DID YOU READ

“Whisker Wars”: The Recap of America’s Beardsman

“Whisker Wars”: The Recap of America’s Beardsman (photo)

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Bearding is a sport. The competition is fierce, the mustaches are waxed, and the beards are very very long. Welcome to “Whisker Wars,” where we go behind the scenes and into the world of competitive facial hair growing. We will be recapping each episode of this season, so if you miss an episode, we got you covered.

The first person we meet in the premiere episode of “Whisker Wars” is Phil Olsen, founder and self-appointed captain of Beard Team USA. While you may be able to name a few Olympic athletes, soon you will be able to name every member of the team who are growing beards for America. Olsen reminds us that the global field of competitive bearding has been dominated by Germany for far too long. Now there is one year until the next world competition in Norway and the upstart Beard Team USA is hoping to unseat the champions. To prepare the team for battle, Olsen is staging the first ever U.S. national championship in Bend, Or. His ringer in the competition? Jack Passion, the first American to ever take gold in the Full Beard Natural category of the global competition. And Jack didn’t just do it once, he did it twice. Now Passion has decided to turn his fame into a career. What color is his parachute? Professional bearding. Based on his credentials as a world champion, Jack is attempting to become the first bearding professional. To further his cause and help garner sponsors, he wrote a book called “The Facial Hair Handbook.” Unfortunately, the decision to go pro has earned a lot of ire from his fellows bearders, who think Jack is taking himself way too seriously.

For Jack, a win in the national competition in Bend would help cement his title, but victory isn’t guaranteed. He faces some serious competition in Myk O’Connor, of Brooklyn, New York with his full-sleeve tattoos, and full, lustrous beard. Also on the radar? The members of the Austin Facial Hair Club, which features some fantastic beards including Bryan Nelson’s red menace. Complicating matters for Phil as he tries to put together Beard Team USA is that Austin isn’t too wild about Jack. They think Bryan should have taken his crown during the competition in Alaska and they hold a grudge. Also in Austin is bearded politician Allen Demling who wants to follow in Abraham Lincoln’s footsteps, but with a much much bigger beard.

Out in California is Aarne Beilefeldt whose long beard is frequently kept in a ponytail in order to stay out of harm’s way as he maintains his wooded property and stays well off the grid (except for the tv crew crowded inside his small cabin, of course.) Even though Aarne is off the grid, he knows about Jack Passion and doesn’t hesitate to take a few jabs at the reigning champion and his professional pursuits.

A gallery opening in New York City dedicated to the art of the beard brings many of the competitors to Manhattan. When Jack spots a portrait of his Austin-based beard rival Bryan, he takes a moment to talk a little smack. Unfortunately, a few Austin Facial Hair Club boosters are in the crowd and seize the moment to further the ill will between the parties. Fight! Fight! Fight!

Back in Austin, the club members remind us of how hard it is to eat with a beard. Ribs? Nope. Only Melitus Callahan-Barile with his Alaskan whaler beard can manage to scarf down a few of Austin’s famed barbecue ribs. While the Austinites are eating, Jack Passion is getting his game face on. He’s back in San Francisco and is getting ready to compete in the San Francisco Beard and Mustache Competition. One unexpected contender? Austin’s Alex Laroche with his freestyle beard. They play nice and bid each other luck, but even though they are competing in different categories, Alex has a plan to take Jack down. In this competition, the crowd picks the winner. So when Alex throws his popularity behind a rookie, he hopes the crowd will follow. They do, and Jack goes down.

Jack is shaken by the loss, because he felt the crowd voted against him just to see someone else win. Phil Olsen hoped to cheer up his star by arranging an opportunity for Jack to seek advice from world freestyle beard champion Willi Chevalier. Chevalier suffered a tragic accident that almost cost him his famed beard, but he fought back and reigns supreme. Chevalier offers Jack some words of wisdom, but Jack makes a controversial decision: He’s not going to compete in the national championship. He claims his decision to host the competition is to give someone else the chance to win, but Austin sees it as a sign of fear. Yep, they think Jack’s scared of Austin.

At the national competition, the whisker warriors get ready for battle. They will compete in different categories, including mustache, partial beard, full beard, and freestyle, but all their beards will be judged on sheen, style, length, fullness, and luster. Austin’s Alex Laroche is angling for the crown in freestyle, but Willi Chevalier has come for the one title he does not have yet. Willi takes it easily with his perfect, complex beard. The full beard category has the fiercest contenders: Bryan Nelson, Myk O’Connor, Allen Demling, and Aarne Bielefeldt. To the shock of the Austin crowd, Bryan is ousted before the finals. Allen Demling takes second place to do Texas proud and then in an upset, Aarne Bielefeldt beats Myk and the rest of the crowded, bearded field. This is Aarne’s first win, but it’s a hard blow for Myk. Instead of beating crushed by the defeat, though, Myk is more determined than ever to be at his best when Beard Team USA takes the stage in Norway.

“Whisker Wars” airs on IFC on Fridays at 10:30 p.m. ET

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Mommie Dearest

Mommie Fearest

10 Moms Who Seriously Messed Up Their Kids

Spend Mother's Day with a 24-hour Mommie Dearest marathon Sunday, May 8th starting at 6AM on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Paramount/Everett Collection

We all love our moms. But sometimes, deep inside our therapist’s office, we have to admit that maybe they weren’t exactly perfect. Maybe they were a bit overbearing, or needed that cocktail a bit too much at the end the day. Thankfully, pop culture is rife with some seriously messed up moms who make our own mother’s foibles look like a cake walk. Check out a few of the worst moms from pop culture below, and then spend Mother’s Day watching an all-day Mommie Dearest marathon on IFC. It’s the best way to remind yourself that mom’s terrible tuna casserole isn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened to you.

10. Lucille Bluth, Arrested Development

Arrested Development
FOX

Whether it’s adopting a Korean child to look more charitable, or turning her youngest son Buster into the ultimate mama’s boy from hell, Lucille Bluth was never afraid to put her own needs ahead of her children’s. Her parenting strategy was to pit the kids against each other and hope one turned out needy enough to keep her martini topped off. At least she loved them all equally. Well, except for G.O.B. She never cared for G.O.B.


9. De’Londa Brice, The Wire

The Wire
HBO

De’Londa Brice was used to living a certain type of lifestyle, thanks to her baby daddy, Wee-Bey, and his hustler life. But when her fella got sent to the clinker, she needed to find a new man to take care of her. Thankfully, she didn’t have to look far. Namond, her teenage son, may have been a sheltered, spoiled kid who knew nothing of real life in the hood, but if De’Londa was going to keep that gravy train rolling, he would need to be her new cash cow. She basically forced him to start slinging drugs, all but assuring he would never escape the street game. And yet, somehow he did, leaving behind a mother who put her mink coat collection ahead of her parental duties.


8. Toni, Maron

While most parents try to give their children a better life, Marc Maron‘s mom (played by TV legend Sally Kellerman) seems more than happy to just give him a hard time. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here, no matter how much Marc doesn’t want to admit it. A personification of Marc’s anxiety, guilt, and body issues, whenever Toni Maron rolls into town, chaos is sure to follow. (Watch some of Toni’s funniest parental moments above.)


7. Kate McCallister, Home Alone

Home Alone
20th Century FOX

Look, we get being a mom is a hard gig, especially during the holiday season. Relatives are in town. Gifts have to be bought. Everything has to be perfect. But let’s also admit that forgetting one of your kids at home, as you flit off on a family vacation, is more likely a case file from Child Services than a lighthearted family comedy. The fact that Kevin proves particularly adept at warding off vicious criminals doesn’t excuse the fact that nine times out of ten, that kid is going to end up dead as a doornail.


6. Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin, The Manchurian Candidate

Manchurian Candidate
United Artists

There have been some cold-hearted moms in the history of pop culture, but few can top this Communist ice queen, determined to turn her son into a presidential assassin. Angela Lansbury, most famous for playing a loveable sleuth and a teapot, would earn an Oscar nomination for her turn in this classic thriller. Mamma Iselin proves that if you only have a kid to brainwash him in a desperate attempt to overthrow a government and further your own nefarious plans, you probably aren’t going to get a great gift come Mother’s Day.


5. Mac’s mom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Macs Mom
FX

No one on It’s Always Sunny received particularly good parenting, but in a murderers’ row of awful families, Mac’s might just take the cake. For one, his father is an actual murderer. But it’s his emotionally removed mother, who’s more interested in smoking a cigarette and watching some TV than dealing with her needy son, that really defines him. Desperate for love, he showers her with affection, only to receive the occasional gruff grunt in response. No wonder Mac is so delusional when it comes to his religion or his sexuality — his role model for unconditional love is a bump on the couch he calls “Mom.”


4. Livia Soprano, The Sopranos

Livia Soprano
HBO

Another matriarch whose cold, calculating ways and emotionally withholding mothering drove her son to his highest highs and lowest lows, Livia Soprano was one mean S.O.B. She tried to have her own son killed, for heaven’s sake. If that isn’t an example of some seriously unorthodox parenting, what is? Livia was miserable, and made it her life’s mission to make sure everyone else in her family was too. She even drove her son, an emotionally removed mobster, to give therapy a try, which we have a hard time picturing Al Capone subjecting himself too.


3. Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest

With the bright lights and glamour, who wouldn’t want to have a movie star mom? We’re guessing little Christina, who faced a lifetime of torment after being adopted by fading movie queen Joan Crawford. Whether it was making Christina give away her birthday gifts to charity after opening them, or beating her with a wire hanger after she made the unforgivable mistake of hanging her dress on it, Crawford approached mothering as an out of control publicity stunt.


2. Cartman’s mom, South Park

South Park
Comedy Central

At first blush, Cartman’s mom seems like a dream compared to most of the malicious mothers on this list. She’s as sweet as sugar, and loves her boy to death. But beneath the rosy surface, there are a few secrets that may help explain her foul mouthed boy. There’s the fact that she’s as racist and homophobic as they come. Or that she’s a “crack whore” who does German porn. Frankly, she’ll have sex with just about anyone from the town’s mayor to a cyborg Bill Cosby from the future. Oh, she also may be a hermaphrodite who might have impregnated herself to bring Cartman into the world. All in all, outside of her insane commitment to baking cookies, there’s a lot going on behind closed doors here that may have turned young Cartman into the raging mini monster he is.


1. Margaret White, Carrie

Carrie
United Artists

A religious warrior, Margaret was convinced the Devil was all around her. Why else would her husband leave her for another woman? Surely not because she only had sex with him twice, and wanted to kill herself afterwards. This woman had issues, not the least of which was her insistence that her teenage daughter was a witch, and needed to die. As prom night downers go, that has to rank right at the top. The fact that Piper Laurie, who memorably played Margaret, thought she was making a comedy for much of the shoot, only makes this messed up performance all the more terrifying.

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Fred Armisen drums

Drum Off

Fred Armisen Joins Will Ferrell For an Epic Drum Battle in This Week’s Funniest Videos

This week we're laughing at Fred on drums and Star Wars emojis.

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Photo Credit: Funny or Die

Friday is here at last, and you know what that means — time to laugh off the work week. From a epic celebrity drum battle to a Silicon Valley geek facing off against Captain Picard himself, here are five funny things from this week you need to watch.

1. Fred Armisen Joins the Will Ferrell and Chad Smith Drum-Off Rematch

A while back Will Ferrell faced off against his lookalike, drummer Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, in an epic drum battle on Fallon to prove who was the superior skin smasher. Well, the duo had a rematch at a live charity event, this time bringing in some famous drummers to help out. Joining them onstage is everyone from Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee to Fred Armisen, someone who knows his way around a drum kit. What’s next for Chad and Will? A remake of Twins, perhaps?


2. Maron gets the world’s worst roommate.

The two-episode season premiere of Maron — which you can watch right here on IFC.com and on the IFC app — found Marc landing in a rehab center where he rooms with a wannabe rapper named Trey who makes our favorite curmudgeon’s life even more miserable. Played in a perfect bit of casting by real life celebrity rapper Chet Hanks, Trey is already looking to be the breakout star of the new season. Check out a clip from the episode above, and be sure to catch new episodes of Maron Wednesdays at 9P on IFC.


3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Told by Emoji

Adobe After Effects gets a delightful workout in a Disney animated short that retells the story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the form of cute emoji. Officially released by the Mouse House, the imagery is saccharine sweet, but the textspeak interpretation is pretty clever — like the Force-controlled battle between Rey and Ren over preference setting toggles.


4. Puberty Tips with Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone

Those of us who made it out of our preteen years intact can tell you that puberty is a nightmare. Between hormone surpluses and crippling self-doubt, it’s hard to pinpoint any laughable detail about the matter. Fortunately, comedians Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone tackle the subject head on in this educational short intended on guiding young adults into maturity. And as with most educational shorts, there’s a lot of misinformation. (For more Jo Firestone comedy, check out the Sound Graffiti sketch from the Comedy Crib series Video Frogs.)


5. Thomas Middleditch and Patrick Stewart play Star Trek “FMK”

In the grand tradition of Star Trek’s reinterpretation of chess, baseball, and Klingon mating habits, Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch and Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself Patrick Stewart play a round of F***, Marry, Kill in the style of the galaxy-hopping franchise. And as it will surely be decided by the rabid fan base, we’ll soon learn whether this qualifies as Trek canon.

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Let-go-and-let-pod-v2

GIF Giving

The Funniest Gifs From the Maron Season Premiere

Watch the Maron season premiere now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Last night, Marc Maron returned in all his haggard glory in the darkly hilarious season premiere of Maron. In case you’re not caught up, Marc has fallen into a downward spiral of drugs and addiction, having lost his house, his podcast, his cats, and the ability to say he doesn’t live in a storage unit. And only someone like Marc can make the situation laugh-out-loud funny.

Here are the 5 funniest GIFs from last night’s Maron premiere, which you can watch right now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

1. Dave Anthony, Professional Truth Teller.

Maron Not Okay


2. Storage locker etiquette is important.

Maron Storage Locker


3. We’re sure Chris Hardwick would love to have Marc back on Talking Dead.

Maron Dumb Show


4. We can’t unsee Dave in that apron.

Maron Shit Bucket


5. The first step is listening. Marc has a lot of steps to go.

Maron Shut Up

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