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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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.