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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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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.