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DID YOU READ

TALK: Murs

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Murs Carter’s resume reads as such: Underground West Coast rapper, Current TV (Al Gore’s channel) host, and now, Presidential hopeful.

(left: Mr. Carter, what’s your stance on national health care?)

Besides his unique rhyme flow and traffic-stopping hairdo, Murs is also known for his blunt honesty and hilarious sense of humor (which sometimes doesn’t go over well in the macho world of hip-hop). This year he will be parlaying his upcoming album Murs For President into an actual presidential campaign.

Besides talking about his bid for the White House, Murs also speaks freely about steroids in baseball, bravado in rap music, and saving up money to buy Transformers:

Jim Shearer: In this day in age, more so than ever, it seems like it is very tough for artists to get paid.

Murs: Yes, but it doesn’t look like it, because on TV they are dancing, they are singing, they have these diamonds and jewels and, woo-hoo, so much fun, but they are really not getting paid. It is all a farce, all that stuff is fake, literally. I know it for a fact, we have the same management.

Jim: How can we get you paid?

Murs: How can you get me paid? Come out to shows, download stuff on iTunes for $.99. I have a puppy to feed, you know? That is not your problem. I hear people say, “I have to feed my kids.” That is what rappers say, that is their excuse for everything.

Jim: I would like to see you not have to play free shows, because you are an artist who–

Murs: Well, when people start wanting to see me, then it won’t matter. Then [they] will pay to see me and I would [get] paid, I guess.

Jim: Are saying that people don’t want to see you?

Murs: They want to see me, they just don’t know it yet.

Jim: Well let’s make them know.

Murs: Hi, look at my hair. Pay me.

Jim: (laughs) But you’re running for President this year, right? That will help matters out.

Murs: Yes.

Jim: So let’s take this step-by-step.

Murs: Step-by-step. First, is the campaign that started over the years through my grassroots constituents across the nation. And now we are going to have formal introductions with the album (Murs For President), and then I’m going to campaign all through the fall. Hopefully I can get a Grammy in February and that will be my inauguration. That is the goal.

Jim: What party are you running for?

Murs: The Party Party.

Jim: I like that. Here’s another question for you, if there was another candidate on the campaign trail that wanted you to play a function, would you do that? Or would that be a conflict of interest?

Murs: As long as they paid. President of the World is what I am running for, or President of Hip-Hop, you know? There are lots of Presidents, I’m definitely not running for the President of the United States. I’m looking past that.

Jim: I’m glad you cleared that up.

Murs: There is already one President of the United States in America and they made “Peaches.” Remember that song?

Jim: Of course.

Murs: So I couldn’t possibly be President of the United States. So I’m just running for President in general. Vaguely, universe, world, President of your house, President of my puppy, you know?

Jim: I’ll vote for you.

Murs: Thank you, I’ll be President of your house.

Jim: (laughs) It’s a little apartment, but anyway, let’s talk about hip-hop for a second. I appreciate how you bring a nice sense of humor to it, which I feel is lacking today. Why do you think that is?

Murs: I’m trying to find a politically correct term. I was going to say “retard” but that is not [nice].

Jim: You don’t have to be politically correct if you don’t want to.

Murs: I know, but I don’t like to say “retards,” mentally under developed black males in the media. I wish there was an acronym to shorten that. MUDBMITM’s? I don’t know? But anyway, they feel like they have to posture. They are still making money after all these years off of scaring white people, and white people fall for it. Oh, I’m scared 50 Cent, you’ve got a gun, you’ve been shot. Here is my money.I’m so fascinated, I’m intrigued by the death and destruction that is going on in your community. Oh you sell crack, that’s interesting. And you guys are just falling for it. You guys have got to stop. None of these guys are tough. They are on steroids and they do cocaine.

I’m not scared of them. They are not going to shoot you. It is one of their friends that is going to shoot them, and I’m friends with all their friends. When they come to town, literally, they call my friends to give them guns when they are in LA. I know this for a fact. So I’m not scared of anything, because if my friends don’t give you guns, then what are you going to shoot me with jerk?

I’m not really scared of them. I’ve been getting beat up my whole life. I’m a weird black kid. I grew up around other not-weird black kids. And because I was weird they thought they had to pick on me, jump me, fight me. So I’ve been beat up by these guys my whole life and I’m here to pull down the veil. They are not that tough, they are not that scary. I’ll fight any rapper alive, even if I lose. I don’t care.
I will fight you. If I get beat up that’s funny. If you get assaulted that is not funny, but if you lose a fight, like UFC–we all like to see a good fight–then we get up and be friends, move on with your life.

There is so many other things to talk about rather than guns and drugs and sex. But I do like to talk about sex.

Jim: Speaking of steroids, I want to address the rumor that Murs is not on HGH.

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Murs: No I’m not using HGH. Roger Clemens is full of crap, man. If I see him I’m going to bust his ass. You know what I’m saying? Me and Nolan Ryan are going to come to Roger Clemens’ house and kick him in his behind. He acts like he doesn’t care about going to the Hall of Fame but he cares man.

(right: Murs has requested the aid of Nolan Ryan to help kick Roger Clemens’ ass.)

This is the conspiracy, pitchers started it all. Unless you look like Randy Johnson or Nolan Ryan or Dennis Eckersley, like, really skinny guys who just spit fire, they have been cheating for a long time. I’m a Dodgers fan. [Greg] Gagne has been using steroids forever, you know? Roger Clemens conveniently sat out the first half of the season when he was with the Astros so he didn’t have to get tested, and then all the heat fell on Barry Bonds. But batters didn’t start using steroids until they had to combat the pitchers that were using– unless you count [Jose] Conseco, but we all know that.

Jim: I think you should really run for President, you are saying some good stuff today. I’m being serious.

I want to take it to the emo kids right now. You are one of the few hip hoppers that will play Bamboozle-type festivals. When you go into these events are the kids ever afraid of you?

Murs: No, because I give them a warning. I come out and I say I’m going to say the “B” word, the “N” word, F-U-C-K, you know? Last Bamboozle I did, it was funny, I did a cover of “Boyz in the Hood” by Eazy-E and all the kids knew the words. It blew my f’ing mind.

I did it really so I could piss them off, but then they weren’t pissed. And I was like, “This is freaking dope!” Like, everybody knows Easy E. That’s what I figure now, especially with the internet, a kid will have [everything] on their iPod: Dre, 50 Cent, Against Me!, Rise Against, Vampire Weekend, Murs, Atmosphere, Sage Francis, 36 Mafia. And [the kids] are all confused and they are all f’ed up, and that’s great man. You know what I mean? That is going to promote the new unity in America and in the world. Watch.

Jim: And then, finally, we do a show called Lunchbox on IFC.com. Did you ever own a lunchbox?

Murs: Never did. My Mom would never [buy me one], because I lost shit when I was young. But I bought two Kill Bill lunchboxes for $50 a piece and I took it to the studio every day when I was recording my new album. I always wanted a metal lunch box and my girlfriend makes fun of me, because I was deprived in my childhood–rough, single Mother, blah, blah, blah. So now that I’m older I get all the shit. I buy hella Transformers because I never really had a lot of toys and shit.

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(left: Brawn, one of the more inexpensive Transformers sold in the plastic bubble packs.)

Jim: I hear you. When I was a kid my family couldn’t afford the big Transformers, so I only got the ones they sold in bubble packs: Bumble Bee, Cliffhanger, and Brawn.

Murs: Yes, exactly, none of the big shit.

Jim: No Wheel Jack, no Optimist Prime.

Murs: I had a little brother so for Christmas we would get one big Transformer and we had to share it. I couldn’t get over the fact why I couldn’t have the Metroplex Transformer–Mom it’s only $64.99! I finally got it and I was so freaking enthused and it was still a piece of crap man. It wasn’t well made. It was American and it freaking fell apart. But, you know, that was the only big Transformer I ever got. So now I buy every toy imaginable.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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