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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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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.

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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.