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Louis C.K.: “Hilarious” Ain’t Half of It

Louis C.K.: “Hilarious” Ain’t Half of It (photo)

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If you’ve been watching Louis C.K.’s phenomenal new show “Louie,” which just wrapped an against-expectations successful season on FX, you might, on seeing the man live, feel a strong urge to give him a hug. He seems like he could use one. C.K., who brought his stand-up concert doc “Louis C.K.: Hilarious,” shot at a 2009 performance in Milwaukee, to NYC’s IFC Center last night and tonight, is a maestro of his own misery, using breathtakingly profane comedy to chronicle his recent divorce, his reentry into the dating scene, his experiences caring for his two daughters, aging, his looks and, overall, the ever-more-real threat of mortality. There have always been comics who’ve traded on failure and self-loathing, but there’s a warmth to “Louie” that belies its notably dark territory.

Whether being bullied by a teenager, discussing gay slurs over poker or looking up an old crush on Facebook, C.K. embodies a practically spiritual belief in the power of unswerving honesty. That inability to disassemble, seen in both the variation on himself he plays and in the characters he encounters, leads to excruciatingly awkward scenes (“Its easier to masturbate if I use this lubricant,” he explains to a TSA worker in episode five) but also moments of blindsiding humanity and connection that are all the more powerful for coming out of such unsentimental situations.

“Louis C.K.: Hilarious,” which had its premiere as the first stand-up concert film to screen at Sundance earlier this year, is, like “Louie,” written and directed by C.K. The film’s playing in eights cities before heading to a TV premiere on Epix on the 18th and, eventually, DVD. “Hilarious” differs from typical comedy specials by being shot up close and personal on the RED, with a jib and a Steadicam on stage — C.K. said in the Q&A after the screening that he was inspired by Led Zeppelin concert film “The Song Remains the Same.”

09092010_hilarious3.jpgThe results are mixed — there’s an intimacy that you can’t get from a camera mounted in the back of the room, but the relentless lean in can start to seem a little claustrophobic, skipping larger movement (a bit about taking the jerk-off gesture to its conclusion loses something when, initially, the gesture takes place out of frame) in favor of watching the sweat bead on C.K.’s forehead.

But it’s engrossing to see the progress of C.K.’s material, which he breaks down as evolving over about a year, starting with formative gigs in NYC comedy clubs, leading to first 20, then 45 minutes of material that becomes a headline tour show and ultimately a special or, this year, the series. “Hilarious” covers plenty of C.K.’s (and “Louie”‘s) favorite themes, and has some obvious through lines, from his compulsive solitary consumption of ice cream to being told by a doctor “you’re only cosmetically overweight” to a trip to a nightclub to a tale of childcare disaster and epiphany that echoes the final show in the series. Other segments are consistent in sentiment, from a bit on the “white person problems” Americans complain about (uncaring about the far more serious issues plenty of people in the rest of the world face) to hyperbole in word choice — “we go right to the top shelf with words these days” — leading to the film’s title.

Answering questions after the screening, C.K. addressed the show (FX doesn’t give notes until a full episode is delivered) and its renewal (called in for a meeting, he expected problems with the just finished “God” episode, and instead was told season two was a go). He also discussed last week’s drunken Twitter tirade, during which he took shots at Sarah Palin (who he described as “a beautiful villain”), only to end up guesting on “The Tonight Show” with her daughter Bristol the next day. “It was weird to sit next Hitler’s daughter, who’s famous for having a baby too young,” he noted, but in characteristic fashion, the anecdote ended with his realizing she was terrified and nervous, and telling her she’d done a good job: “She’s just a person.”


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.