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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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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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