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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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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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