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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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Car Notes

Portlandia Keeps Road Rage In Park

Get a lesson in parking etiquette on a new Portlandia.

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It’s the most American form of cause and effect: Park like a monster, receive a passive-aggressive note.

car notes note

This unofficial rule of the road is critical to keeping the great big wheel of car-related Karma in balance. And naturally, Portlandia’s Kath and Dave have elevated it to an awkward, awkward art form in Car Notes, the Portlandia web series presented by Subaru.

If you’ve somehow missed the memo about Car Notes until now, you can catch up on every installment online, on the IFC app, and on demand. You can even have a little taste right here:

If your interest is piqued – great news for you! A special Car Notes sketch makes an appearance in the latest episode of Portlandia, and you can catch up on it now right here.

Watch all-new Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Naked and Hungry

Two New Ways to Threeway

IFC's Comedy Crib gets sensual in time for Valentine's Day.

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This week, two scandalous new digital series debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
Ménage à Trois invites people to participate in a real-life couple’s fantasy boudoir. And The Filling is Mutual follows two saucy chefs who invite comedians to make food inspired by their routines. Each show crosses some major boundaries in sexy and/or delicious ways, and each are impossible to describe in detail without arousing some awkward physical cravings. Which is why it’s best to hear it directly from the minds behind the madness…

Ménage à Trois

According to Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer, the two extremely versatile constants in the ever-shifting à trois, “MàT is a sensually psychedelic late night variety show exploring matters of hearts, parts and every goddamn thing in between…PS, any nudes will be 100% tasteful.”

This sexy brainchild includes sketches, music, and props that would put Pee-wee’s Playhouse to shame. But how could this fantastical new twist on the vanilla-sex variety show format have come to be?

“We met in a UCB improv class taught by Chris Gethard. It was clear that we both humped to the beat of our own drum; our souls and tongues intermingled at the bar after class, so we dove in head first.”

Sign me up, but promise to go slow. This tricycle is going to need training wheels.

The Filling is Mutual

Comedians Jen Saunderson and Jenny Zigrino became best friends after meeting in the restroom at the Gotham Comedy Club, which explains their super-comfortable dynamic when cooking with their favorite comedians. “We talk about comedy, sex, menses, the obnoxiousness of Christina Aguilera all while eating food that most would push off their New Year’s resolution.”

The hook of cooking food based off of comedy routines is so perfect and so personal. It made us wonder about what dishes Jen & Jenny would pair with some big name comedy staples, like…

Bill Murray?
“Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to… Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to avoid doing any kind of silly Groundhog Day reference.” 

Bridget Everett?
“Cream Balls… Sea Salt encrusted Chocolate Ganache Covered Ice Cream Ball that melt cream when you bite into them.” 

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney? 
“I’d make George and Gil black and white cookies from scratch and just as we open the oven to put the cookie in we’d prank ’em with an obnoxious amount of tuna!!!”

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen? 
“Definitely a raw cacao “safe word” brownie. Cacao!”

Just perfect.

See both new series in their entirety on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Dark Arts

Foot Fetish Jesus And Other Nightmares

Meet the minds behind Comedy Crib's latest series, Quirks and The Mirror.

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The Mirror and Quirks are really, really strange. Deeply disturbing yet hauntingly beautiful. But you really don’t need to read a synopsis of either of the aforementioned shows to understand the exact variety of nightmare-bonkers comedy these shows deliver — that’s why the good lord made links. Instead, take a peek behind the curtain and meet the creators.

Quirks

Let’s start with Kevin Tosi. Kevin does the whole show by himself. That doesn’t mean he’s a loner — Kevin has a day job with actual humans. But that day job is copywriting. So it’s only natural that his suppressed demons would manifest themselves in biting cartoon form, including “Foot Fetish Jesus”, in ways that somehow speak to all of us. If only all copywriters channeled their inner f*ckedupness into such…expressive art.

The Mirror

Onward to the folks at Wham City Comedy.

These guys aren’t your typical comedy collective in that their work is way more left-field and even elevated than your standard digital short. More funny weird than funny ha-ha. They’ve done collaborations with musicians like Beach House, Dan Deacon & Wye Oak, television networks (obviously), and others. Yeah they get paid, but their motivation feels deeper. Darker. Most of them are video artists, and that explains a lot.

See more of The Mirror and Quirks on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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