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“Whisker Wars”: Meet Miletus

“Whisker Wars”: Meet Miletus (photo)

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Before the new episode of “Whisker Wars” kicks off tonight at 11 p.m. ET, we want to introduce you to one of the cast members, Miletus Callahan-Barile. Perhaps you recognize him from TV? Or perhaps from the Whisker Wars premiere party where he graciously (and loudly) emceed our beard and mustache competition? When not emceeing, Miletus and his beard, The Donegal, are proud members of the Austin Facial Hair Club and compete in the partial beard category of the international beard competition circuit. Although, he has a few things to say about that:

What bearding category do you compete in?

Well, my beard, The Donegal, isn’t recognized in most competitions. It doesn’t get its own category in most competitions. I have to compete in partial beard, even though The Donegal is the original beard.

You’re a river boat captain. Do you have to have that job because of your beard? Or do you have your beard because of your job?

Neither. It’s one of those synchronous moments they just came together kind of randomly. I had The Donegal before with other jobs, but other jobs don’t appreciate facial hair and I don’t appreciate those jobs.

How long does it take you to grow a beard?

It takes me a really long time. I have super dense really curly hair. I’ve been growing it for a long time.

Could you compete in the other categories, like full beard natural?

I could compete, but it’s not me. It doesn’t work with me. Every beard is unique to their personality, like a snowflake. I need a beard that represents that. I like a more difficult road. The Donegal doesn’t get a lot of respect.
It’s the original beard. I have to fight for it to get any respect.

Do you appreciate that fight?

Yeah, it’s a lot more fun and it makes me unique It takes a real punk rocker to rock The Donegal.

Do you always call your beard “The Donegal”?
Yes. It deserves the respect. People don’t respect it, but it really is the original beard. People call it a chin strap or neck beard or Abraham Lincoln or an Alaskan whaler. That was a category in the World Competition and also up at the Mr. Fur Face competition up in Alaska. Interestingly enough Shamrock, Texas has been throwing a competition since 1938 and their competition is just for The Donegal. Every man in Shamrock, from New Years to St. Patty’s Day has to grow a beard. The Donegal. If you don’t want to grow a beard, you have to get a “clean shaven” permit. There’s a great documentary on the town called “To Grow a Beard”

Have you gone to Shamrock?

Not yet. It’s a small town out in the panhandle of Texas.

How did you get into the world of competitive facial hair growing?

I used to be part of a satirical magazine called Misprint and we would throw events every time the magazine released a new issue. As we got bigger one of the editors wanted to throw a beard and moustache competition so we had one. A few hundred people showed up and there was a ZZ Top cover band and it was a success so we did it again and the next year and the next year. But we didn’t have that many people to compete and I was one of the few guys in Austin with facial hair at the time, so I jumped in. Then we heard about the other competitions and we went and had a lot of fun, drinking and partying. We met Phil Olsen and went to Bend, Oregon and that was where we realized we were really solid competitors. That was where we knew we wanted to bring beard diplomacy to the world.

Beard diplomacy?

Yeah, letting people know about competitive bearding, about growing facial hair, letting people know we’re out here. I usually giving people an earful about The Donagal, too.

Give me the rant on The Donegal.

Oh I usually need a few drinks to do that, but, well …everyone’s beard should really be an outward appearance of their internal beard. My name is Miletus. The Donegal just works for me. The Donegal goes all the way back to the Phoenicians. It has a style, it has a shape. Anyone can grow facial hair and just let it go, but to maintain it and give it definition that takes work and attitude. The Donegal just seems to suit me and my character and my character likes to be on the outskirts. I need more drinks …

But The Donegal isn’t a recognized category in most competitions, right?
No, and that’s so frustrating. The competitions have 17 categories. A lot of famous people had Donegals. The Amish, Abraham Lincoln. The playwright Ibsen had a Donegal. It has just as much validity as most of the other categories, but it always falls into these hodge-podge categories. It’s my mission to get The Donegal the respect it deserves. It’s a bad-ass beard. Some people do recognize it. The Alaskans do. That’s a start. I want to get it into the World Championships. It was until 4 years ago and then they took it out. They left the Fu Manchu or the Chinese, which …yeah, is kind of weird. Only four people compete in that category! Now The Donegal has to compete in partial beard, which is bullshit. We’re not mutton chops. The Donegal is different. The last time I was at the competition in TX people started chanting
…okay I stormed my way onto the stage during the Freestyle awards and I stormed the stage when they were announcing third place and the guy didn’t show up. And I kept coming up and I gave a speech about The Donegal and got the crowd chanting “Donegal! Donegal!” The Donegal is not a beard. I have the ammo to take this all the way to the top and …In “Jeremiah Johnson” the Native Americans would say that — this isn’t real history, it was just in the movie — they would say that the more enemies you have the stronger you are. People are scared of my beard, basically.

What is your care routine for The Donegal?

I condition it and shampoo it and brush it.

What do you use?

I love products from Lush. They have some good stuff, but I don’t really care. I haven’t used that stuff in forever. [Laughing] I ran out and just use whatever. However I do admit that a good shampoo and a good conditioner makes a difference. If you just go buy the 99 cent two-in-one stuff from Walgreen’s you have to brace yourself for some crappy results. So I guess I do have a touch of the metrosexual. Dammit! I do shave my upper lip. I do my shave where my soul patch would be. And I do shave part of my cheeks

Do you have a special razor for that?

I have a theory about that: I saw a magazine called Rockpile with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion on the cover and he had a huge mutton chops and a sweet sweet suit and I thought that’s the look. That’s it. So then I started playing around with facial hair. But, I like to shave in a manly way. So right now I use a double bladed razor blade, which is kind of old school. I don’t use those seven fucking bladed Schick disposable razors. I think it’s kinda pansy and metrosexual. If I was going to shave, I would shave it with a straight razor.

New episodes of “Whisker Wars” air on IFC on Fridays at 11 p.m. ET

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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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.


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…


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.


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).


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.


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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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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