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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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.