DID YOU READ

David Cross on “It’s A Disaster,” “Arrested Development”

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David Cross may not be the person you think of turning to in a crisis, but he’s (mostly) the voice of reason in “It’s A Disaster,” in which a group of different couples gather for brunch only to discover that their city (along with Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, and more) is being attacked by terrorists using dirty bombs. Instructed to stay inside, they have a different kind of meltdown (which is what makes it a comedy). “It’s not the end of the world,” Cross told IFC. “It’s the end of their world. It’s not like their immediate concern is calling their grandma in Kansas City, because Grandma is going to be fine.”

The friends, however, are not. Two latecomers to the brunch succumb on the porch to the VX nerve gas in the air, since Cross has already duct-taped the doors and windows shut and Julia Stiles refuses to break the barrier for them, but not before admonishing them for their perpetual lack of punctuality: “Really? Every time?”

“The way Julia says that is perfect,” Cross said. “And that’s what I love about this movie. There are no special effects, it’s not bombastic, it’s not crazy 0-120 miles per hour in six seconds. It’s subtle and slow about how petty and narcissistic some of these people are. They bicker in a very real way, not in an arch ’30 Rock’ way. It’s the way real people talk.”

Cross almost didn’t want to do “It’s A Disaster” in the first place, but he was won over by the dialogue. After spending eight months in London, he really wanted to be back home in New York, “just f—ing be here, just chill out with my dog and my wife,” but then he had to go to Los Angeles for the weekend for something for his mother-in-law. While he was there, Ferrera sent him the script for the film, by writer/director Todd Berger. “I said, ‘No. I don’t care what it is. There’s no way I’m spending a month in L.A., another month not at home,'” Cross recalled. “But then it was so good and real, and I appreciated Todd’s ear for dialogue, so I stayed. And I loved that it was a character that I don’t get to play that often, a grounded straight man … at least up until the last fifteen minutes.”

Even after the grid goes down and they figure out they have less than a few hours to live, the couples are more concerned with the state of their relationships — one couple wants Cross to join them in threesome, another couple rethinks divorcing, another couple calls off a wedding. America Ferrera’s character decides to finally ingest any food or drugs she ever wanted, cooking up a “poor man’s ecstasy” in the kitchen, while Stiles’ character laments all the things she never got to do — go to Europe, go scuba diving, fall in love, or watch “The Wire.” To comfort her, Cross’ character Glenn tells her, “All those things are overrated. Except for ‘The Wire,’ that’s really good.” If confronted with his immediate demise, Cross himself would “bum out about water boarding, either doing or being water boarded, because I kind of wanted that experience,” he said. “I also wanted to get in the Guinness Book of World Records for being naked. Or eat a live cow, from start to finish. There are so many things.”

One thing Cross did get to do before he died, however, was one more season of “Arrested Development” — which he predicts might shut down the grid once it returns with its debut on Netflix on May 26. “I’m curious,” he said. “I’m not sure the grid will go down on that day, but the next day, it’s going to be like, ‘Gotta watch another, gotta watch another, gotta watch another’ as people binge on it. We will probably lose 62 billion dollars in man hours and production, whatever the GNP is for the day, or whatever it costs us to be in Iraq and Afghanistan for a couple hours.”

Cross got back in the cutoffs to play the loveable Bluth family in-law Tobias Fünke, who still hasn’t recovered from being a never-nude. In photos leaked from the set, Cross was seen wearing a sheet, which caused speculation that perhaps Tobias would have a nude scene after all. Sadly, no. “I’m happy to get naked in real life at the slightest suggestion,” Cross said, “but as far as the character, I doubt it. That photo was from our first day of shooting, and it was my character’s attempt to wear an Indian sari.”

Cross predicts that the model of releasing all the episodes simultaneously will spread as “creative and ambitious people who make television and who have the imagination to utilize it” watch “Arrested Development,” but it’ll be slow to start. “Most people play it safe,” he said. “It’s only going to be a handful of people at first, but hopefully eventually more.” As for the renewed series leading to a film as planned, he was circumspect. “As I understand it, the series will work on its own, and it will work if a film continues the story,” Cross said. “You will be quite satisfied if there is no film. It’s not like anybody would miss it, you know what I mean?”

“It’s a Disaster” opens today in New York and Los Angeles.

“Arrested Development” season four premieres on Netflix on May 26.

What David Cross project are you most excited for? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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.

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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.