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“Whisker Wars”: The Recap of The Beard Circuit

“Whisker Wars”: The Recap of The Beard Circuit (photo)

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Previously on “Whisker Wars,” Beard Team USA founder Phil Olsen called Jack Passion “the Tiger Woods of beards,” but we’re assuming this refers to his many championships, not his lady skills. A rivalry is brewing in the full beard natural category between two-time world champion Jack Passion, Bryan Nelson of the Austin Facial Hair Club, and Myk O’Connor of the Gotham Beard and Mustache Association. However it was quiet woodsman Aarne Bielefeldt who took the crown at the first U.S. Beard and Mustache Competition in Bend, Ore. Bearding is a sport, and these guys are fierce competitors.

The next stop on the so-called Beard Circuit is in Ohio. After his controversial decision to emcee the U.S. competition, Jack Passion is back in the ring for the Ohio Beard Championships. His coach/captain Phil Olsen is judging the competition, but there won’t be any favoritism, right? But, even with Phil on the bench, Jack’s victory isn’t guaranteed since Aarne Bielefeldt is there to defend his title and several local characters have shown up to represent the Buckeye States. Notably absent are the members of the Austin Facial Hair Club who are in Galveston, Texas, trying to raise funds to send the group to the world championships in Norway. The event requires everyone to come in Dickensian costume, but, at least according to team member Allen Demling, many of the attendees came dressed as “pricks.” The team was having a hard time raising money to represent Texas in Norway.

Across the country, Myk O’Connor was preparing to host the Big Apple Beard & Mustache Competition. His beard coach/girlfriend, Karolina, met at the Alaska beard competition and this year, at his competition, he’s planning on proposing to his long-time girlfriend.

Back in Ohio, the full beard natural category will be judged on density, pattern, texture, and length. Rookie Mike Scanlan has a five-foot beard and a local advantage, while Aarne has the power of the reigning national champion, and Jack has a two–and-a-half foot long red waterfall attached to his face. The judges have a lively deliberation about whether Mike Scanlan’s length should trump Jack Passion’s fullness and Aarne’s grey mane. Eventually the winners were announced: Aarne took third, and the close tie between Jack Passion and local boy Mike Scanlan was broken by none other than Phil Olsen. A few cries of * cough * bias * cough * were heard, but Jack still reigned supreme.

Down in Galveston, the boys are getting creative in their fundraising. Alex LaRoche’s kissing booth rakes in a whole two dollars, which should buy some in-flight headsets for at least one team member on the way to Norway. But they have to get to Norway if they are going to de-throne Jack Passion.

Meanwhile, Myk is simultaneously trying to prepare for the New York City championship and his proposal to Karolina. Many ringers have come in for the competition, including Jack and Aarne and Trevor Cranmer, a local favorite with a Jack-sized chip on his shoulder. There are many rounds of competition, but the main event is once again in the full beard natural category. Once again, Phil Olsen is on the judges’ panel, but he has opted to abstain from the category. Third place goes to up-and-comer Brian Redbeard. Second place is reigning national champion, Aarne, meaning that Jack Passion and his beard, Big Red, take the top prize. Then Myk brings Karolina on stage and with an adoring, cheering crowd watching, he proposes. When she says yes, the crowd goes wild. While Jack may have taken the crown, Myk got the real prize.

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New episodes of “Whisker Wars” airs 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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