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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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Uncle-Buck

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

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.

via GIPHY

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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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