DID YOU READ

7 reasons why you should love David Koechner

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Although I hate the phrase “comedic genius,” I agree there are two types of comedic performers: those who are appreciated in their own time and become household names and those who are forever relegated to the “hey it’s that guy!” status. David Koechner — the guy whose picture is above this chunk of text — is, unfortunately, a member of the latter camp. Although he consistently gets work, you probably only recognize him as Todd Packer from “The Office” and Champ Kind from “Anchorman,” which, hopefully, tells even the most casual comedy fan that he gets tapped for parts by folks who know he can deliver. But still, most don’t delve deeper into Dave, and they should: His penchant for making loudmouthed, arrogant jerks be sympathetic is right on the pulse of where comedy is heading. Here’s seven roles/gigs he’s had that should get you onboard.


1. “The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show”

In this musical duo, Koechner plays T-Bones, the freeloading drifter to David “Gruber” Alan’s (the guidance counselor on “Freaks and Geeks”), well, wiry truck driver who’s very comfortable with his body. Believe it or not, the nudist plays the straight man to Koechner’s character, who is obsessed with hip-hop, get-rich-quick schemes, and annoying the Naked Trucker, who would much rather be discussing philosophy and other high-minded topics. Skip their short-lived Comedy Central series and go straight to the pair’s live album, “Live at the Troubadour,” which showcases just how polished and absurd the band’s performance is. T-Bones positively shines in “My Daddy Is An Astronaut” (he sings about growing up fatherless and believing that Buzz Aldrin is his dad) and “Hobo Holiday (2 Dollars)” (an eight-minute “hobo spiritual” about a strange orgy in a pie shop). Seriously, “Live at the Troubadour” is so powerfully funny it can transform a terrible day into a much more optimistic one after just a few minutes.


2. “Always Open”

What’s so funny about Denny’s launching a web series? Well, in theory, not that much. That Koechner hosts this “show” is its biggest saving grace, and also what makes it all the more head-scratching. Koechner cleans up his act considerably, so there are none of those filthy Packer stories here, and the result is something far, far goofier: He leans back on being excessively friendly and “wholesome,” coming off more like an oversized kid hosting a show in a booth at Denny’s than a grown man being paid to shill for a diner franchise. The “show” is nothing more than he and a comedian guest sitting down to a meal and them just riffing with one another. He seduces Maya Rudolph to lean over and talk under the table and they discuss whether people should sit like this all the time because it’s “a whole new world.” In another, he tries to convince Jason Bateman to hug him. When he refuses, Dave tries to treat his fear of physical contact with primal scream therapy. In a Denny’s filled with real customers. It goes on and on like this with tons of other comedians who are all outpaced by him. It’s not enough to make me want to go to Denny’s, but I sure am glad this exists.

Watch Will Forte and Dave Koechner Repopulate the World


3. Roy’s Vlog

Only the most super of Koechner super-fans probably know this exists: He started his own Vlog for a new character named Roy. He is, basically, a modern-day, male version of Cathy. Only, instead of talking about chocolate, he uses the word “vlog” way too much, gossips about cheesecake, explores the etiquette of booty calls, and explains why men can’t get pregnant. It’s like an SNL character that exists in the real world, but won’t get fined exorbitant fees by the FCC for cussing about cheesecake and “skinny bitches.”


4. Countless Show-Stealing Cameos

In a way, Koechner is like a more stable version of Bill Murray in the sense that you never can predict when he might up next when you’re watching television. Although he hasn’t been spotted crashing any NYC kickball games (yet), Dave has shown up suddenly in stuff as wide-ranging as “Comedy Bang! Bang!” “Reno! 911,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” and the list can go on and on and on. What really speaks to his versatility is his popping up in “The Jamie Foxx Show” playing a horror author named Stephen Queen who’s a take-off on the real-life — I don’t really need to finish that sentence. But Koechner pours far more cleverness into that role with his over-the-top theatricality than the character’s name implies or probably even warrants. Which is just a roundabout way of saying: He’s always 100 percent funny, even when he doesn’t need to be.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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