DID YOU READ

Tim & Eric talk “Billion Dollar Movie,” Woody Allen and their upcoming IFC series “Comedy Bang! Bang!”

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By Jordan Hoffman

After surviving near catastrophic ice-slips and trudging through what many Sundance veterans were calling the worst mid-fest snow storm in memory, I arrived, nose dripping, feet soaked and grumpy to talk to Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim and Will Forte.

The grumpiness lasted roughly thirty-five seconds. These guys are about as friendly and approachable as you can get, even a little cheerful to do what is perhaps the least funny thing in the world: analyze comedy.

“Awkward moments are. . .very much our thing,” Wareheim offered when I tried to articulate what it was that made them so special. Phrases like “annoyance humor” and “exhaustion humor” didn’t quite land as well.

“It’s the moments when things go really dark and you shouldn’t be laughing that I like the most. Like the scene in ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ when Christopher Guest leaves the band and Michael McKean is reacting to it.”

“I just love the pauses,” Will Forte chimed in. “And I think it is because I hate confrontation is real life, I love when it gets dragged out in comedy.”

Forte plays what could be construed as the bad guy in “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie,” which had its Sundance premiere about 12 hours earlier. Forte kills as the mustachioed, turtleneck wearing sword salesman in the doomed mall Tim and Eric’s new PR consulting firm DOBIS is tasked with saving.

“I’d like to point out we shot in Palm Springs and those turtlenecks got really hot,” Forte reminded, eliciting a solid “oh, boo-hoo” from Tim.

What I find remarkable about Tim and Eric is that every single male person under a certain age I know adores them, perhaps to an almost obsessive degree. I wondered what comedies they obsessed over when they were coming of age.

“Christopher Guest movies,” Eric fired back without a beat. “And Mr. Show and SNL. Up until the Will Forte years, of course.”

Tim concurred with Christopher Guest, and also Woody Allen – both the “early, funny ones” and the later work. And not just because he was there, but you could tell he deeply admired the work Will Forte did on SNL. “Particularly those sketches that would come after the second musical performance. . .the really weird ones.”

If you were wondering what the deal was with Tim and Eric’s approach to post-production gags, it’s like this:

Internally, they call them “glitch-outs.” No, they don’t write them in the script, but they kinda know whenever they make a loud noise or a strange face that the editors are probably gonna mess with it. Sometimes they simply add them in if they’ve been cutting a scene and just get board. They are very aware that others are kinda copying the technique (particularly in advertising, which is doubly ironic) and they don’t have any hard feelings. “’Cause no one else does it right,” Eric stated.

As my time was running up I had to ask about IFC’s upcoming show “Comedy Bang! Bang!” that the guys are producing. It is based on the “Between Two Ferns” co-creator and “Mr. Show” alum Scott Aukerman’s popular podcast. Will it change the face of TV?

Tim: No.
Eric: Yes.
Will: (a disinterested third party) Maybe.

Eric went on to sing Scott’s praises, mentioning that there’s so much love for him in the comedy community that all the support he’s given over the years is going to feed right back into the show. Tim added that he’s jazzed because it is going to be very experimental, more experimental than the podcast, and will really push some boundaries. And that we should prepare for Reggie Watts’ music.

How jazzed are you to check out “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.