DID YOU READ

Tracy Morgan’s “Funeral” March

Tracy Morgan’s “Funeral” March (photo)

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If his widely perceived reputation is deserved, you never know what “30 Rock” star and former “Saturday Night Live” funnyman Tracy Morgan might say or do next. For instance, who would have guessed that his next film role would be in the ensemble cast of “Death at a Funeral,” a remake of Frank Oz’s 2007 British comedy, here helmed by “In the Company of Men” auteur Neil LaBute? (To be fair, who predicted LaBute would also have remade “The Wicker Man”?)

Morgan co-stars alongside Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover, Luke Wilson, Zoe Saldana and Peter Dinklage as the buffoonish Norman, whose grinning antics fit right in as a dysfunctional family reunites to mourn the loss of their patriarch. Speaking to Morgan by phone, that unpredictability he’s known for seemed to make more sense after his cheery introduction quickly soured, and I got the suspicious feeling he couldn’t wait to be done talking with me.

I’m of two minds about funerals. Do you find them to be more celebratory remembrances, or simply real downers?

Of course, it’s a downer. It’s a funeral! People’s lives are shattered, you know? It’s not fun and games! It’s not like they have funerals at comedy clubs. The comedy in the movie is just a layer, one of the layers on top of the funeral. The movie’s really about family. It’s about acceptance and things like that.

Understood. But even if death is depressing, funerals themselves are about gathering to respect a person’s life, no?

Yeah, that’s what we’re doing. That’s what the movie’s about. That’s the moral of the whole story.

04132010_TracyMorganDeathataFuneral2.jpgBesides working with Chris Rock again, what made you want to take part in a remake of a movie that only came out three years ago?

First of all, Chris is a dear friend of mine. Martin Lawrence is a hero, Chris is a hero. The list of people that I heard were working on the movie inspired me, and I was like, “I wanna be a part of this.”

Did you see the original film?

Yes, two days before we started shooting. I was inspired. I was like, “This is a funny movie.”

For those who haven’t yet seen your version, what would you say is different about the two films besides the cast?

I think we were able to sit back and see the mistakes that they made in the version and correct it. We tweaked a few things here and there. All the same, it’s funny.

What kinds of mistakes?

I can’t pinpoint one mistake out, you know? Because they did it already, we were able to see the things that they should have did in the first one, and we were able to complement the first movie. You know, British humor is different than American humor. This is not just a black movie, it’s American. It’s just different. We’re a little bit over the top at times.

If I’m not mistaken, you’re playing a role that originated with Ewan Bremner. It’s funny to think you’d be considered the American equivalent of Spud from “Trainspotting.”

Mm-hmm, absolutely.

Did you ever see him in that film?

Absolu… No, I haven’t.

04132010_TracyMorganDannyGlover.jpgDo you have anyone in your family who is hard to deal with, like Danny Glover’s character Uncle Russell?

Yes, and I think everyone has that. That comes with age. Most older people, as they get older, their bones hurt and things slow down, you know? You just become a little bit more grumpy.

Being aware of this, do you still see yourself becoming a cranky old man?

Oh, I couldn’t tell you. I’m a long way from that point in my life, man.

What could you tell me about working with Danny Glover that people might be surprised to hear?

I thought it was a treat. He’s an icon, a legend, as far as acting is concerned. To be able to share space and do a scene like that with Danny Glover is awesome, man. My street cred went through the roof.

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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.