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From “My Girl” to “The Good Guy”

From “My Girl” to “The Good Guy” (photo)

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Though you might remember Anna Chlumsky as the perky child star of “My Girl” and “Gold Diggers,” you can stop pretending that the 29-year-old actress is still a kid. After some years off from acting, during which she pursued a different career altogether, Chlumsky resurfaced on both the small screen (with appearances on “30 Rock” and last year’s “Cupid”) and the big one (the Oscar-nominated “In the Loop”). Next up for her is writer-director Julio DePietro’s romantic dramedy “The Good Guy,” starring Alexis Bledel as an urban conservationist in Manhattan who is torn between two Wall Street traders (Scott Porter and Bryan Greenberg), one of whom works for the other. In a brief but memorable supporting role, Chlumsky plays one of Bledel’s upwardly mobile friends who has just been burned in the New York dating game. In support of the film, Chlumsky called me to discuss dating, bars, what brought her back into acting, and how a TV theme song used to get her through the day.

When there are so many smart, artistic professionals in New York City, why do women still complain about how hard it is to date here?

I’ve been lucky to not have had to do the whole dating fiasco in New York because I’ve been with my husband for quite some time. But a lot of my girlfriends talk about how difficult this city is for them to find good men. In New York, people are driven and ambitious and they know themselves really well as far as what their goals are, so I think they turn love into a goal: “I want this, this, this and this,” as if they would order from a menu. Then they get angry that that order comes burnt. [laughs] New Yorkers are used to getting what they want, and what the best of relationships teach us is that sometimes it’s not necessarily about compromise, but freeing yourself up for the things you haven’t thought of. It’s not a control-driven game, romance and love.

02172010_GoodGuy1.jpgSome of your scenes take place in bars, and in another interview, you jokingly referenced your past as a “boozehound.” I’m curious what your favorite New York haunts are in real life.

My favorite place, Circus, is now closed. It just got shut up and we don’t know what happened to it. For a cheap dive, I enjoy hanging around in Hell’s Kitchen, especially if it’s after a show. I also love our new neighborhood place, The Brooklyn Public House — it’s fantastic. Sometimes, when you want to partake in this whole cocktail culture that they’ve got going now, [my husband] Shaun and I like Freemans. I’m also appreciating the resurgence of bourbon bars and rye. I’m talking like a boozehound still, but maybe I’m refining myself a little more. [laughs]

The movie’s soundtrack is packed with indie rock. Does that mesh with your own musical tastes?

I’m such a square. I’m not as hip as anybody who’s over the [Williamsburg] Bridge. I might be totally behind the times — like, they may have been cool two years ago, I don’t know — but I really like The Coral, out of Liverpool. There is an amazing Brooklyn band that we love, The Budos Band. We played them on our iTunes at our wedding. I always have a lot of Brazilian music on my iPod, like Daniela Mercury, and also Columbian stuff, like Carlos Vives. Oh, and Lily Allen, I love her!

Anybody who writes about you always feels the need to use the phrase “former child actor.” As an adult who still acts, do you feel there’s a stigma to that term?

I certainly do, but you just have to embrace what you can’t control. How am I going to control how people refer to me? I used to be an editor, I considered journalism — and even more marginalized, entertainment journalism. It has its own rules and style. The first thing that I think journalists do, and you can tell me this or not, is to remind people exactly what they would know this person from. So it’s just another variable: “Oh, we can stick that one in there so people can put her in context.” I learned not to take it personally that people still want me to be ten years old. [laughs]

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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.


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…


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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