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DID YOU READ

The 10 funniest superheroes (with video)

Iron Man movie image Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark

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“The Avengers” is going to be the big hit of the whole year, certainly, but while it has its fair share of funny moments, there are actually superheroes whose stock in trade is comedy. One of the most glaring omissions from the otherwise solid Sam Raimi “Spider-Man” films are the crucial element of Peter Parker’s wiseacre nature. In the comic books, he’s always got some snappy patter going to distract his enemies in the midst of a fight – and sadly, “The Amazing Spider-Man” reboot doesn’t look to be going in that direction, either. So, in the interest of four-color funny, here’s a rundown of ten superheroes known for their comedy stylings.


1. The Tick

Gloriously insane and gleefully dorky, Ben Edlund’s lumbering blue lummox of a superhero lived in a weird world where all the goofiest superheroes ever ran about The City and fought criminals like Chairface Chippendale (a criminal mastermind with a chair for a head), El Seed (a talking flower man), and The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight. With his neurotic moth-themed sidekick Arthur, he bellowed his mighty battle cry of “Spoon!” before tossing his nigh-invulnerable self into the midst of chicanery everywhere. Spoofing the superhero genre while reveling in it, it’s hard to get any funnier than this.


2. Batman (Adam West)

Now that the perception of comic book adaptations is a vastly different beast than it was in the decades immediately following the 1960s “Batman” series, nerds everywhere can unclench about good old Adam West and Burt Ward fighting crime in a cheeky, campy and ridiculously stylized version of Gotham City. For years, no one wanted to take comics seriously enough to make a good movie, and folks blamed this show. These days, however, it’s a golden oldie that’s so over-the-top that you can’t tear your eyes from it. Burgess Meredith’s Penguin lives on as everybody’s Dick Cheney impression, Cesar Romero’s Joker and Frank Gorshin’s Riddler are unfortgettable, and every punch lands with a thunderous zowie! And no one can forget the Shark-Repellent Bat-Spray.


3. Spider-Man

As previously stated, the wall-crawler has always had a sterling wit, but you wouldn’t know that by watching Tobey Maguire sling the webs. Even most of his animated adventures are more corny and painful with the quips than they are funny. The current comic books are pretty sharp, however, and the recent “Spectacular Spider-Man” cartoon and the new “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated series bring a really modern comic sensibility to the adventures of Peter Parker and his high school buddies. This current one is big on cutaways to wacky sequences underscoring the goof of the moment. It may be a little hard to take at times, but hey, it’s for kids!


4. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)

Tony Stark was a smooth ladies man, but he was never quite the quipster he is today until Robert Downey Jr. stepped into the role of the Armored Avenger for the 2008 film that made all the Marvel films which followed possible. Is it essentially Downey playing himself and forcing the established comics character to follow suit? Well, yeah, probably, but it works. It works so damn well that it managed to hold its own and vie with “The Dark Knight” as the best comic book movie ever – certainly of that year – thanks in no small part to Downey’s unstoppable quipping and relentlessly charming bastardry. You never know what’s going to come out of this guy’s mouth, and we love it that way. It’s all RDJ’s doing that Tony Stark is now a household name.


5. Deadpool

Wait, didn’t we just do Spider-Man? Ha ha, no, this guy is much more of an antihero than anything else. Fabien Nicieza took a half-assed Rob Liefeld sketch of what was essentially DC’s Deathstroke, gave him Spider-Man’s sense of humor but with a broken bad-guy edge, and thus Wade Wilson was born. It wasn’t until Joe Kelly gave him his first solo series that The Merc With A Mouth really began to flourish into the manic maniac he’s come to be known and loved as. That series bounced back and forth between fourth-wall-breaking craziness and dark and twisted melodrama with stunning ease, and made him into the unluckiest guy in the world despite his unbelievable regenerative abilities. Every time he tries to be a hero, it blows up in his ugly, scarred face, and that just makes him crazier and crazier. Forget what you saw with Ryan Reynolds in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The best animated appearance was in the feature “Hulk Vs.,” which you can see here to get a sense of how nuts this guy is.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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.