DID YOU READ

A Brief Interview With Comedy Death Ray’s Scott Aukerman

A Brief Interview With Comedy Death Ray’s Scott Aukerman (photo)

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Photo: Seth Olenick

Tonight on IFC we are starting off the new year with a bang of new programming: The Larry Sanders Show, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and The Ben Stiller Show all premiere on IFC this week. To accompany our exciting new shows we asked Scott Aukerman from LA’s famed Comedy Death Ray to host a series of interviews with the stars, producers, and writers behind these great comedies. The interviews will be shown during our new comedy blocks that start tonight when Larry Sanders Show hits the air at 11 p.m. ET. Aukerman graciously allowed us to turn the tables on the notorious interviewer and answered a few of our most nosy questions about Comedy Death Ray, a show he may or may not be working on with Patton Oswalt, and why he wants to kill Robert Redford.

IFC Now: I wanted to start this interview off with an easy question. So Scott, how much money do you make?

Scott Aukerman: When I ask people that question, I press them to give a real answer, but most people either give a real answer that sounds like they’re faking or a fake answer. So I’m going to say $600,000 and you can figure out which type of answer that is.

IFC Now: What is the etymology of your catch phrase “What’s up, hot dog?”

Scott Aukerman: I was a guest on my friend Jimmy Pardo’s “Never Not Funny” podcast and they tape right above a 7-11. I was in there right before the taping and overheard a bizarre very uncomfortable conversation that included the phrase “What’s up, hot dog?” I immediately went upstairs and told the entire story and then made it become my catchphrase. But! It’s been retired now. I may have a contest to create a new catchphrase.

IFC Now: How do you describe your show Comedy Death Ray to people who haven’t made it to L.A. recently or ever?

Scott Aukerman: There are no words. None! First the problem is the English language. We would need something more ancient. Cuneiforms perhaps might suffice. But seriously, have you ever seen stand up comedy? It’s one of those.

IFC Now: Who’s your favorite Comedy Death Ray character?

Scott Aukerman: Dismissive Jimmy Stewart.

IFC Now: You are the host of a podcast of the same name, Comedy Death Ray Radio. Who have been some of your favorite guests?

Scott Aukerman: It’s available on iTunes. As opposed to the regulars who are on the show a lot, both Jon Hamm and Weird Al [Yankovic], as famous as those two people are, they are very willing to do anything.

IFC Now: I understand you are also working on a show with Patton Oswalt?

Scott Aukerman: Yes, it exists. We are writing it right now and Fox will decide if they will make it in about a month. It’s funny. It would fall in the category of comedy or maybe drama.

IFC Now: IFC asked you to host a series of interviews with comedians that will air during our new comedy bloc. What can we look forward to in those interviews?

Scott Aukerman: They started out with me getting together with everyone involved in the shows. I originally thought it would be informational, but IFC encouraged me to have fun with the interviews. So I did. For example, I asked Paul F Tompkins three real questions and they never got answered. Ever. There are a bunch of great guests including Judd Apatow, Paul Feig, Janeane Garofalo, [Bob] Odenkirk. Later in the season the interviews and interstitials get even more fun. Other things to look for: In between weeks two and three I will lose 25 pounds.

IFC Now: Wow. What kind of diet was that?

Scott Aukerman: Can’t talk about it.

IFC Now: Let’s just say the ZZ Top diet then. What was your favorite interview?

Scott Aukerman: All the interviews turned out really well. I think it’s because I’m — what do you call it — not a non-com. I worked on one of the shows. I was involved, I know the people. It was an easy interview. People really let down their guard. But, to answer the question: Paul F. Tompkins

IFC Now: Is he right there holding a gun to your head?

Scott Aukerman: Yes.

IFC Now: Paul F. Tompkins it is then. Moving on. Today on Twitter (@IFCdotCom), in relation to the film “The Clearing,” we were asking people a very tough question: Fuck/Marry/Kill Robert Redford, Willem Dafoe, Helen Mirren.

Scott Aukerman: Hmm…FMK all of them in reverse order?

IFC Now: Is that legal in California? Also, no. The rules clearly state no.

Scott Aukerman: Well first, you should never use that language in a professional interview it just gives people an excuse not to read your work. Second, Fuck Mirren since she technically has a vagina. Marry= Defoe because he seems like a stoner and seems like a cool laidback dude. Kill Robert Redford but stage it so it looks like he killed himself via autoerotic asphyxiation.

IFC Now: Bold. A follow up question: F/M/K Todd Margaret, Larry Sanders, or Ben Stiller as Tom Cruise?

Scott Aukerman: Well Ben Stiller has been a movie star for a long time and he really takes care of himself and is the most physically appealing. So fuck him. Marry Larry Sanders. Kill Todd Margaret, because David [Cross] insulted me once.

IFC Now: Do you have a favorite sketch from Mr. Show?

Scott Aukerman: As a fan, the banana episode was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. They took something that was a throw away at the beginning of the episode and then brought it back at the end. It was just amazing. Also, the live sketches they did while they were trying to get the show made — at the Upfront Theater — were amazing. They made me want to write for them.

IFC Now: And you did write for them, right?

Scott Aukerman: Yes, I worked on Mr. Show for the fourth season and the ill-fated movie.

IFC Now: Of Mr. Show, Larry Sanders, Ben Stiller Show, and Action! Which would you rather watch for all eternity?

Scott Aukerman: Action! Definitely. The title implies excitement. Would you rather watch Airport 77 or Airplane! You would watch “Airplane!” because of the exclamation.

IFC Now: So …Comedy Death Ray! then?

Scott Aukerman: Maybe!

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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