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SNL Sketch Showdown: Nude Beach vs Bill Brasky

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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.

Raunchy or Experimental?

Airing at 11:30 on a Saturday night allows “SNL” to push boundaries in a few different ways, which is how it has become an institution of comedy. On the one hand the late hour means that many of the FCC regulators have gone to bed so the sketches are allowed to be raunchier than prime time entertainment. On the other it allows “SNL” to push comedy boundaries with new forms of sketches or avant-garde humor which has created dozens of breakout comedy stars. So what makes the bolder statement of late-night comedy – the raunchy or experimental?

The Matchup

“Nude Beach” made it’s way through Round 1 for its historical significance to the show – there’s no denying that squeezing the word penis 43 times into one sketch and provoking 46,000 complaint letters is impressive. Most importantly, “Nude Beach” embodies the reason people love late night television – dirty humor. What’s the point of staying up past midnight to watch PG-13 sketches? While the concept of “Nude Beach” is pretty simple – penises are great no matter the size – it manages to build momentum on a one-word joke. You know what the punch line is before it comes, but it hits the mark all 43 times. The best part is with Kevin Nealon’s aside towards the end shows that “SNL” is self-aware. “Nude Beach” shows that it’s okay to be ridiculous, raunchy and proud all at the same time.

The last sketch of the night on SNL is usually reserved for their more “experimental” sketches. In 1996 the Will Ferrell and Adam McKay penned “Bill Brasky” filled that last spot and created a new form of SNL sketch. “Bill Brasky” centers around four friends who share increasingly tall tales of their work friend while intermittently admitting awkward secrets that are glazed over before the next Brasky adventure. The sketch had five different variations over the course of three years and one un-aired dress-rehearsal version that appears on Saturday Night Live: The Best of Chris Farley DVD. “Brasky” not only became an SNL staple but also helped solidify Ferrell and McKay as a juggernaut writing duo.

And the Winner Is…

“Bill Brasky.” While “Nude Beach” caused a momentary stir of excitement, “Bill Brasky” became a repeatable treasure. The sign of a truly good sketch is when you can put it in new places and build it out to new levels. “Nude Beach” is funny, and well done for what it is but it’s a one-note number. There’s no way to make a second round of saying “penis” every other word as shocking and funny as the first. “Bill Brasky” not only became a recurring sketch for the next three years, but Tina Fey, Ratchel Dratch and host Scarlett Johansson reincarnated the building-ridiculous-adventure form in their 2006 “Mr. Willoughby” sketch. In a way, the sketch created it’s own style and innovation always triumphs over shock-value. “Bill Brasky” shows that a late night experiment can become an institution, which is the true power of “SNL.”

Did the right sketch win? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Car Notes

Portlandia Keeps Road Rage In Park

Get a lesson in parking etiquette on a new Portlandia.

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It’s the most American form of cause and effect: Park like a monster, receive a passive-aggressive note.

car notes note

This unofficial rule of the road is critical to keeping the great big wheel of car-related Karma in balance. And naturally, Portlandia’s Kath and Dave have elevated it to an awkward, awkward art form in Car Notes, the Portlandia web series presented by Subaru.

If you’ve somehow missed the memo about Car Notes until now, you can catch up on every installment online, on the IFC app, and on demand. You can even have a little taste right here:

If your interest is piqued – great news for you! A special Car Notes sketch makes an appearance in the latest episode of Portlandia, and you can catch up on it now right here.

Watch all-new Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Naked and Hungry

Two New Ways to Threeway

IFC's Comedy Crib gets sensual in time for Valentine's Day.

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This week, two scandalous new digital series debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
Ménage à Trois invites people to participate in a real-life couple’s fantasy boudoir. And The Filling is Mutual follows two saucy chefs who invite comedians to make food inspired by their routines. Each show crosses some major boundaries in sexy and/or delicious ways, and each are impossible to describe in detail without arousing some awkward physical cravings. Which is why it’s best to hear it directly from the minds behind the madness…

Ménage à Trois

According to Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer, the two extremely versatile constants in the ever-shifting à trois, “MàT is a sensually psychedelic late night variety show exploring matters of hearts, parts and every goddamn thing in between…PS, any nudes will be 100% tasteful.”

This sexy brainchild includes sketches, music, and props that would put Pee-wee’s Playhouse to shame. But how could this fantastical new twist on the vanilla-sex variety show format have come to be?

“We met in a UCB improv class taught by Chris Gethard. It was clear that we both humped to the beat of our own drum; our souls and tongues intermingled at the bar after class, so we dove in head first.”

Sign me up, but promise to go slow. This tricycle is going to need training wheels.

The Filling is Mutual

Comedians Jen Saunderson and Jenny Zigrino became best friends after meeting in the restroom at the Gotham Comedy Club, which explains their super-comfortable dynamic when cooking with their favorite comedians. “We talk about comedy, sex, menses, the obnoxiousness of Christina Aguilera all while eating food that most would push off their New Year’s resolution.”

The hook of cooking food based off of comedy routines is so perfect and so personal. It made us wonder about what dishes Jen & Jenny would pair with some big name comedy staples, like…

Bill Murray?
“Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to… Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to avoid doing any kind of silly Groundhog Day reference.” 

Bridget Everett?
“Cream Balls… Sea Salt encrusted Chocolate Ganache Covered Ice Cream Ball that melt cream when you bite into them.” 

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney? 
“I’d make George and Gil black and white cookies from scratch and just as we open the oven to put the cookie in we’d prank ’em with an obnoxious amount of tuna!!!”

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen? 
“Definitely a raw cacao “safe word” brownie. Cacao!”

Just perfect.

See both new series in their entirety on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Dark Arts

Foot Fetish Jesus And Other Nightmares

Meet the minds behind Comedy Crib's latest series, Quirks and The Mirror.

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The Mirror and Quirks are really, really strange. Deeply disturbing yet hauntingly beautiful. But you really don’t need to read a synopsis of either of the aforementioned shows to understand the exact variety of nightmare-bonkers comedy these shows deliver — that’s why the good lord made links. Instead, take a peek behind the curtain and meet the creators.

Quirks

Let’s start with Kevin Tosi. Kevin does the whole show by himself. That doesn’t mean he’s a loner — Kevin has a day job with actual humans. But that day job is copywriting. So it’s only natural that his suppressed demons would manifest themselves in biting cartoon form, including “Foot Fetish Jesus”, in ways that somehow speak to all of us. If only all copywriters channeled their inner f*ckedupness into such…expressive art.

The Mirror

Onward to the folks at Wham City Comedy.

These guys aren’t your typical comedy collective in that their work is way more left-field and even elevated than your standard digital short. More funny weird than funny ha-ha. They’ve done collaborations with musicians like Beach House, Dan Deacon & Wye Oak, television networks (obviously), and others. Yeah they get paid, but their motivation feels deeper. Darker. Most of them are video artists, and that explains a lot.

See more of The Mirror and Quirks on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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