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DID YOU READ

Jerry Seinfeld: Master of His Domain (Name)

Jerry Seinfeld: Master of His Domain (Name) (photo)

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“Seinfeld.” It was famously described as the show about nothing. But of course in that nothingness was the totality of modern life circa 1990s New York City. It was really the show about everything: friendship, dating, movies, sports, television, Snapple, parking spots, the post office, and masturbation.

Well, almost everything. One thing it wasn’t about was the Internet, which was still in its infancy when the show went off the air in 1998 (I should know; I used to fight with my parents’ old dial-up modem every Thursday night in order to postgame new episodes in AOL’s Seinfeld chat room. This was right around the time my high school class voted me Most Likely To Die Alone). In the totality of “Seinfeld” there is barely even an acknowledgement of the existence of the Internet; Jerry’s bit about calling people and hoping their answering machine would pick up was about as hi-tech as the show got. So it’s with a great deal of excitement and curiosity that I’m telling you about Seinfeld’s big debut in the world of the web, JerrySeinfeld.com.

Starting today, the site will host three clips a day from Seinfeld’s more than thirty year standup career on television. According to a New York Times article about the site, each day’s content is being hand selected by Seinfeld himself from a digital archive that contains more than 1,000 jokes. Why all the effort? In his personal message on the site, Seinfeld says that “somewhere out there are ten year olds just waiting to get hooked on this strange pursuit,” and that “this is for them.”

May 6 was the very first day, so it’s a pretty small sample, but so far it looks like Jerry’s programming for topicality: one of the first three videos and all of tomorrow’s scheduled jokes are about horses, for example, in honor of this weekend’s Kentucky Derby. As I write this, there’s no index of material; you’ve got one day to watch the three clips each day before they’re gone and replaced by three new ones. That’s a smart way to drive regular traffic to the site, though it’s not exactly ideal for scholars.

As something of an amateur “Seinfeld” academic myself, I’d be most interested in the site if it took a more philosophical approach to standup. I don’t necessarily need to hear Jerry’s thoughts on breakfast cereal (partly because I already know his thoughts on breakfast by heart). But I would love to watch the way Jerry’s thoughts on breakfast cereal grew along with his skills as a comedian. It would be fantastic if one day was devoted to three different versions of a single joke, charting its evolution. It would better still to see three clips of an identical joke with three different crowds. With his great documentary “Comedian,” Seinfeld proved he wasn’t afraid to show us all of the effort that goes into creating a poised, polished performer. That’s what I want more of.

That Times piece says that the site won’t become a home for material from the “Seinfeld” sitcom, which is just as well since I own them every episode on DVD anyway. That said, it could also be incredibly interesting to see how original material from the clubs was edited for a wider, larger audience on television. But even if that never happens, this is a pretty exciting start. And it’s better than nothing.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.