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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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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.