DID YOU READ

A brief chat with Bunk host Kurt Braunohler

Kurt-Braunohler

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Even before Kurt Braunohler took up hosting duties for our new comedy game show Bunk, he was a busy man. On top of his acting and voice-over work in shows like Bob’s Burgers, Delocated, Jon Benjamin Has a Van and Human Giant, he and Kristen Schaal (you may recognize her from The Daily Show) host a weekly variety show in Brooklyn called Hot Tub. (Every Monday at Littlefield!) He writes a very helpful advice column for Vice. When he’s not acting or voice-overing or doing stand up or sketch comedy shows, he fills his time talking about the perils of parakeets and the problems of keeping badgers as pets on his web series Kurt Braunohler’s World Wild of Animals. He’s also been known to wax philosophic about U.S. landmarks. So yeah, he’s busy. Which is why we were so flattered that he took the time to chat with us yesterday. We talked to Kurt about Bunk, animals, and, naturally, the origin myth of the Liberty Bell:

Hi Kurt, how are you?

I’m fine, thanks. Surviving all the interviews.

How many interviews have you done today?

You are number five.

Oh good, lucky number five.

That’s not a thing, Melissa. It is lucky number three or seven. Lucky number five is not a thing.

Well, that’s it. I’m not going easy on you now.

Good. I wanted the gloves to come off.

Done. People keep describing Bunk as “you have to expect the unexpected,” so when people say that, what should you expect?

You should expect awesomely hilarious comedians being funny off the cuff in weird situations that you would not expect them to be in. They may be your favorite comedians in the world, but you haven’t seen them in these situations before. They don’t even know what will happen next. It’s all off the cuff.

Some of the categories on Bunk are pretty wacky. For example, “who has the softest lips” is kind of out there. Was this all just a ruse to feel all of your friends’ lips?

I’m obsessed with lips. For the past 14 years I’ve been building a comedy career just as a way to feel lips. I’ve been thinking about it as a means to an end. I’ve been pretty successful, too. I have felt three peoples’ lips so far.

You made a study of animals in your series World Wild of Animals, so what’s your favorite animal?

Any type of bird. I would love to be more specific, but really, any type of bird is the funniest animal. They have to move awkwardly when walking. They have beady eyes; they are very suspicious. They can’t do anything right. They have no hands, which is inherently funny.

I never thought of a bald eagle as hilarious before.

Have you ever seen a bald eagle fart?

No.

That’s very funny.

I guess I will Google that now.

Or have you seen baby eagles getting kicked out of nest? They can’t really fly yet and it is hilarious.

Baby bald eagles getting kicked out of the nest is your idea of funny?

It is hands down hilarious.

What’s your favorite U.S. monument?

The one that lets you down the most. That would be the Liberty Bell. It is the most boring thing in the world. Every child who grows up in the tri-state area has to go stand in line for two hours and then you get to see a bell that is broken. It doesn’t even work.

Do you know any facts about the Liberty Bell other than that it is the most boring thing in the world?

Yes. It was made by a baker who was trying to make world’s biggest croissant, but made a bell instead. He wasn’t a very good baker. He ate a lot of metal. He didn’t live very long.

Now that you and Kristen Schaal are both on TV are you still going to do Hot Tub?

Of course. We are going to do Hot Tub until we die. Every Monday. Then we’ll come back and do it as zombies. Hot Tub is very important. What we do is based on our live skills. It’s stand up and sketch and improv everything we do in Hot Tub is important to our jobs. And, every Monday I’m excited to do it.

How did you come up with Bunk? It came from the New York Television Festival right?

Yeah, IFC picked it up from there. Eric Bryant and Ethan Berlin, the creators of Bunk, asked me to come get involved in very early process when they wanted to make a game show. Ethan and I were writing for a game show on another network and he was frustrated that our funniest ideas never made it to air. So the idea was to take all those funny moments and create a whole new show. Ethan and Eric pooled their own money for the pilot and then we got it into the festival. IFC saw it there. We shot another pilot with them and then we shot the whole series. We were the first series to come from the New York Television Festival.

You must be pretty proud of that.

Yeah. It feels like we’re a bunch of scrappy kids who got together to make a TV show and then actually did it.

Have you received letters from PETA about your puppy shaming ways?

No, but I welcome them. I would be so excited. I would explode with happiness.

Like they were a new pen pal?

Yes. I would engage with them over and over again. And I would defend every single thing said about those puppies.

Do you secretly wish Reggie Watts was Bunk’s one-man house band?

No way! No. I love Reggie to death but Comedy Bang! Bang! without Reggie? That’s like 50% of the fun. Whereas I’m 100% of the fun.

If you could have any three contestants (living or dead) who would they be?

Three fake ones would be Bill Murray as a zombie, a talking walrus, and a sentient CinnaBon, who just smells so good the whole time. She smells so good that it’s a real distraction. That’s the trick up her sleeve.

Three real ones would be a young Chevy Chase before he got hooked on back pain pills, Goldie Hawn from the 80s, and Dom DeLuise. OH MY GOD DREAM TEAM.

Based on your answers it seems you think comedy was best in the 80s?

No, I just get to choose whoever I want. I just didn’t get to hang out with any of those people and I want to.

Maybe you could have old Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn come on the show. I think Dom Deluise is dead though.

Dom Deluise is dead, but we could have Paul Prud’homme who looks like him.

We should have managements look into that.

We will.

You can watch a full episode of Bunk right now.

Want the latest news from IFC? Like us on Facebook and follow us on @IFCtv. You can also like Bunk and Comedy Bang! Bang!.

Bunk premieres on IFC on Friday June 8th at 10:30 p.m. ET

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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.
Die Hard wedding

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.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

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.
Die Hard thank you

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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