DID YOU READ

Rachel Dratch’s Big Fat Greek Adventure

Rachel Dratch’s Big Fat Greek Adventure (photo)

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After six seasons as a “Saturday Night Live” player, offbeat funny lady Rachel Dratch leapt away from a show she calls a safety net to pursue other TV (“30 Rock”) and film roles (“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” “Spring Breakdown”). Her latest opportunity to make us giggle is the new rom-com “My Life in Ruins,” which stars Nia Vardalos as a frazzled Greek tour guide (get the title now?) trying to get her “kefi” (groove, mojo, etc.) back. Dratch plays a shrill, uncultured American tourist with whom Vardalos is stuck, with the equally eccentric-humored Harland Williams as Dratch’s oblivious beau. Definitely not a Debbie Downer in real life, Dratch was in great spirits as we sat down to discuss the film’s hard-partying Spanish crew, her theory on funny women, and who was the best lay on “SNL.”

If there’s one thing I gleaned from “My Life in Ruins,” it’s that Americans are the worst tourists ever.

I think they might be, at least for comedy purposes. We had to make them that way. There’s definitely a stereotype that we were playing. You don’t have to be an actor or study society. Everybody’s seen this person in their white sneakers and knee socks and loud voice.

When traveling abroad, do you ever feel self-consciously American?

Not really, although I definitely go for comfort shoes over fashion, like French lady shoes. Maybe that’s where I stand out as an American — I always wear sneakers over there. I hadn’t been to Greece, but we also shot in Spain. There were Spanish women working on this movie with us, and they were always in fancy nice shoes. I was like, “Screw that!”

Do you have any good stories about working with the locals?

The Spanish crew would stay up and party all night long, and then they’d show up for work the next morning. It was six o’clock in the morning! If it was the U.S., people would be like, “Ohhh, I’m so hungover.” Nobody ever complained or even looked tired. They were party machines. But I found out afterward that everyone was on cocaine. I think coke is really big over there, I don’t know. None of us [were], of course. [laughs]

What do people not know about Harland Williams?

Oh my god. He’s an old softie! [laughs] He’s a really weird dude with a gooey center, the king of the non-sequitur. But he’s also the caring, teddy bear kind of guy, even though he’s got an odd brain.

Have you ever been confronted by someone you’ve done a comic impression of on “SNL”?

I did meet Barbara Walters, and I had an impression of her, but that wasn’t so bad. I think Gilda Radner’s impression of [Walters] bummed her out a little bit because it was all about the way she spoke. Mine was pretty tame, so I might’ve gotten off easy. I didn’t do too many impressions on “SNL,” really.

06022009_MyLifeinRuins2.jpgI don’t know, according to Wikipedia…

See, I didn’t write that. They probably threw in people that I don’t [really] do an impression of, like, for one scene or something. Who writes those Wikipedia pages?

Were there any moments on “SNL” when a sketch was written, and an impression wasn’t working out at the last possible moment?

I think that happens more for the guys doing the political people. We went through eight George Bushes. Once Will Ferrell left, it was like, “Screen test! Who will play…” That never happened to me. By the time it’s at the read-through table, if the scene get picked, your impression’s probably already good. Like I said, I didn’t attempt too many people.

You have degrees from Dartmouth in drama and psychology. How often do you utilize the latter?

It comes up when I’m just talking to my friends and having them sort out their problems. It gives me my little therapist jones. It’s the road not taken that I sometimes still think about. I love analyzing people’s dreams, stuff like that. I get my jollies by being an armchair therapist. In terms of approaching work, I guess it’s the same — just observing different types of people. What makes them tick? That sounds so pretentious. [laughs]

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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…

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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. 

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.