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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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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