Danny McBride, That Funny Dude From That Movie

Danny McBride, That Funny Dude From That Movie (photo)

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Actor and sometime screenwriter Danny McBride has risen to the top of Hollywood’s comedy food chain, having handily stolen scenes from Ben Stiller (“Tropic Thunder”) and Will Ferrell (“Land of the Lost”), and become the headliner of his own series as washed-up baseballer Kenny Powers on HBO’s “Eastbound & Down,” a series he helped conceive. McBride’s success is deserved, though he certainly gets by with a little help from his friends. Long before he was the “thug life”-lovin’ drug supplier in director David Gordon Green‘s “Pineapple Express,” he served as a second unit director on Green’s 2000 arthouse breakthrough “George Washington.” And he wouldn’t have had a cameo in Jody Hill‘s “Observe and Report” if he hadn’t co-wrote and starred in Hill’s indie cult fave “The Foot Fist Way” as a renegade Taekwondo instructor who beats up kids.

Momentarily ditching his usual partners in crime, McBride can next be seen in “Up in the Air,” an Oscar-buzzing new dramedy from “Juno” director Jason Reitman. Based on Walter Kirn’s novel, the film stars George Clooney as a contractor who gets hired to fire corporate employees around the country, and whose chief passion in life is racking up ten million airline miles. In a brief but memorable role, McBride plays Clooney’s brother-in-law to be, a reluctant groom who must be talked down from the proverbial ledge just before his own wedding. By phone, McBride and I spoke about his worst airplane experience, getting away with murder in Hollywood and how his hair is comparable to a famous thespian’s nose.

You’ve probably spent a lot more time in airports and on planes since your career took off, no pun intended. Do you find any pleasure in the mundane processes of travel?

You know, I don’t mind time on a plane. For however long the trip is, people can’t reach you, you don’t have to deal with shit, and you can just sleep and read. I love that. I hate going to airports, though. I don’t really find much satisfaction in going through security.

What’s the worst traveling experience you’ve ever had?

Me and my fiancée tried to fly our cats from Los Angeles to our home in Virginia. It was a fucking nightmare. One of the cats doesn’t like flying at all, so we took him to the vet and he gave us these tranquilizers. All it did was turn him into a drunk monster. He was making these weird growls I’d never heard him do before. Cats have that weird third eyelid that comes out from the middle — that was out. It was horrifying. We threw him out the window.

We’ve all had cold feet about something. Can you think of any monumental indecisions you’ve experienced?

None that have ever come down to the wire like the one for the character I play in the film. I feel like if you’re going to get cold feet at a wedding, it’s probably nice to do it before the rehearsal dinner so people don’t check into hotels and everything.

So your fiancée has nothing to worry about?

No, I own all my decisions. But we’ve been engaged for two years, so I need to figure it out and get moving.

This may be the first film you’ve been a part of that’s getting serious Academy Award buzz. During the production, did you sense that this film might touch the cultural zeitgeist, as it were?

When you make a choice to be in something, you always hope that it resonates with people. There was always something special about this. I remember when I first got the script, when Jason sent it to me, I really responded to it. It was an intelligent piece of work. I liked the tone, and how [Reitman] intercuts real people who’ve been laid off with the rest of the movie. It has really good performances in there from Clooney and Anna [Kendrick] and Vera [Farmiga] and everyone. There’s something captivating about it.

12022009_UpintheAir2.jpgIt’s been famously said of Laurence Olivier that he acted with his nose. For you, however, would it be safe to say that your hair has been one of your comic weapons?

It has been a comic weapon indeed. [laughs] I just have fuckin’ lame hair so it’s easy to make it do weird shit. I think people take advantage of that when they get in the room with me. It’s somewhere between Slim Goodbody in the ’70s and, like, Greg Brady.

Now that you and your pals Jody Hill and David Gordon Green have crossed over into mainstream success, have you felt any added pressure to make creative compromises?

You know, our background is independent film, and I think that spirit is something we will never give way from. We’re somehow finding careers in Hollywood that I don’t think are typical. A lot of times, we look at each other on these different projects we’re on, and it’s like: “These people should not have let us come in here and do this.”

This summer, we shot “Your Highness,” this movie I made with David Green, something that Ben Best and myself wrote. It’s a big fantasy movie, we had Natalie Portman and James Franco, and every single day, David and I would look at each other and be like: “It was ten years ago that we were shooting ‘George Washington,’ and now we’re in Belfast making this thing.”

It’s always good to work with your buddies, especially when you’ve been in the trenches with them on no-budget films, and then you have the luxuries of the big-budget films. We like to keep the same sensibilities and just go for it, make something that’s unexpected, with the freedoms you have when you are on something small like “The Foot Fist Way.”


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.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

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



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.


Self Defense

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


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