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DID YOU READ

SNL Sketch Showdown: Motivational Speaker vs The Chris Farley Show

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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.

Farley Fest

Chris Farley. Love him or hate him, miss him or not, Chris Farley was a large man with an even larger talent for making people laugh. The Wisconsin-born performer was part of the early ‘90s exodus of folks from Chicago’s Second City to New York’s “Saturday Night Live,” coming aboard in an era that gave us Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, and the exit of Nora Dunn. Farley may have seemed like the prototypical “big fat funny guy,” but the longer he was on the show, and the more tell-all books about his tenure on the show that are written show, he was a complex human being who never let the pressure of live television get to him: He was performing for the audience and also for his fellow cast mates. That kind of passion is incredibly rare.

The Matchup

Everyone remembers Matt Foley, the motivational speaker who lives down in a van by the river. He was an incredibly flawed character who was a motivational speaker in title only: He was depressing and seemingly hired by suburban families to crush their children’s’ dreams and also demonstrate what happens to people who don’t clean up their act — they become motivational speakers. He was a loud, brash character who would be perpetually hiking his khakis higher and higher before wiping out spectacularly (another Farley trademark — his physicality) and crushing a table or crashing through a window. It’s funny as it happens, but when you sit and think about it, there’s a large deal of intense sadness in these scenes just under the surface.

And then there’s “The Chris Farley Show,” where all those bathos come bubbling up to the surface. Chris parodies himself in these sketches, where he has that week’s host as a guest on his personal talk show. On Farley’s show, Chris is a nervous host-interviewer who fumbles his way through talk show standards like the monologue and introducing his guest, and then proceeds to reminisce with his guests about their projects without shedding any additional insight. Sometimes, the projects Chris remembers has nothing to do with his guests, like when he asked Jeff Daniels about “Die Hard” and Paul McCartney about “Terminator.” Regardless, when Chris beats himself up for how horrible he’s doing, his guests always perk him back up and assure him he’s really quite good at this.

And The Winner Is…

“The Chris Farley Show.” Chris Farley had that rare ability to create a long string of characters “SNL” audiences couldn’t get enough of, but these were a cut above the rest for so many reasons. They were light satires of entertainment journalism (and what it would become) and our culture’s obsession with celebrity, while also just being flat-out goofy and lovable. It also showcased Farley on a completely different wavelength — there’s no screaming or table-smashing here.

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.