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IT’S LIKE THAT: Here’s To “The Sag”

IT’S LIKE THAT:  Here’s To “The Sag” (photo)

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Just the other day while I was taking the subway downtown, I noticed a teenager wearing a pair of jeans (purposely) drooped down to his kneecaps. It caught my attention, because he was also wearing a long, baggy shirt, which made it look like he had a really loooonnnggg torso. Even if this kid pulled up his pants, I doubt his drawers could’ve reached his waist.

Was he wearing little kid pants?!

(left: The drawers and the people who sag them.)

Whatever fashion concoction he was working on, it was evident that the teen was inspired by “the sag”. If you’ve been living in a cave for the last 20 years, it’s the style in which one wears their pants just below the waist, while letting a glimpse of underwear peak out above their beltline (how big the glimpse is up to you).

I speak of “the sag” today, because when the kid with the long torso passed, it occurred to me that “the sag” has never fully gone out of style. It’s not as prevalent today–especially since it’s not as easy to sag skinny jeans–but it’s still around. Go to a place where the tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings gather, and you’ll see more waistbands than you will in a Fruit Of A Loom commercial.

My first exposure to “the sag” was in high school–late ’80’s/early ’90’s–right around the time the style reached its tipping point. Gangsta-rap-music-worshipping teens were the first to loosen their belt buckles. They were paying homage to their favorite rappers of the time, who in turn, were paying homage to their favorite comrades and/or homies doing time.

Do an internet search on “the sag”, and you’ll quickly discover the trend of perpetually pulling up your pants began in prison. Jailhouse uniforms aren’t as size specific as an outfit you’d try on at H&M, so you could imagine why prisoners were always tugging on their belt loops. And speaking of belts, most prisons don’t allow them because A.) They make for good weapons, and B.) They make for good hangman nooses.

Gangsta rap, which was gaining mainstream popularity in the early 90’s, began glorifying the darker side of street life–everything from gang symbols to drug references to wearing baggy pants like a convicted felon. Because America has a fascination with gangstas (why else do you think you can catch The Godfather on television any day of the week?), kids started to dress and act like their favorite gangsta rappers (you didn’t really think that many people were fans of the Los Angeles Raiders, did you?).

At first, seeing someone’s underwear poke out of their pants was somewhat unsettling–I mean, c’mon, it is called underwear. But month after month, year after year, more people started to do it. A couple years into the ’90s, pop music started to adopt the fashion trend, and before long not only was Ice T and N.W.A. sporting “the sag,” but so was Marky Mark and TLC. Even alternative music artists began adopting the fad, and before long it seemed that at least one artist from every genre in music was dropping their drawers.

During my senior year of high school, I joined in on the fun too–although my sag was always pretty conservative (the maximum I went was about three inches below my butt dimples). Unlike some of my suburban classmates who began sandwiching their sentences with the word “yo,” I didn’t adopt the gangsta rap mentality–butt (pun intended)–I’d be lying if I told you “the sag” didn’t give me a smidgen of empowerment. The only thing I didn’t like about the sag–besides people abusing its power by going total butt cheek on everyone–was its seemingly short life span. I saw too many pictures of my parents in the ’70s and didn’t want my future children to snicker at me the same way I did when I saw my Dad and Mom in tinted glasses, butterfly-collared shirts, and bell-bottom pants.

I thought for sure “the sag” would be dead by the time I graduated from college. Not only was it going strong, but many metal bands–yes, metal, the same genre of music that brought us spandex jumpsuits–began playing rap music, and you guessed it, gave everyone a good look at their boxer shorts. In the actual world of rap music, Eminem, who was just starting to make a name for himself, added an interesting twist to “the sag” by hiking up his underpants. In the 2000’s, punk rock and emo kids–who began drooping their drawers the previous decade–began wearing tight jeans, yet somehow managed to maintain “the sag,” even while wearing a studded belt. (Yes, I know, it defies logic.)

In the early to mid 00’s, the fashion world conceded to “the sag” by bringing back low-rider jeans, or as I like to call them: underwear-ready pants. Wouldn’t you know it, people even began sagging their low-riders.

As I get to an age where I begin thinking about having children, it seems like I don’t have to concern myself with how my waistline looks in old photographs anymore. Twenty years strong and it doesn’t look like “the sag” is going anywhere (even though various state lawmakers have tried to ban the style).

So c’mon people, feel free to go one notch wider on your belt, let the waistband on your underwear see the light of day, but just don’t go too low–otherwise it may look like you have a Michael Phelps-sized torso on top of David Archuleta-sized legs, which makes great fodder for a Monday afternoon blog posting.

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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…


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.



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 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….


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.


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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