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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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
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Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
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Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
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Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
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Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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