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DID YOU READ

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…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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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