DID YOU READ

10 Hilarious Moments in Professional Wrestling

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The recent scare involving our beloved Jerry “The King” Lawler’s nationally-televised heart attack has prompted a lot of us to remember everything that made him famous. Aside from his storied career in and out of the squared circle, we can’t help but recall that surreal time when he and comic legend Andy Kaufman were befuddling people everywhere by selling their wrestling feud as a completely legitimate beef in every public forum they could – most notably, “Late Night with David Letterman.”

But as much of a milestone as that moment is, if you scratch the surface of the pro wrestling world, you’re going to find a hell of a lot of surreal comedy. I mean, we’re talking about a theatrical profession that, until relatively recently, was absolutely dedicated to not letting people in on the fact that it was a theatrical profession, and that in itself provides ample opportunity for guys like Kaufman. Nowadays, however, the cat is out of the bag, which often means they can be even crazier. So let’s take a look at this particular calling with these ten hilarious moments in professional wrestling.


1. Jerry Lawler VS. Andy Kaufman on Letterman

We’ve got to start with this one. Andy Kaufman was a comedian who loved to frustrate audiences with abrasive characters he would never break. Some people got the gags, but many others did not and wound up hating the man, which was a reaction that he thrived upon. It makes perfect sense, then, that he would want to be a “heel” (i.e. “bad guy”) wrestler, because this was an entire industry based around building up that kind of character, and then supplying the “babyface” (i.e. “good guy”) hero to beat that heel up. Lawler was one of the most popular wrestlers at the time, and in this much-talked-about clip, his quick wit and his mental encyclopedia of one-liners is on full display: “I couldn’t warm up to this guy if we were cremated together.” Kaufman played the weasel-hill to the hilt, and, in a world where everybody involved with pro wrestling from the grapplers to the fans still insisted it was unscripted and real sporting competition, history was made.


2. Crazy Promo Master: “Macho Man” Randy Savage

It’s impossible to pick one interview of Savage’s that stands out as the funniest, because his entire character was this amazing amalgamation of insanity, intensity and menace. His constantly growling voice, his use of prop comedy and his willingness to not only go over the top but live over the top made him a master of “cutting the promo.” You hang on his every word, because you never know what the heck the next word is going to be, but he did it with a unique style that’s just a highly amusing delight to watch.


3. Crazy Promo Disaster: The Ultimate Warrior

The flip side of the wild and weird coin is this guy – a burly, steroidal hulk of humanity slathered in face-paint, bright rainbow colors and an absolutely domineering incomprehensibility. He barreled his way into every match and won the hearts of fans everywhere with his high energy, awesome entrance music and superheroic look, but that connection never quite lasted when someone put a microphone in front of him. Whereas Savage could balance the strange with the grounded enough to live in the moment and have a conversation, the Warrior was naught but delirious ranting about outer space and divine conversations. That hallucinogenic madness extended to his actual life, as he’s become a strange right-wing zealot in his retirement who has legally changed his name from Jim Hellwig to Warrior.


4. The Debut of the Shockmaster

Fred Ottman had made a splash in the World Wrestling Federation in the early 1990s as Tugboat, ally to Hulk Hogan wearing a red stripey shirt and a sailor hat and making foghorn noises as his gimmick. You could still do that back then. He then became known as Typhoon when he turned heel and became a tag team champion alongside Earthquake as “The Natural Disasters.” However, he eventually signed on with World Championship Wrestling, which would become the WWF’s most tenacious competitor. In 1993, however, Ottman had the misfortune to have one of the worst debut s in wrestling history. The identity of “The Shockmaster” was already sketchy, as it was just a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet painted silver and glittery atop a big vest and jeans, but when he was introduced during a Ric Flair interview segment, his botched entrance became the stuff of infamy.


5. Degeneration X Invades WCW

In the mid-1990s, the long-reigning WWF had a problem in that WCW was raiding them of all their big-name talent, such as Hulk Hogan, Savage, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and more. Not only that, but their marquee shows were both on the same night, and WCW was winning in the ratings. On April 27, 1998, both WWF Raw Is War and WCW Monday Nitro were taking place in Virginia, only 19 miles apart, and this was well into WWF’s “Attitude Era,” wherein most of their “faces” were more like anti-heroes, and the rude, crude, rabble-rousing stable of wrestlers known as Degeneration X were the highest profile of them all. The WWF had a history of never acknowledging that any competition existed, but that all changed when DX got suited up in pseudo-military gear, got a jeep with a big cannon on it and drove right over to the arena where WCW’s show was set to begin, attempting to invade their show with the power of hijinks. The Monday Night Wars were on.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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