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“Whisker Wars”: Don’t Mess With Texas

“Whisker Wars”: Don’t Mess With Texas (photo)

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The Texas National Beard Championships is one of the last stops before the big competition in Norway. So, obviously everyone is going. This year is a bit different, though, because Austin Facial Hair Club ringers Bryan Nelson and Allen Demling have opted to judge this year’s competition instead of compete. Also, Beard Team USA captain Phil Olsen and reigning national champion Arnie Bielefeldt and two-time world champion Jack Passion are all flying in to compete. But since they are in Texas, the first stop is barbecue. Which, by the way, has got to be one of the hardest things to eat with a full beard and mustache. Choices, gentlemen! Next time have your welcome feast at a bite-sized tapas restaurant or something. Jack is not exactly thrilled to have his rivals Bryan and Allen judging the competition. He’s also not excited to have living beard legend Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top show up as the surprise guest judge. While Jack loves Billy, apparently Phil Olsen has made some remarks that Jack’s beard is better than Billy’s and Jack is concerned about reprisal. See the clip below for proof of this.

Speaking of Phil, he is starting to get concerned about the unity of Beard Team USA. Especially after Bryan publicly stated that Texas is considering seceding from the union. I didn’t know they were Civil War reenactors?! Maybe they were watching “The Civil War on Drugs” and got inspired. Anyway, Phil decides that the only way to keep the team together is to arrange a sit down between Jack Passion and the Austin Facial Hair Club. At the sit down, certain members of the Austin Facial Hair Club seem shocked that Jack would be offended that they booed him on stage …or that they are impersonating him on Twitter with some dark jokes. But most of Austin’s anger and unhappiness is directed at Phil Olsen. They don’t like the way he is running Beard Team USA and they aren’t too shy to tell him. Ultimately nothing was resolved in the meeting, but it’s always nice to see bearded men drinking beer in broad daylight. Then tragedy struck: Alex LaRoche’s beard started to sag. Back to the Aquanet salon with you, Alex!

During the competition’s kick off parade down Austin’s main drag, Phil Olsen takes a moment to try and explain why he feels comfortable making a profit off of his efforts on behalf of Beard Team USA: His work, his idea, his profits. Or, in the immortal words of the cast of “Seinfeld”: yadda yadda yadda. Don’t think he’s going to be convincing the Austin boys any time soon. The competition finally starts with guest judge Billy Gibbons arriving to a packed and excited house decorated with a giant sign that says, “DON’T SHAVE,” in case you had any doubt. After Billy gets his trophy for just being generally awesome with a really big beard, the real competition gets under way. As with most competitions, the freestyle beard and full beard natural are the hottest categories. However in Austin, they prefer to call “full beard natural” by its proper name “Gnarliest Beard,” which is quite apt. They also like to count the character and spirit of the beard, not just length and …er, girth. Brooklyn’s Myk O’Connor hopes this will play to his beard’s strengths and he can dominate in the category. Jack, on the other hand, is more than a bit nervous to walk out on stage, what with Austin being the land of anti-Jack Passion rallies. Plus, Jack faces some stiff competition from Brian Redbeard who came from Washington, D.C. and, of course, reigning champ, Aarne Bielefeldt. When Jack is introduced, he tries to score some points by complimenting the competition as the best in the land, which the crowd eats up. Then the judges start their mulling. They come to their decisions quickly, except for one category: Gnarliest Beard. Billy Gibbons seems to be Team Jack, but will Austin’s Bryan and Allen let Jack take the crown? Alex LaRoche takes first in Freestyle, putting him in a good position for the global competition. Then the Gnarliest Beard finalists are announced: Brian Redbeard, Jack Passion, and Aarne Bielefeldt. Once again, Myk did not make the cut. Brian takes third and after a long drumroll, Jack takes second place next to Aarne’s gnarliest beard in the land. Then Aarne, who is no spring chicken, went stage diving, drank beer out of the winning chalice, and drenched his beard in beer. He’s a winner! Jack takes the loss well-ish, but what he doesn’t know is that with the judges deadlocked, the judgment was made based on the roll of a dice. That’s right, fate, luck, or loaded dice chose Aarne to win the competition.

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


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.


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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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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GIFs via Giphy

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.”


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. 


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.