DID YOU READ

SNL Sketch Showdown: Wayne’s World 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.

Mainstream vs. Cult Status

This one is an interesting match-up of sketches that couldn’t be more different. One is a long-running character-based effort that became a pop culture phenomenon and managed to get two movies made out of it and the other is an over-the-top festival of hilariously boisterous obnoxiousness. It seems a bit like an open and shut case, right?

Sketch 1: Wayne’s World

Now, in 2013, it’s easy to dismiss Mike Myers and Dana Carvey’s old characters of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar as expired relics of the late 80s and early 90s – something as beaten into the ground as Austin Powers or Shrek. It became so ubiquitous that all the “schwings” and the “party ons” and the “butt monkeys” feel dated and old hat these days. But schticks aside, what makes “Wayne’s World” great is its versatility. There was a lot of room within the core concept of two juvenile teenage rock fans hosting a public access show in their basement to turn it into whatever it needed to be to tweak with the news of the day. Whether it was an idiotic take on simple Oscar picks, Bruce Willis playing the coolest guy in school introducing new cool words for the year, or a full-on fantasy dream sequence where Wayne winds up in Madonna’s “Justify My Love” video complete with actual Madonna, you could really do anything with these guys. They connected to audiences in part because there was only a thin veneer of unreality separating most viewers from being Wayne Campbell themselves. He was a guy you could see hanging out with, in a basement you’ve probably been in before. Wayne was more character than caricature, a long-standing creation of Myers’ that pre-dated “SNL,” and that gave him the range and depth to last for a long time in the American consciousness. Plus, they got Aerosmith on the show to discuss the collapse of the Soviet Union while Roadie Tom Hanks blurted into microphones about sibilance. You know, there’s never been a blueprint for the dictatorship of the proletariat, so there’s bound to be some mistakes. However, if you study history, you’ll see that, since the rise of the nation-state, socialism has been an historical inevitability, dude.

Sketch 2: Bill Brasky

Don’t count those Bill Brasky Buddies out right away. It’s so weird that it feels like it could have been a “Kids in the Hall” piece – which makes sense, what with Mark McKinney being there from the get go. They may have only had a total of five sketches , and it may have been repeating the same theme of a group of loud, drunk, horrible businessmen vociferously extolling the virtues of their cult hero son of a bitch’s exploits while occasionally blurting out awkward personal secrets, but it was a perfect satire of macho asshole-deification culture and a treasure trove of insane one-liners. “Brasky would use his own thigh as an anvil.” “He killed Wolfman Jack with a trident.” “He had dandruff the size of mice.” “His poop is considered currency in Argentina.” “He once ate the Bible while waterskiing.” The absurdity of ridiculous things like this coming out of the screaming, slurring fake-toothed faces of McKinney, Will Ferrell, Alec Baldwin, John Goodman and David Koechner, mixed in with confessions like “I don’t have a penis!” and “I’m a convicted sex offender!” – well, it all makes the Brasky sketches awkwardly mesmerizing. Something about Will Ferrell being really loud is funny more often than not. Improvisational non-sequiturs are comedy gold, and it feels like a sketch tailor-made for Goodman, playing a broken drunkard who could easily be some distant relation to Walter Sobchak.

And the Winner Is…

All in all, while Brasky is a great show closer, creating that last-call “get out there and go crazy” weirdness that thrives when nearing the 1:00 hour, when it comes down to it, you have to hand it to “Wayne’s World,” a catchphrase factory which left an indelible mark on Saturday Night Live history. It’s pail, it’s totally bucket to see the Bill Brasky Buddies go, but those guys are pretty sphinctitious when you get down to it. They dabble in the ways of sphinctery. One might say they’re off the sphinctometer. We have seen the sphincter, and it is Bill Brasky.

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

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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.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
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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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