DID YOU READ

5 Comedies That Make the Apocalypse Seem Funny

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The apocalypse is no laughing matter. Whether it’s a zombie uprising, nuclear holocaust or just good ol’ fashioned fire and brimstone, the end of the world conjures up horrific images and queasy dread. Unless, of course, you’re making fun of the whole damn thing. Today sees the release of “This Is the End,” a comedy from writer-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg that stars Rogen and his pals Jonah Hill and James Franco as themselves as they square off with demons and destruction. It’s that rare funny film about the end of the world, but it’s not the only one. Here are five noteworthy examples of movies that took a sardonic look at the Rapture. If the end is nigh, we might as well have a few laughs before we go.

1. “Ghostbusters” (1984)

The most quotable comedy of the 1980s deftly balances humor and supernatural horror for a story about a bunch of down-on-their-luck scientists who come up with the technology to capture the pesky ghosts that are bothering New York City. But no amount of wisecracks and Proton Packs may be enough to stop Zuul and his legions from bringing about the end of the world. Some of the special effects may not look as sharp as they did 30 years ago, but the jokes haven’t aged a bit.


2. “Shaun of the Dead” (2004)

This zombie comedy helped put director Edgar Wright and star Simon Pegg on the cultural radar, lavishing equal care on the gore and the laughs. From its great opening joke — Pegg’s British hometown is so devoid of excitement that at first he doesn’t even notice that there are zombies springing up everywhere — “Shaun of the Dead” expertly creates an emotional through-line that gives the humor an unexpected heft.


3. “Zombieland” (2009)

Usually, the rise of zombies brings with it panic and unrest. But what happens after the initial massacre? That’s where “Zombieland” comes in, imagining a scenario where a group of scrappy survivors (including Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg) try to make peace with their bleak new reality. Hip and witty, the movie could be interpreted as a response to post-9/11 life, where people have become sadly used to living in a world of constant anxiety. Or you could just sit back and enjoy the Bill Murray cameo. (And let’s take a moment to tip our cap to other zombie comedies like “Warm Bodies” and “Fido.”)


4. “It’s a Disaster” (2013)

Probably the movie on this list that’s most similar to “This Is the End” in its design, “It’s a Disaster” is an under-the-radar indie comedy about a group of friends who have a regular brunch on Sundays. But social niceties and relationship anxiety (in the form of a new-ish couple played by David Cross and Julia Stiles) soon give way once it becomes clear that the apocalypse might be right outside the house where they’re all hanging out.


5. “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964)

Arguably the most beloved of all black comedies, director Stanley Kubrick’s satire of the Cold War arms race might have lost a smidge of its timeliness because the threat of World War III isn’t as rampant now as it was when this movie was made. (We can be thankful for that.) But if the film no longer works as a perfect puncturing of current events, it remains superb because of how it skewers the widespread paranoia and mistrust that exists between rival nations and the arrogance of our military leaders — realities that, sadly, haven’t diminished in 50 years. A very funny film — and still one of the darkest endings ever. (And dig this original trailer.)

You can follow Tim Grierson on Twitter.

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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.