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DID YOU READ

SNL Sketch Showdown: More Cowbell vs. Celebrity Jeopardy

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Welcome to the “Saturday Night Live” Sketch Showdown. Every weekday, an IFC writer will determine the winner of a matchup between two classic “SNL” sketches. You can check out the full bracket here.

Ferrell’s Finest

Before Will Ferrell was one of the biggest comedic movie stars in Hollywood, the “Anchorman” actor earned his name on “Saturday Night Live.” A producer scouted him when he was a troupe member at Groundlings in Los Angeles, and Ferrell ended up being brought on board “SNL” in 1995. For the next seven years, Ferrell became known for his impersonations of people like President George W. Bush and Robert Goulet, and the hilarious characters he created like nightclub aficionado Steve Butabi. But of all his contributions to “Saturday Night Live,” the two sketches that remain his most recognized are “Celebrity Jeopardy” and “More Cowbell.”

The Matchup

There have been a total of 14 “Celebrity Jeopardy” skits during “Saturday Night Live’s” run, the first being introduced on December 7, 1996. But it’s the sketch’s seventh appearance on October 23, 1999 that is its most famous. Featuring Ferrell as host Alex Trebek, Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery, Jimmy Fallon as French Stewart and host — and returning “SNL” player — Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds, the sketch brings together “Celebrity Jeopardy’s” three best guests from its short run. It’s Connery’s response to the Final Jeopardy! question, “SucK it, Trebek,” that is likely what makes the skit so beloved, but everything from Stewart’s certainty that onions are condiments made out of mustard seeds to Reynolds’ distraction when he finds a massive sombrero backstage make this a standout sketch.

The “More Cowbell” sketch is the most recognized one from Christopher Walken’s fourth time hosting “Saturday Night Live” on April 8, 2000. The skit features him as famed producer Bruce Dickinson as he helps Blue Oyster Cult create “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” Interestingly, Dickinson is not the producer of the song in real life, nor was Ferrell’s cowbell-playing character Gene Frenkle an actual member of the band. The sketch turned “more cowbell” into a pop culture catchphrase and even spawned an aqua-colored Hot Topic t-shirt with the words, “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell” featured prominently on it. If that’s not a sign of success, we don’t know what is.

And The Winner Is…

This is a tough one. Both “More Cowbell” and “Celebrity Jeopardy” are classic Ferrell skits in their own right, but when it comes down to it, it’s “More Cowbell” that is best known specifically for Ferrell’s involvement. Ferrell is funny in “Celebrity Jeopardy” as Alex Trebek, but it’s Hammond who steals the show as Sean Connery. Likewise, it’s host Christopher Walken as Bruce Dickinson who utters the famous words, “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell” in “More Cowbell,” but the overall skit is Ferrell’s through and through. After seeing that sketch for the first time, we never looked at a cowbell the same way again.

Did the right sketch win? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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.