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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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

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It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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