make a lot of money. It’s the nature of the beast–the more you make the more you want. So if you don’t make that much you can’t want that much, and you kind of get by.

Jim: Do you want a touring band?

Tim: I would love to have a touring band. But for now it is all good with me and Dr. Leisure.

Jim: But you said you can’t afford a touring band at this point in time?

Tim: No, because they cost money.

Jim: How can we get you some money?

Tim: Send me money.

Jim: Is it easier to convey political and social commentaries being more childlike than militant?

Tim: I think there is a time and a place for everything, you know? You can be angry and grown up and you could be childish and silly and still be making a difference. Children make a difference every day just by being here, and adults make a difference every day, [but] a lot of times the adults’ contribution is negative, so sometimes it’s best to just be a child because it is harder to be bad.

Jim: Are there any artists that you are tired of being compared to?

Tim: Um, Salvador Dali.

Jim: (laughs) The famous artist–hmmm. Explain.

Tim: He is in everybody’s dorm room.

Jim: (laughs) What about the Beck comparisons?

Tim: Beck is a good. He is a good singer and makes good songs. People need to make comparisons in order to understand the world, and if that’s the way they got to do it, then that’s the way they got to do it.

Jim: Last night you and Dr. Leisure ended the show by wearing black-and-gold Barack Obama t-shirts. Where did you get those from?

Tim: Oddly enough in a convenience store in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jim: Will you vote for Barack Obama? What if he wanted you to play some shows on the campaign trail?

Tim: We just like the shirts.



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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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.