DID YOU READ

The Oscars are horrible (and I hope they never get better)

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The Oscar race is finally over, which means we’ve got about three weeks to fill before the next Oscar race begins, which means it’s time to talk about the Oscar show itself, specifically how bad it was. If you were so inclined, you could have spent the better part of Monday just reading articles — like this one by Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir or this one by The A.V. Club’s Noel Murray and Tasha Robinson — about what’s wrong with the Oscars and how to fix them. Both of those pieces are extremely well-written and well-reasoned. The Oscars were indeed a mess this year. Mistakes were made.

But please, for the love of God: no one fix them.

Maybe there was a time when it was important that the Oscars were good. Maybe at some point in the past it was necessary for the Oscars to be entertaining in order to get people to tune in. Those days, though, are long gone. Thanks to social media the Academy Awards as they are now — maudlin, crass, self-important, interpretative danced by French acrobats on bungee cords — are way more fun than they’ve ever been before. The Oscars are horrible and I, for one, hope they never get better.

This is what I hope the members of the Academy take into consideration as they meet this week to discuss the show and the public and critical reactions to it. I’m sure someone will bring up all the things that didn’t turn out as planned, like the on-stage microphones’s impossibly poor sound quality and the bizarre choice of contributors to the what-movies-mean-to-me Oscar montages (In case you missed it, Adam Sandler makes movies to “tell the truth.” Adam Sandler. “Jack and Jill” Adam Sandler. To tell the truth. Adam Sandler.). The Academy might see the reaction to these gaffes and snafus and try to come up with solutions to prevent them from happening again in the future. I think I speak for everyone when I say: that would be a terrible idea. Even more terrible than putting Billy Crystal in blackface to play Sammy Davis Jr. in a bit opposite Justin Bieber.

If you followed along with the Oscars on Twitter, you might have gotten the impression that no one enjoyed the awards. That’s because every tweet was a mean joke or an insult (or an insulting joke). But if the Oscars hired a new host (like, say, Tom Hanks or maybe Tina Fey), and replaced Bruce Vilanch with a new head writer (like, say, Louis C.K. or maybe Tina Fey) and turned all the awkward, unsuccessful comedy bits into legitimate humor, what would we make fun of during the show? That would be an even bigger disaster than, well, the Oscars.

In the age of social media, the Academy Awards are really only the first half of the Oscar experience. The show doesn’t need jokes anymore, just set-ups; we’ll provide the punchlines, thank you very much. You know what happened when something legitimately funny happened during the Academy Awards (like, say, when Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis got up in Brad Pitt’s face with several large cymbols)? I got bored. It’s much more entertaining to not be entertained and then entertain yourself and others online.

For all the grief people (and by people, I mean me) gave Billy Crystal about pulling his decades-old material out of a Mini-Storage for the occasion, he’s actually the perfect guy to host the Oscars in the age of social media. Because while Billy Crystal hocks his wares on the stage of the Kodak Theatre, every other stand-up comedian worth a damn gets to make their own jokes on Twitter. Crystal’s opening monologue lasted maybe six minutes on television; on Twitter, the monologue lasts all three hours of the show and it’s written by a million comedic minds and none of them have to get their schtick approved by executives or cleared by censors.

That’s why I say this to the Academy: ignore the naysayers. Next year: go even weirder. Have Billy Crystal back, and this time have him host the whole show as Sammy Davis Jr. Get Cirque Du Soleil to present all the nominees. When it’s time for the annual death montage, add a laugh track. Accidentally forget to announce the winner of the Best Actor category. Turn off the hurry-up-your-speech music and let people ramble on about their agents and managers for as long as they please. Whatever they want, so long as it’s bad. The worse they give it, the better we like it.

Be honest: do you enjoy the Oscars more when they’re terrible? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
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Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
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Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
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Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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