DID YOU READ

A Brief Interview With The Whitest Kids U’Know’s Timmy Williams

A Brief Interview With The Whitest Kids U’Know’s Timmy Williams (photo)

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The fifth and final season of the sketch comedy show The Whitest Kids U’Know is underway at IFC. We are showing new episodes of one of the wackiest, crassest, and funniest show around every Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET. As an added bonus each episode has another chapter of The Civil War on Drugs, the historical drama that the Kids made to document the journey to legalize marijuana during the war between the states.

As we bid farewell to the Whitest Kids, we are taking some time to chat with each member of the troupe and to get their thoughts on comedy, their favorite moments from the five seasons the series ran on IFC, and the Civil War on Drugs. Today we talk to Timmy Williams. You may know him from the many characters he has played on the show who are also named “Timmy.” He’s also the Whitest Kid most likely to get up and dance in his underwear.

What was the very first bit or act you ever did on the air, do you remember?

Oh man, I don’t know. What was in the first episode? I don’t know, I would have to look it up.

I stumped you on the first question?

Yeah, let me think, what was in the first episode? I show up in the Hitler video. I don’t know? The classroom sketch where my mom is dead? Oh, the Lincoln sketch!

Do sketches just come to you or do you hole up in a room and hammer them out?

We hole up and everyone writes and then everyone shares what they wrote. Sometimes people bring ideas in, but generally it’s all five of us together.

In the season premiere you play a phone sex operator named Baked Beans who pours baked beans all over her chest. What was the inspiration for this sketch?

I don’t know. Most of the sketches that involve me in a compromising situation mean that I wasn’t there that day when they wrote. So I showed up and there it was. Like, Timmy dance, too. It was a live thing. Originally Zack wanted to see me dance to silly music. I can’t remember why the underwear thing happened. I think we did Timmy dance write after I took my shirt off for a different sketch and I didn’t have time to put a shirt on and it slowly involved into me dancing in my underwear. Zack is usually involved in getting me undressed.

What are some of the sketches you’re most proud of?

Elegant Tiger King. I’m also proud of Baked Beans and everyone is grossed out by it. Yeah, it’s gross. Also really proud of Submarine Sandwich, because that was the moment we realized that we could write any stupid thing and pay money to make it real.

We always have fun making the show. Even when I was getting hit with the baked beans. It was shot out of a t-shirt gun and it really hurt and I had welts and stuff. But we always have fun and giddiness. We get really excited.

What’s the best and worst reactions you’ve ever gotten from a sketch?

The best are all the good reactions to the Civil War movie. The very best reaction? Lincoln sketch. The worst? Well, Baked Beans is up there. But otherwise, stuff that just didn’t work, some stuff that people are against that makes people think we are being homophobic or racist. But we’re not, we are just showing characters who are and showing how dumb it is.

What are some of your favorite qualities or traits about the other members of WKUK?

Trevor has great ideas. A lot of the sketches come from him and then we throw stuff on to his idea. Zach is a really hard worker and I enjoy being directed by him and I think we all become pretty good actors with him directing. Darren is good at playing the girl. He was the last in the troupe and brought this little kid sense of humor that I like and it wasn’t there before. Sam has this gentle childish quality about him, but he is also a party animal. Sam and I both play ourselves all the time. Sam himself is just funny and awesome.

What is your favorite sketch moment for season five of WKUK?

Ocean 2.0, which is coming up, is a sketch about an oil company trying to turn a spill into a positive thing. Sort of ripped from the headlines, but when we write things that pertain to certain events we try to take any exclusivity out of it, so you can watch it in 10 years. Originally it was pitched as a boardroom meeting, but then Trevor suggested making it as a commercial. Also, the last sketch that is shown, I wrote directed and acted in and is one of the only ones where it’s just one person.

How often do you direct?

Trevor and Jack generally direct; we all write everything. Trevor’s songs are generally just Trevor, but we all write and do it together. There are things here or there that I do though.

Where did the idea for the “Civil War on Drugs” movie come from?
Sam and Trevor had that one a long time ago. Like 2001 or 2002. Before I was in the troupe, so definitely a long time ago. It was just the title and so when we got to season five we just did it up.

What was it like to make a whole movie within a sketch show season? I don’t think it’s something has been done before.

It was hard, it required a lot of hard work for everybody involved because we didn’t have a budget to make a movie along side the TV show. If you watch the movie almost every character is played by one of us. I play at least twelve people. Every member of the crew was an extra, everyone got poison ivy, it was hot, it was hard. But the end product is definitely great

Who are some of you sketch heroes? Have you ever gotten to meet any of them?

A lot of them! Monty Python, especially Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. We were in the IFC documentary on the Pythons for about 3 seconds and we got to go to the premiere and talk with them. We’ve met The Kids in the Hall because our producer Jim Biederman worked with them. Mr. Show was always a big influence. Bob Odenkirk said really nice things about us. We like “The State”. You know, sketch comedy is a close-knit community, but Whitest Kids are kind of their own thing. UCB in NYC is getting huge, and the comedy stars coming out of it and the comedy bar scene are huge. But we’ve always known them but been one step out of that circle.

Is that a good thing or did it make it harder on the Whitest Kids?
There are few people our age who got their own thoughts and stuff onto TV for, like, five years. There are people from that time in NYC five years ago, who have more money, more fame, more success, but we got to do our own thing pretty much exactly how we wanted it. Not many people get to do that, and we did.

What’s next for you?

Slowly getting back into acting. I got an agent and I’m also pitching some comic books. Doing some stand up in Portland.

I hear that your first child is due in June. Do you think sketch comedy has prepared your for fatherhood?

Maybe. A lot of our sketches really show what not what to do. There are a lot of bad dads in season 4. My character in the Civil War On Drugs is a good dad. But, sketch comedy and being in charge of your own show, it prepares you for anything. And one of the most important things in life in general is having a good sense of humor. Working on a lower budget TV show teaches you to problem solve and to think on your feet and work with other people. We started the show right out of college and didn’t know anything yet. We learned a lot.

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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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