Comedy Bang! Bang! Nativity Pageant: Comedians like Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm and Garfunkel & Oates ruled the night


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Christmas might still be weeks away, but Scott Aukerman kicked off the holiday season with a “bang bang” last night for those who love comedy in Los Angeles. Ifc’s “2012 Comedy Bang! Bang! Nativity Pageant” took place on December 4 at The Ricardo Montalbán Theater, and despite there being several exciting surprise guests, all the stand-up comedians present managed to get through the event without making a single “KHAAAAAN” joke. Impressive, no?

Aukerman got the audience warmed up at 8 p.m. by teasing that his monologue for the Nativity Pageant was actually a warm-up for a different one he was going to do at a later date. In fact, many of the comedians present used the opportunity to showcase their new material, which was a treat for fans who shelled out $45-$75 for tickets that benefit the LA Regional Food Bank. Aukerman brought one audience member up on stage and tricked him into saying how much he loved to have sex with dogs, which really set the stage for how the rest of the night was going to go.

The first funnyman to take the stage was Patton Oswalt, whose hilarious takedown of Florida started the event out on the right note. Let’s just say he really hates the state, and went as far as to compare it to a piece of genitalia that it doesn’t usually get likened to. We’ll let your imaginations run wild.

After Oswalt left the stage, Weird Al Yankovic surprised guests as the man who was there to introduce Jimmy Pardo. Unfortunately Weird Al didn’t have time for a song, but at least Pardo followed up his appearance with a memorable quest to find just the right audience member to give some crappy shwag to (he had a lot of qualifications). Once he was gone, fans were treated to another surprise appearance, this time from Andy Richter, who spent half the time talking about how much he hated his friends like Conan O’Brien and Zach Galifianakis and the other half being terrified they were standing right behind him.

Richter was there to introduce The Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, who tried out some new material and told one rather terrifying story about a trip he and his girlfriend took to a hot springs. He joked that the location was a mecca for old people who seemed to think it would recreate the effects of “Cocoon,” but his detailing of how their wrinkled bodies look will give us nightmares for months.

One of the most exciting special guests came after Hardwick wrapped his set: Jon Hamm, being carried out on stage by Steve Agee. Hamm cracked that Kanye West was supposed to carry him out but he got some girl pregnant (we can’t vouch for that being true), and then he introduced guest performer Jenny Slate.

The rest of the night was filled with memorable standup routines and skits. Paul F. Tompkins came out on stage doing a pretty good impersonation of TLC’s Cake Boss, Matt Besser was The Upstager and Tim Heideker (maybe) convinced everyone he was the new editor of Rolling Stone. Zach Galifianakis was a highlight of the night, especially when his opening line was, “Thank you. Don’t get your hopes up,” and he tried out some new “characters” that were downright hilarious.

Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schall came out on stage together as two “representatives” from the American Association for Polio Awareness, and they were followed by a hilarious David Cross. Todd Glass and Neil Hamburger followed him, but the late night comedians were upstaged by three killer “holiday songs” from Garfunkel & Oates. The night was rounded out with Doug Benson, Chelsea Paretti, Nick Kroll (who has a newfound love for Brussels sprouts), Anthony Jeselnik, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, Brian Posehn and, at around midnight, Thomas Lennon.

It was a long, fantastically funny night for everyone involved, and one that proved just how much the comedy community is affected for the better by “Comedy Bang! Bang!” Special thanks go out to the World Dodgeball Society and aspecialthing records for teaming up to help make this whole thing possible.

Did you attend the “Comedy Bang! Bang! Nativity Pageant”? Who was your favorite performer? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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