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“Whisker Wars”: The Recap of Reindeer Games

“Whisker Wars”: The Recap of Reindeer Games (photo)

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Ladies and Gentlemen, bearding is a sport. Not a sport like playing for the NY Yankees, but better, because you can’t have an awesome beard and play for the Yankees. In “Whisker Wars” we are chronicling the adventures of a bearded band of boys a.k.a. Beard Team USA as they make their way to the World Beard and Mustache Competition in Norway. In the last episode they merry men were competing in Texas. On a roll of the dice, current US title holder Aarne Bielefeldt took top honors, besting two-time world champion Jack Passion. This week the bearded warriors are heading to Detroit to once again face off in the ultimate facial hair challenge.

Beard Team USA is in the Motor City, for one of the few remaining national competitions before the world championships. But Beard Team USA is lacking their star players. Current national champion Aarne Bielefeldt doesn’t need to prove anything any more. He has the beard to beat. And a velvet jester hat too. As for the other ringer in the Full Beard Natural category, Jack Passion, well he has a beard modeling gig. No, we don’t know that was a thing either. Where was the beard modeling booth at the high school career fair? Also missing from the Detroit competition are the members of the Austin Facial Hair Club, who are deciding whether to secede from the Beard Team USA union. With the two strongest contenders out and Austin not showing up at all, New York’s Myk O’Connor hopes to score a late season win and ride in to Norway on a wave of victory. Unfortunately a bunch of other people have the same idea.

Since Austin isn’t heading North to Motown, Miletus Callahan-Barile decides to head even further north to Anchorage, Alaska and the Mr. Fur Face Competition. Miletus hopes to bring home the gold in one of the few competitions that recognizes his beard — The Donagal a.k.a. The Alaskan Whaler. But Miletus isn’t just there for fun, he also wants to seek the counsel of the Alaskan Beard Club, a group that is recognized by the World Beard and Mustache Association (WBMA) and that has nothing to do with Phil Olsen and Beard Team USA. If Austin’s going to go it alone, the Alaskans would be a great ally and role model. Miletus is trying to roll out the Southern charm and extend an olive branch, but some of the Alaskans aren’t as friendly as Southerners. When the man who won the 2010 championship for his Alaskan Whaler sees a Texan vying for the Alaskan Whaler crown, he retires to bathroom to shave his moustache and vie to reclaim his title. Miletus tries not to take it personally, and opts to take in some local color, including running with the reindeer, Pamplona-style. The deer win, almost.

Back in Detroit, Myk is scoping the competition. Burke Kenny, the styled mustache champion and best-groomed winner from Austin, makes a surprise appearance. In a surprise move, he’s going to be competing against Myk in the Full Beard Natural category. In Anchorage, Craig Miller, the defending Alaskan Whaler champion, is sans mustache and ready to compete against Miletus for the title of best Donagal.

Myk takes the stage in Detroit, but taking the crown away from Burke Kenny with his signature hat-tip-and-wink competition is going to be hard. Myk does the only thing he can: Buys all the judges a beer. The judges announce the third place winner, the second place winner, and very slowly, the first place winner as Burke Kenny. Myk doesn’t place, again. He tries not to take it too hard, but his chances of placing in Norway seem slim.

Back in Anchorage, Miletus is taking part of a traditional Alaskan beard ceremony: The Petting Zoo. The gents line up and the ladies cop a feel …of the beard. Then the competitors take the stage. In a surprise, Miletus beats the local incumbent champion! He calls his Austin Facial Hair Club teammates, but no one believes him. Would you? Then Miletus makes his other big move and asks the Alaskan team for sponsorship to become an independent club, separate from Beard Team USA. Back in Austin, the members of the Austin Facial Hair Club prepare to leave Beard Team USA. They draft their by-laws and then in true Texas style head to the tattoo parlor to make it permanent.

Out in the hills of California, Aarne has been drafting a manifesto of his own. He is forming his own club. The one rule? No trimming, not even split ends. He may be the only member. But he just might like it like that.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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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 IFC.com and the IFC app.

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