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2008…Never Say Never

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Ironically, Metallica released a single in 2008 called “The Day That Never Comes.”

(left: Oh the memories of ’08.)

But in many ways, 2008 was “The Day That Did Come,” even for the band mentioned above, who released a back-to-form album, Death Magnetic, which included 8-minute songs, guitar solos, and the return of the old Metallica logo (surfaces of high school desks beware).

For those who have ever uttered the word “never,” 2008 was a year for them to eat their words:

Guns N’ Roses will never release Chinese Democracy. Really? Believe it or not, in 2008 they actually did, and it seemed like the perfect time to do so–the balance of apathy, anticipation, and high/low expectations was just right. Critics were ready to slam the album (as some did), but I think many were just happy to see Axl Rose back, with or without Slash and Duff.

There’ll never be a black president. Hmm, interesting, in about a month we’re going to swear one into the White House. President-Elect Barack Obama went 15-rounds with Hilary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries before beating John McCain by TKO in the Presidential election.

Never say never.

Over the last decade, indie music fans chuckled whenever they heard Wayne Coyne talk about the holiday movie that he was working on in his backyard. Yeah right, Christmas on Mars will never see the light of day. Guess what? Not only was it released this year, but the Flaming Lips also put together a mega-deluxe edition of Christmas On Mars (which includes trading cards, stickers, a soundtrack, a t-shirt, and some popcorn), just in time for Christmas…on Earth.

Eight gold medals in one Olympics? That’s never going to happen. Wrong again, Michael Phelps swam to eight gold medal victories this summer in eight different events–that’s more than any human being has ever won at one Olympic Games. Even if you’re sick of seeing his face on television commercials, you gotta respect his unprecedented achievement. (I don’t think I could tie my shoes eight times in a row.)

Never thought you’d see Zack De La Rocha release a solo album or side-project? Think again. Since 2000, we’ve been waiting for De Le Rocha’s solo album to drop, an effort that (apparently) features production from Trent Reznor, ?uestlove, and DJ Shadow. Because De La Rocha is a perfectionist extraordinaire, the album has been put on hold, and some speculate whether it will ever be released. This year, in a move somewhat surprising for a perfectionist, De La Rocha–supplying keyboard riffs and vocals–teamed up with former Mars Volta drummer, Joe Theodore, to form the group One Day As A Lion. They even released a 5-song EP–that’s five more songs than some people thought they’d ever see from a non-Rage Against The Machine, De La Rocha project.

Never say never.

Gas will never be cheap again. How’s $1.30 per gallon sound to you?

O.J. will never go to jail. Guess where he’ll be spending the holidays (and the next few years)?

Never thought a moose-hunting-mother-of-five could be an election and one heart attack away from being the most powerful person in the world?

Never say never.

Never thought the fastest race ever run by a human being could also include a 15-meter, self-congratulatory dance celebration (from a guy named after a lightning bolt)?

Never thought billion dollar corporations could rack up debt like a 15-year old girl going on a spending spree with her parent’s credit card?

Never thought you’d see a better Joker than Jack Nicholson?

Never thought an ex-stripper named after the devil would win an academy award for her very first screenplay (a story about a pregnant teenager with a penchant for witty slang)?

Never thought you’d see the last game at Yankee Stadium?

Never thought you’d see Brett Favre play football again?

Never thought you’d see Britney Spears with a full head of hair and her career back on track?

Never thought you’d see Trent Reznor giving away Nine Inch Nails albums away for free?

Never thought you’d see CBGB’s turn into an upscale clothing boutique?

Never thought you’d see Chinese Democracy? How about democracy in China?

Never say never, there’s always 2009…



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.